What an intimate and spontaneous pouring! / Review by Henry Smith (Lateef Shareef Dhmayd)

What an intimate and spontaneous pouring!
Aprilia Zank, by using simple language, simple sentence structures, word choices and vivid imagery, builds her own tone or attitude towards her startling subject-matter in her poem “Not In A Movie” in a way that it deeply affects reader’s mood, who does his best to catch what there is lurking behind words; meaning and feeling. She initiates her poem with a startling visual image, which reflects that the poet was passing through a horrible experience; she was dying or being beset by death. This is not an imaginary experience, it is rather an actual one because the poet saw death with her own eyes, not the death of others:
“I saw death
with my own eyes”
The tangibility of “seeing” is, then emphasized as the poet confirms that what she had seen did not occur in a movie, or a poem, nor even in Wagner’s symphony “Tristan and Isolde” it was not only seen by her own eyes but also was felt by her own flesh and blood. Her physic “flesh and blood” experienced death. Yet, she did not feel frustrated or disappointed, however horrible the experience was! She continues the daily routine of her life:
“and although I still go
to supermarket
to the butcher’s
to the doctor’s to check
my blood pressure
the sugar in my blood
the neurons in my brain”
Here, life instinct does not recede or retreat before death daunting instinct, it rather keeps pace with it, as they are considered the two instincts that are responsible for our behaviors. Sigmund Freud in his book “Beyond the Pleasure Principal in 1920, indicated that all instincts fall into one of two major classes: life instincts or death instincts. Although death appears to be dominating in the poem as was seen by the very eye, flesh and blood of the poet, life instincts are escalating as represented by the pleasures, which individual gets from drinking wine and sexual intercourse as belonging to life Eros, which are “sometimes referred as sexual instincts, the life instincts are those which deal with basic survival, pleasure, and reproduction. These instincts are essential for sustaining the life of the individual as well as the continuation of the species.(1):
Although I drink my glass of red wine every evening
Although I reach the climax when I copulate
Yet, death stays lurking for the poet in the back of her head:
“I know IT is there
In the back of my head”
The black of the head implies that the face of the poet represents life, as long as death consists in the back of head.
The poet, then, moves to another aspect, after having been convinced that she is threatened by death and as being social being, she shouts to the other to save her from this devouring monster. But how? That’s the question. Can the other eliminate death?! It is impossible; can prayers, good vibes and positive thoughts of the other save her? It is also impossible; they might calm her worries down for short time but never keep death away from her. This implies that there is no way out:
“And I shout to you out there
To send me prayers
Good vibes positive thoughts”
And worse than this is that her shouts to you “the other” are mere echoes or reverberations of her own words that fill the other’s mouth to shout back. It appears that the other is also passing through the same distress; so, he shouts back begging for mercy but there is also no way out from the impasse for she only offers him her hand palms to read his lifelines there.
Aprilia Zank in her poem successfully resolved her poem through the overlapping between the “I” and the “you” as being two facets of the same coin.
“The Poem
not in a movie
I saw Death
with my own eyes
not in a movie
not in a poem
not in Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde”
but in my own flesh and blood
and although I still go
to the supermarket
to the butcher’s
to the doctor’s to check
my blood pressure
the sugar in my blood
the neurons in my brain
although I drink my glass of red wine every evening
although I reach the climax when I copulate
I know IT is there
in the back of my head
and I shout to you out there
to send me prayers
good vibes
positive thoughts
but all I hear is
the echo of my own words
filling your mouths
when you shout back
and beg for mercy
and all I can do is
show you my bare hands
and give them to you
to read your own story
in the lines of my palms.”

Review by Henry Smith (Lateef Shareef Dhmayd)

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