Lemonworld & other poems
88 pages, pbk.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Hecker
Smarty Pants Alarm Clock: a review of Carina Finn’s Lemonworld & other poems
I’m prone to bruxism (grinding teeth during nap-time). So far I suffer no hypophobia (fear of zzz’s), hypnic jerk, micro-arousal, obesity-hypoventilation also called Pickwickian syndrome, sleepwalk, or the scientific biggies: insomnia and sleep inertia (troubling waking up) as so many mummies and zombies on earth do.
My first reading of Carina Finn’s Lemonworld (in a parking lot at dusk) I imagined I was eavesdropping on cradle songs Diane di Prima wishes she could go back in time and test on her children. My second, third and especially fourth reading (all in parking lots at dawn) I began to sense Finn’s focus is more about waking from the REM cycle than prepping for shut-eye. Then I read online Finn composed this entire book upon her sister’s bed. My fifth reading solidified my opinion: indeed this is a motivational collection of punk rock daily affirmations, aromatic reasons to roll out of the sack despite the potatoes, splashes of warm shower water, optimistic cock-a-doodle-doos Murasaki Shikibu taught to farm roosters. It’s a calling to waken and face life lifted (not face-lifted) despite the world’s disappointments, disasters, and bastards.
Shibiku’s not the only ancient Japanese master who would have marveled at a poem like “Photowalk In Raincouver”:
cold cold cold is around the monochromatic!/I’m living in the alarm of a handgrenade swing./dear holiday sequins, girly mature is a faux skin./no such thing as fake, this trick we have of/turning vixen
“I’m Not An Abacus But You Can Count On Me”:
my birthday diet: chocolates & cigarettes at se-ven-A.M./out of focus bunny, smell the project in the air–/billionaire smokin’ mirrors in a batzone wonderlair./let’s get lost mcqueen, I’m the new bob dylan/but you’re still the one when the weather is porcelain.
sunny winter – hide your eyes!/monday ashes chernobyl child./lost: jupiter marilyn knit cardigan/leaving flying propane nightmares./kaboom!/let me play the violin for you.
At least a dozen variations on the term “sun” appear in the book, too many for it to be a quirk, and now reading a sixth time (in a parking lot outside Target) I’m feeling an oncoming tingling pleasurable sensation (blood platelets streaming back into my organs?) as complete strangers enter/exit cars, trucks, minivans, motorcycles, even vehicles so spanking new I don’t recognize makes, models, body styles, or hood emblems. It’s interesting: I’m suddenly overjoyed everybody decided to wake up today and carry all of these polka-dotted bags out of this place. I’m being emotionally affected by Lemonworld.
You know what I miss most about department stores and why I’ve ultimately stopped going inside any of them? Quarter-slot candy/prize machines, opaque eggs hiding folded paratroopers or expired ring-pops or passive aggressive stickers that proclaimed brilliant slogans like “You Were My Special Someone But Now You’re Just A Superstar” or “High Heel Hit The Bricks” or “Kiss The Sass Not This Lass.”
Lemonworld utterly fills the expanding absence of all my expensive childhood cheap adult thrills.
Jeffrey Hecker was born in 1977 in Norfolk, Virginia. He’s the author of Rumble Seat (San Francisco Bay Press, 2011) & the chapbooks Hornbook (Horse Less Press, 2012), Instructions for the Orgy (Sunnyoutside Press, 2013), & Before He Let Them Guide Sleigh (Shirt Pocket Press, 2013).