Mary Ruefle read at the museum of printing history last night. Other than the incredible printing process to witness there, Ruelfe (pronounced Rue full, without the connotation) denoted a speaking style and reading of straightforwardness, simultaneously aware of the process, audience, and the interplay of text. The almost seamless result allowed for the world to be for a moment, be made of paper. The discursive sway of the poems at times encouraged laughter, encouraged then prohibited laughter at others. Making direct and prolonged eye contact with the audience, she spoke with the guile of a performer, entering the back corner of the room prior to the reading, adjusting then approving the track lighting around the room.
Talking to Strangers
Do you see sun spots? A strong, terrible love where
there isn't any? A demoiselle crane talking to a lama
duck? Very interesting, but there's nothing in it.
Some people take electric roses and plant them in a field
to bring the field down to earth.
There's nothing wrong with that. Put down your book.
Look at me when I talk to you. I'm the oxygen mask
that comes dangling down in a plane.
I'm here to help you be garrulous.
I'm not interested in your family--not your mother,
father, brother, sister, son, daughter, lover or
dog. In France, they used to kill themselves if
a dinner party went wrong. That's a great idea.
Are you interested in orphan-types who turn out
to be kings, or kings who come to nothing?
What's the difference between watching and looking?
Doff your garb. I'm sorry, but the loggerhead turtles
off the Carolina coast are leaving for Africa tonight.
Would you like an ice cold pear instead?
Walking into the store is like entering
the delicate refrain of a Christmas poem.
What more could you want? Siddhartha said
someone who brushes against you in the street
has shared an experience with you for five hundred lives.
Can bottles bobbing on the open seabe said to move at all?