Tuesday, July 01, 2008

K. Lorraine Graham: Terminal Humming

Hey, it's hot here in New York! Really hot. Everybody sweats. (Nobody sweats in South Florida, because the walk from the air-conditioned SUV to the air-conditioned inside environment is so short; oh, wait, I'm only thinking about people in Boca Raton...)
Terminal Humming, K. Lorraine Graham (Slack Buddha Press/La Perruque Editions, 2004)


The title of Graham's chapbook, judging from the cover art – the instantly recognizable "male/female" bathroom icons, flanking the highway icon indicating an airport – would seem to refer to the exhilarating babel of conversations, languages, & linguistic registers in which one is immersed at the airport. And Graham's poems, which consistently surprise & delight, beautifully capture the effect of the constantly shifting, densely cross-grained linguistic environment of any public place in the early 21st century. But the title bears darker implications: that the "humming" of voices which surround us is an index of the late Capital's "terminal" status, that the "white noise" of our environment – as in DeLillo – is no more or less than a numbingly complex death rattle. The opener, "Love Poem," encapsulates the American consumerist libido:
And I want
And I want
And I want baaaaah

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