So when I chose Keeper of Accounts from Chamblin's poetry bookshelf, I expected more of the same: tongue in cheek perceptions, edgy humor. But I got something else.
I got Irena Klepfisz - Judaic scholar. Klepfisz, who even in her poems of hope leaves a shadow. Klepfisz, who knows about futility, and paints it in charcoal, who won't use bright paint because to do that is to be sloppy with the truth. Here she is with her uncushioned reality:
I've learned now
that it's no solace
to point out the others
so many others
unable to do
what they know
they must do
for such loss
is always solitary
(A poem for Judy, beginning a new job)
How is that for clarity, for the truth no one wants to hear? But it's her first series: From the Monkey House and Other Cages, that sets the mournful tone of the book. One doesn't need to love animals or assign emotions to them. This isn't the point of her Monkey House series. Crisp in its brutality, the bonding and the letting go, the vignettes acknowledge survival in silence, through imagination. The Monkey House series creates familiarity, intimacy and then just as quickly, with harsh succinctness, there is objectification, distance.
Klepfisz logs all this - she sews this black pattern of grievance and harm: How, I wonder, did I become what I am not?
Iam halfway through the book.