The first verse tells us that the books were for storing themselves, because they had their words stolen from them by some unnamed event. This idea of books as stored external knowledge, but for a person, is mixed through the redefinition of “remember” and “member” down from calling to mind (with force) through to flesh, meat — and to the third verse of the memories hands/bodies hold.
“Once I had to tell them do this, do this, do this.”
And now she doesn’t, like the books, she has had knowledge poured into her from somewhere, but is at a loss as to how it is useful. The way the poem uses the “looking up” of roots to find a different interpretation suggests she is reaching back before the event to find out what was really meant. That attempt to find the truth about something once it is too late is a common theme in elegy. And so the poem seems to be moving away from somebody or something, but not too anywhere, just yet.
As you may have seen this week, @mewo2 did some mapping out of the roots of words as they pass through various languages.
It’s nice, in the modern sense.
Cathy Ulrich’s This Love Will Destroy You is a post-apocalyptic “love” story about putting up with what the world gives you. It contains this fear of a future that is different — even if the one that is currently being experienced is also awful. Using the usual tropes of love stories, moments of touching, tenderness, openness, and subverting them, Cathy creates a strain between the promise of falling in love after the world ends — and the threat of falling out of it again.
As an aside, I always enjoy the horror of canned goods in the post-apocalypse.
In The Hospital By Chen Chen
There’s a real rhythm in this, as it modulates between the need to make a list — the grown up job — and the way each person’s relationship is expressed with the mother.
Two songs today, old ones again — both Bright Eyes — because I seem to be becoming a bit soft and soppy in my old age. Who knows what has brought this about. First:
This Is The First Day Of My Life
And the slightly less soppy — Drunk Kid Catholic
Thanks for reading Etch To Their Own, I have been having a very confusing time recently, so I apologise if the newsletter has wound up on your doorstep asking if it lives there, or if indeed, you know where it should be at all. I may have been born right here in the doorway. I think it’s all the music actually, a very dangerous hobby. This The XX tinydesk is also very good, and I have somehow missed it for all these years.