Thursday, August 14, 2014

Laura Maffei's poetry

I read Laura Maffei’s book of tanka, “Drops from her Umbrella.”  I loved the quiet shock of the sharp turn in the small space of a short, traditional Japanese form:

infant Batman
in my arms
barely aware of this world
that needs saving

Maffei uncovers the quiet chaos of our private life:

how much laundry
is too much
the dark tangle
of many sleeves 
inside the machine

She plays with traditional poetry material in sharp lines:

tight buds
against the gray sky
this spring
you might, I tell them,
want to wait a while

Maffei can write originally about desire—no mean feat.

let’s not
fall for each other
this new guy tells me
little metal cell phone
hot on my ear

not unlike 
Death himself
a man in a black sports car
flirts with me
at sixty-five miles per hour

I loved the shocking juxtapositions:

sunny day
a hearse
in my rear-view mirror
and the long line behind it

These poems are long stories made short, honed to that moment when something strikes the mind like a match, so one is burned and enlightened with her.  The language is so pure it perversely conveys emotion.