On m.g. martin’s ‘fall out of your skin’ by Carrie Lorig.
I’ve been taking a modern dance class this semester. Last night, I hit my 20 year old partner in the face while improvising around her posed figure. I’m not very good. Of course, what’s more interesting is how uncomfortable I find myself being with realizing and then displaying how unconnected my body heap often is to all its separate parts. When I signed up for the thing, this is exactly the kind of animal I was hoping to wrestle. I have a feeling that if I don’t put some effort into understanding how the body works and fails as a connected thing, my understanding of how all the letters—->words—–>language—–>poetry vibrate in their fibrous ocean sac won’t evolve as completely as it could.
My teacher often creates exercises which are meant to illuminate ways in which our bodies are not obviously connected or are meant to show us ways in which we might bring further fluidity and thought into those more subtle connections. During one such exercise, she brought up this body part I’ve never heard of, fascia. Fascia is one continuous structure that infiltrates itself throughout the body, creating a fine, penetrating web of flexible, stretching tissue that touches every vein, every bone, the heart, the brain, straps muscle to muscle to muscle, etc. It exists without interruption.
Upon hearing the word, I immediately wanted to read fascia into fall out of your skin, this lovely bundle of poems by m.g. martin. If I fall out of my skin, the visible portion which appears to hold my bone blob together, can I finally see the immense connectedness fascia brings to my body? If I fall out of my skin, what happens when a neat, fibrous web of pockets gets dumped out into the more chaotic tensions of the natural world? And isn’t this kind of indisputable balance of tissue locked to tissue locked to heart less familiar than this outside place, despite all that lingering exactly 2mm (“a constipated vessel of wonderment”) under our skin? In the poem, “if you can listen to charles mingus after a hurricane you will still have electricity,” a hurricane circles in the sky. In it I see the recently pulled out fascia, giant and spinning above the narrators of these poems, who are so concerned again and again in this ebook with how perspective can tinge and test the pliability of their understandings of connection in the world.
In the beginning poems, we experience an us, an us who is children in front of adults, and us is who wonders if it is when it is in front of the internet. “because we could fit in the oven we weren’t allowed to / shower with father any longer,” say the children in “depth perception oven.” Because we are still small enough to fit in the oven (such a small thing in comparison to the giant adults of this poem), we are too big to be with our father in particular, emotionally intimate situations. What a crash in the fills that land the land. The us is also considered by Richard Brautigan (“a constipated vessel of wonderment”) for purchase, because us is inside of a dented can (“a constipated vessel of wonderment”). Richard Brautigan does not buy us, we are not his taste, because “he folds his socks into cotton cranes” and “we are nothing but dented cans of / food, pretending to be everything.”
On the outside, we fashion in lieu of fascia. We put together, we replicate and try to radiate this sense of link on the outside of our bodies, in the strung togetherness of outfits, in conversation fluids, the terrains of poems. The poems abandon us and break down further into you and I. The hurricane (“a constipated vessel of wonderment?”) is doing its damage. “The wind smells like light.” Where the us considers what is bigger than it, the I considers what is smaller. “with sixty four eyes how many dreams does a fruit / fly have in one night probably more than a building,” it wonders in “if you can listen to charles mingus…” Probably more than a building. That jump and pop in scale is murderous beauty.
When the fascia breaks apart and that trauma is circles circles, a web over us, crawling the sky and the water into the under us, poetry motherfucks us into pancakes motherfucker, sharks swim in the street and their lack of thumbs matters to them. It is big moves and small moves rubbing against. The tensions flap. And in the last poem, “even though i probably won’t,” the narrator addresses the poets vibrating their hurricanes. “if it happens all poets must stop paying / their taxes and lick my graffiti in a state of mourning called enjambment.” Oh, I feel all sorts of things towards the broken piece at the end of that line, that bent in the ply, the pliable-ness. The I is so small next to the hurricane. The I is only as big as it is because of the fascia. However, the I can kill its small and big it. The I says “o death you are a cigarette in the hurricane” and imagines its body (“a constipated vessel of wonderment”) under the concentrated scatter of gold paint, glistening through the world.