Our poetry editor, Joe Pan, has selected a new poem by Natalie Eilbert for his series that brings original poetry to the screens of Hyperallergic readers.
* * *
This Airplane Unfolded into a Poem I’ve Since Destroyed
Why does art not get done. This morning I was already in the field by the airport and already my hips were made of snow. A man had given me a name. I’ve never had a real exhibit, robust institutions. Only doubted callings, the service of God. A man made me starving the moment he constructed me. Which came first, the miniskirt or the hips. The piece cannot be other than what it is. Today I was a girl made of snow with an egg inside, heavily leaking. I was made to be perfect. The bison on the wall is someone else’s magic. Interims of paint. Clouds shift like a menstruating goat, War and Peace was written and rewritten eight times before it started menstruating.
What a gorgeous afternoon to have snow-legs and snow-feet in this field by the airport! Uncertainty is the prerequisite for success. But I was made of snow, must’ve been queen of uncertainty and soon the sun will melt me down or else the man who made me will fuck the melting out of me until I am the kind of hands that hold a face up in domestic certainty. Consider the dynamics at work here. The myth of the extraordinary versus the execution of art-making. I am alone in a field and I don’t even know what chess is. This is my bedroom I said.
This was not the age of faith, truth, certainty. I need a kitchen I said. The world is full of people who were given great natural gifts. In common parlance I was/am a cum-rag made of snow. I never did chase down the feuilleton of mid-century Germany, never did watch the furs of my arms heal into the skin of a genius. Nabokov called near-genius a near-beard. Art rests fundamentally on talent. In this pale sun my snow-breasts look like an Ansel Adams.
Some part of me dies every time a plane flies overhead, but which part is that. The air in the field by the airport wants to biomorphically form me and be my aesthetic space but I am someone else’s other man’s prom date. I wrote a poem in the middle of my life about flying to see my future cancer-ridden self, phrased this moment Rode an airplane to see her in my head. The Colorado Review published it. It’s wise to remain in conversation with your artistic heritage. I tried cooking.
My life was like this moment a man needed a woman. Poof. Art rests fundamentally on talent. Great art a product of genius, near-art a product of near-genius. The bloodslug on my snow-panties is less cute than the little world the man who built me built. Here he has made us a living room. Here he has made us walls and a chair. When my snow-bush grew in, we played snow-ball. I already knew how to play though because I’m not a fucking idiot. I knew just how to stand. Annihilation occurs when you satisfy your audiences’ expectations. I said I make virtues out of architects. I said I was made of snow.
* * *
Natalie Eilbert’s first book of poems, Swan Feast, is forthcoming from Coconut Books in Summer 2015. She is the author of two chapbooks, Conversation with the Stone (Bloof Books) and And I Shall Again Be Virtuous. (Big Lucks Books). Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from The Kenyon Review, Tin House, The Philadelphia Review of Books, West Branch, and other journals. She is the founding editor of The Atlas Review.