Emily DiGiovanni was named our featured author this
month for her contributions to our Summer
I bought my first book of poetry when I was twelve years old. The
book was Diane Wakoski's The Motorcycle Betrayal Poems.
I distinctly remember the first line that hit me as true, a moment
where Wakoski gives a gold earring away to a biker on the beach,
stating that, "[she] knew it was part of the encounter, / the
exchange, / that everything we have is that way" (excerpt from
My Hell's Angel). Nothing we call our own is truly so,
but in a state of constant movement, passing hands uncontrollably
with no set sense of self.
As writers, we find this interplay, these inspirations, in both
obvious and unforeseen places – through books or fellow writers,
on billboards proclaiming "Daisy Fuentes is not pregnant,"
during late night porch talks about existence under inciting stars,
from a man ranting on the bus about how we all have to wake up and
face ourselves. Or, as Federico Garcia-Lorca put it in A Poet
in New York, from "the broken hearted fugitive [who] will
meet on the street corners / an incredible crocodile resting beneath
the tender protest of / the stars" (excerpt from Sleepless
These "crocodiles" Lorca speaks of can come upon us unexpectantly.
Many times, I find them while walking, whether it is routine or
unexplored routes. A walk offers to us small moments which gain
impact when woven together. Fruits spilling from a passing freight
train. A balloon shaped like a bird caught in a tree. A fly resting
on a girl sleeping in the grass. The woman one crosses paths with
every night coming home from work but never greets.
Recently, I went for my first walk in the city of Phoenix, Arizona.
A monsoon had hit the night before, its path of random destruction
laid out haphazardly along the road. A deflated orange. A dead pigeon
in the shade. A worker's glove. The remnants of a piñata.
Petals and stones. Crossing the highway, I was drawn to a strip
mall, the center of its concrete crown a grocery store. A perfect
place to wander when you have no where else to go, where nothing
happens of importance, where there is no circus show.
On the way home, another monsoon hit. As the storm moved against
me, I felt a contentedness that goes along with feeling like one
does not quite exist anymore. A man with a year old beard and a
shopping cart of objects that were once mine or maybe yours crossed
my path. I was back. Walking. Along the road.
Maybe these instances are of no importance against the greater
chaos a century can hold. This does not stop them from existing
or quell the impulse of words. Something as simple as going out
for groceries or “losing” an earring can cause a poem
Emily DiGiovanni currently lives
in Phoenix, AZ, where she is working construction and plans to create
a chapbook for both for herself and a fellow poet during her time
there. Her work has appeared in Identity Theory, The Paterson Literary
Review and Sea Monkeys, a ‘zine created by a few friends in
Philadelphia. She can be contacted at email@example.com.