099.1: Megan Martin:: City Armor & How You Get Love
9 April 2012
Megan Martin often calls her writing “hybrid things,” a phrase which when Googled for images produces photos of a rooster rhino, a zebra frog, and a Mazda Tribute Hybrid SUV. The latter of these speaks especially to the “thinginess” of Martin’s description of her own work. Martin’s genre-blurring “things” are material objects, and their subjects hoard the tangible stuff that they wish to become or, at least, the stuff into which her speakers wish to disappear. The speakers in this featured pair of poem-things define themselves by their proximity to something else—to natural disaster, to the outfits they wear, to eclectic tokens at a garage sale. Though the other characters in “City Armor” fuse to their outfits such that murder is the only way to release them, the speaker is less perfectly adorned. She accumulates wrappers and newspapers for her outfit, covering herself in printed words that nobody stops to read. That passers-by don’t read the papers she wears is less the speaker’s concern, it seems, than that passers-by never stop to read her. She clothes herself in a disguise that makes her more difficult to understand when she’s in the city, but once she’s in the middle of nowhere, she can’t get away from herself. She never becomes the clothes she wears, nor does the speaker of “How You Get Love” become the disasters whose behavior she imitates. The speakers in these poems can never figure out how to become something else, even in the face of love, into which the speaker might like to dissolve. The self, that “most unreliable thing,” persists.