Monday, July 24, 2006

Mary Burger

Sonny is one of the most exciting texts I've encountered in some time. Thin, agile, light as air, and condensed to the point of delirious richness, it possesses the sort of elasticity that I find irresistible. Bed time reading, subway reading, a steady companion in a narrative way--there is propulsion--but also in the random entry. Am I the only one who prefers a morsel of language to then linger over as the subway rattles along? I don't need to cling to the sentences in an orderly narrative, and neither does Burger.
The man who thrived for fifty years on work he learned at twenty served his country in the war in a munitions factory and burned his lip at break time drinking coffee from a mason jar.

As fallout rained down on the milk cows, as Strontium-90 was pronounced on the radio and overheard in grocery stores.

This man kept a balance in the bank. (34)
What confident precision this is, shifting from declarative to litany:
Who tried to kill herself but couldn't die.

Who packed her clothes and waited for the train.
always with pristine imagery:
The atomic cattle, like the atomic cat, grew small white stars where the fallout rained on them.
This world assembles, is liminal, is kaleidoscopic and angular as the author repeatedly detonates the banal:
Adhesive tape, the last thing added to the bomb.
I could simply list the lines that glistened and pierced. I could try to put my finger on the promise of the line, the exact blend of chaos and order that makes this book sing even as it reminds me of the tin, atomic air, the militarization of domesticity, the path we are all locked into, and yet it is impossible to put down. Or at least to put down for long...

A stack of reading notes on yellow paper awaits the healing of my wrist. Meanwhile, I'm going back to Burger. You can find out more the author and text here, and you can read an excerpt here.

No comments: