As I beefed up my submission for Chrysallis‘ next issue Patterns, I tried to catch up on way-overdue poetry reads, digging through old New Yorkers, searching for the last three Missouri Reviews and getting a bit further in my copy of the Anthology of American Literature. Side note: does anyone here understand Carl Sandburg?
I flipped open the May 16th issue of the New Yorker (you know, the one with the penciled image of Osama Bin Laden’s face that’s been erased?) and stumbled upon a gem. It’s true to sonnets, true to the time, ancient and modern at once. More than this, it’s a scathing rebuke of our Facebooking world.
Alexie condenses his sonnet into wrap-around, vicious phrases like “welcome to the endless high-school/Reunion,” and “Let’s undervalue and unmend/The present.” He’s honest and brutal and healing when he asks, “Why can’t we pretend/Every stage of life is the same?” and when he finishes, “Let’s sign up, sign in, and confess/Here at the altar of loneliness.”
It’s a poem about how we’ve come to exploit the last and greatest commons — that of relationships. That of life and death, of love and hatred. We’ve decided to expose the most sacred parts of our lives and have found ourselves naked and ashamed. Check it out.