Victoria Durnak, Nineteen Hearts of the Internet, (If a Leaf Falls, 2018)
Whatever you call them, I love short three line poems, with a little twisting torque before the last line. I'm a sucker for Buson, Basho, Machi Tawara, oh lots of writers of short twisted arterial poems. I'd never particularly thought of the reason as being that they're the poetic equivalent of actual human hearts (and greetings card love hearts looked at in a different light). A couple of bumps and a divot. A valve. Atria above and ventricles below. A school biology lesson in poetry form! (I spend way too much time here).
In this exciting little pamphlet the poems in question deal with heart jpegs, culled from image searches I'm guessing and represented in poems that are like the definition of pithy! They don't even need to try, in fact they're matter-of-fact, but yes, matter of fact like the furry waxy stuff on an orange is matter-of-fact:
a rainbow cake
a knife lifts a piece
What I love about this as I read it over and over like a gif that won't stop playing is not just that middle line where the look itself is elastic, the look of the person alighting on this jpeg, their look is just as elastic (possibly more elastic) than the cake. I can't even imagine what an elastic cake would be like? Foam maybe but elastic? Which then makes my look at the line kind of elastic too, in the sense that it draws itself out for a little longer than necessary before flipping down for the suddenly tense last line - wait a second "a knife lifts", well sure it does - if someone is holding it and they better have a steady hand. It's a rainbow cake, I like that about it too. But is it a rainbow cake in the shape of a heart, I'm guessing so.
I also love this one...
a heart shaped brooch with diamonds
fastened to a white sneaker
text embossed: YOU
... and not just because I have a trainer fetish. It's because brooch here seems to be working both as an abject, a jewel, but also as a verb: to brooch something. I start to read this whole jpg as a kind of proposal or a kind of signal of longing and loneliness, maybe even without having someone specific in mind. Also, my mind is like, as if they're real diamonds. But then, you never know, and I stop feeling that sorry for diamond brooch sneaker jpg person when I go round on the poem ferris wheel a second time. Speaking of Ferris Wheels I watched Love, Simon the other day and there's a bit when Simon says: "People don't want to read your clothes". Wrong, just wrong wrong wrong.
Other things I like about this collection: there are poems called sign.jpg; window.jpg; mirror.jpg, so we're always aware of looking, reflections, interpreting, etc... Plus there isn't any explanation. These are weird poems, by their nature they are very comfortable in cliched images - in fact they take cliche as their raison d'être and just dawdle in it. I like the fact that they feel to me like a high school art teacher took someone to a museum or gallery and asked them to draw the things that they saw in the museum and then at the end they asked to look at the sketch books and all they got where love hearts love hearts love hearts.