Tag Archives: Akilah Oliver

In Memoriam: Poet Akilah Oliver (1961-2011) [Culturelicious]

Grief is a complicated emotion but also an inadequate word in many ways. Maybe it isn’t so much that the term fails to encompass a range of emotional states, but I think also death itself, as an event, as a limit, as a field of investigation, is too many things at once.It’s solid and it’s slippery. For me what I’m doing in A Toast is using language to walk through that field to find out about love, the collapsible body, what it means to be human, all of that. Also, I think that I am trying to transcribe rapture. I mean that in the ecstatic sense of the word. The opening poem, “In Aporia, ” is taken from Jacques Derrida’s exploration of the limits of a border, language’s inability to capture the tension of this impasse, death. The poems in the first section of the book are written directly from that impossible field where nothing seems grounded. I am in a state of seeking. Grief is a part of that seeking, but so is redemption and anger, the forgivable and the unforgivable, this ecstasy of being in a kind of light, the simple astonishment of the impermanence of absence.

- From an interview with BOMBLOG

Tell me about the lightness my mother told me to pick out the best
how it signals everything I ever wish to believe true just holy on my ship.
I jump all over his house. this is it [what i thought is thought only,
nothing more deceptive than]
I his body keeps thinking someone will come along, touch me,
As like human. Or lima bean.

I’m cradling you to my breast, you are looking out. A little wooden lion
you & Peter carve on Bluff Street is quieting across your cheekbone. Not
at all like the kind of terror found in sleep, on trembling grounds.

It is yesterday now. I have not had a chance to dance in this century.
Tonight I shall kill someone,
a condition to remember Sunday mornings.

- Excerpt from “In Aporia,” included in A Toast In The House Of Friends

 

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