Words on the Street
by Anna Rabinowitz
“Anna Rabinowitz at her highest, boldest register.”
— Timothy Donnelly
Winner, 2017 Sheila Margaret Motton Book Prize
Words on the Street is set in the center of a mystery. An infant is abducted and seven symbolic figures play their metaphoric fiddles while humanity is plagued by chronic threat, insecurity, and confusion. This is not a book for the faint of heart. It is to be read at the peril of complacency. It situates the reader in a landscape choked with graffiti, teeming with hearsay and falsehood. Human existence roils with questions about artifice and reality; the absurd and the comic; good and evil; the knowable and the unknowable. Above all, the words on the street, namely Anna Rabinowitz’s words, pave the street we all inhabit, speaking from the primal core of the human predicament: the conundrum between two whys.
“Anna Rabinowitz at her highest, boldest register.” — Timothy Donnelly
Vanished as if she had somewhere else
to go and had to arrive without delay
How sudden her flight, how lithe her legs
winging arms, swift of flex
Nowhere was dying
to greet her
She made her getaway with ease
from place to space
Birds, kites, flying fans
could speed no better
But we slept —
that was the rub…
Baby called our bluff
WRATH AND ROLL
My soul is not itself,
A loud jargogle invades the plague of contingency.
Of course, I often deliciate in a state of confusion,
Especially when I wildly corrade detritus with illusion.
Many collages create mayhem, but these days folks
Giggle and kench, hosting bitter tears in their eyes.
No one seeks the mockery or scorn of ludibrious games.
Our ailing world is dedicated to erase sanguinolency.
Hence the decline of bloodshed in our current wars.
Drones, our best-to-date grade A, silent, unmanned aer-
ial vehicles, our sleek UAVs, aces of launch and leave,
Save lives. SAVE LIVES. Hip, hip, hooray, yippee!?
Remote control: surf the Web, site define
In its prime: eye on the screen, eye in the sky.
Get it down cold in comfy seats at safe old Creech.
Skill the scan, learn the drill and clinch their cease.
The shift is done, a setting sun, and home
To ground round patties on the grill, a jog with the dog,
A kiss for kids, drowsy, and wiped, hitting the sheets,
Plus shades down for a fuck, a hug, and a good night’s sleep.
We’ve navigated a boundless longinquity.
Life is luculent.
War is kind.
|Dimensions||6 x .5 x 9 in|
“A Juniper Prize–winning poet (At the Site of Inside Out) and a librettist—The Wanton Sublime is a chamber opera and monodrama for mezzo-soprano—Rabinowitz offers poetry as story as near drama. The setting is a time of ‘worn-thin profits’ when ‘children, like troublesome details, were marooned/ within gaps of being with nowhere to turn,’ the heroine is a baby endangered by several mysterious figures, and the tone is energized Occupy Wall Street surreal. Rabinowitz scatters lines across the ever-turning pages and dares you to follow. VERDICT For all rebels at heart.” — Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
“Recent political events resonate through these pages even though the pages were printed before the events. This is how the literary operates its uncanny presence. The tension of past tense versus future readings sometimes astonishes, sometimes consoles. I do not know what consolation is available here beyond that which always accompanies the display of dexterity, intelligence, wit, and wisdom.” — Bin Ramke, The Denver Quarterly