190.1: Chris Tysh:: from Ravished
31 August 2015
As I write this introduction on yet another hot day in Southern California, the windows to my apartment are open. I hear the roaring of a neighbor's air-conditioning unit, the squeal of an accidentally-deployed car alarm, a distant voice on a loudspeaker talking about...what is that voice talking about, exactly? "Too much sense mars the writing," Chris Tysh reminds us in this selection, which takes as its source text Marguerite Duras' Le Ravissement de Lol V. Stein. In a series of couplet stanzas, the poet cleaves to sense-impressions, at once holding onto a tennis court in August, for instance, and yet also pushing against tactility as a representation of anything but what has been or can be lost: "the heart / will come later        surely". This deferment of ultimate sense, of anything quite like resolution, certainly infuses Tysh's selection with melancholy. But there is also humor here, and it poignantly situates the poet and her audience in reflection: "The way I tell Lola's story, unreliable narrator / that I am, though my name seems to hold // the old gate standing in for the facts / won't be once upon a time". Surrounded by sounds, my writing marred, I know that whatever words I divine from that loudspeaker will most assuredly come to be "like a sentence stenciled in the sky," no matter how trivial they might initially seem.