"There are these things and they
are da kine to me. They are the tear.
The torn circle.
There are these things and they are
the circle malformed, pulled tight
in one place. These things are the
symbol of all not being right. They
are da kine for me.
Da kine for me is the moment when
things extend beyond you and me
and into the rest of the world. It is
Like two who love each other
breaking eye contact and coming
out of that love and back into the conversation " (p. 8)
"That Winter the Wolf Came" - Julianna Spahr's recently published collection of thoughtful and painful interrogations against capitalism - is unfortunately not currently available through Multnomah County Library. We do however have a copy of "Fuck You, Aloha, I Love You," her mesmerizing
book of poems from 2001.
The poems in "Fuck You, Aloha, I Love You" generate a never-ending series of questions and tensions, pitting the cost and construction of selves (most assuredly not as specific indicators of psychological depth) within the coordinates of location/place. But the selves in these poems are never transcendent, never reified - barring those collisions when the determinate conditions of history and capital freeze us in frightening, dead, and/or emptied moments.
As the title suggests, most of these encounters and repetitions occur in Hawai'i, where Spahr was living and teaching at the time the book was being written. Spahr's poems are tricky (but never clever-tricky) in the way they reveal aesthetic structures that are doubled in the
structures of Hawai'i as political geography. Spahr elicits Hawai'i's ongoing history of violent colonialism without reducing the conflicts and tensions to an outsider's appreciation of the "local" or within a liberal's plea for empathy for the other.
"We want this story, our personal
story, to tell this story:
It is late at night and we lean over
and kiss, our one head one way
and our other head another way,
and stick our tongues in our
mouths and it feels strange this
way, top of tongue on top of