209.1: Sean F. Munro:: light theory & monody broken by our mouth & her high arch & birdshot & a knife to sing the ghost
12 September 2016
Last month, a friend and I drove across the country. Over six days and 2,500 miles, we crossed deserts green from monsoons, southern prairies, flooding swamps, forests—a journey of superlatives, of vastness, of record-breaking weather events. And yet what struck me most during those long drives were the small towns off the highway, clusters of shacks and abandoned brick buildings and ranches that offered human perspective to the indifference of the landscape and the wheeling stars at night. The lyrics this week from Sean F. Munro act as a human rejoinder to the vastness of our world, fixating upon the small and physical—tongues, bones, hair, the fillings of teeth—as a means of affirming the cosmic within human form. Take the first poem to appear here, "light theory." The two hundred and six bones of the human body mark both our stubborn, inescapable embodiment, the "weight of everything at once," and also the very anchor that enables our capacities for understanding: "we know nothing / can hear the voice of the present / without the blood torn out of the veins and looked at." At these moments, Munro reminds me most of a Lorca lost somewhere in west Texas, studying the roughs and swirling dust. The poems evoke the macabre at times, and also the sublime in its most human form.