Viewers may think that they can process it all

by Stephanie Gray

but they are fooling themselves,
if there’s a window open you might have a chance,
if you hadn’t all gone to Holy Name,
if the world didn’t change,
if you only bent the laws of physics so much,
if the tides weren’t so strong on the Hudson,
if you didn’t have to go,
if it wasn’t a dream you still believed in,
if that different kind of memory didn’t take hold,
if your muscle memory didn’t steady you,
if you didn’t have orders you couldn’t ship,
if you didn’t see what you saw,
if the crawl wasn’t always hungry,
if there weren’t celebrities in every sphere,
if you didn’t know all the criminals in the neighborhood,
if nothing ever happened here,
if it wasn’t a country club,
if there wasn’t magic in actuality,
if you didn’t dislocate the phrase,
if you didn’t grind the blue sky,
if it hadn’t been a downward trajectory,
if the shadow didn’t undo itself,
if you all weren’t all on break,
if everyone didn’t shut down,
if Canada wasn’t in the escape plans,
if the future wasn’t sparkling with nostalgia

© 2015 by Stephanie Gray
(Argos Books 2015)
(my editing on poem-for poets take click on GRAY)


‘Main Street, Stockbridge’ by Norman Rockwell (1884-1978)

“Just as cinematic language can bypass rational intellect and converse directly with memory, intuition and dream, Stephanie Gray’s poems casually subvert normative forms of communication and activate a kind of collective vernacular consciousness. “All the back roads changed. . .I had a job connecting dreams,” she writes, while her language does the mysterious work of linking philosophical rigor with delicious humor and deep investigations into the sonic. Hers is a poetry of vernaculars: of aphorisms, truisms and idiomatics, of the exhaustive pleasure to be found in lists, chants, catchphrases and “variations on a theme.” After reading Gray’s poems, it is impossible to hear cultural commonplaces in quite the same way—like Gray, you will want to make them your own. . .” (evaluation by Elizabeth Clark Wessel – 17th June 2015)

stephanie-grayStephanie Gray is a poet and filmmaker known for short Super 8 films that explore the experience of urban space and gentrification, queer identity and feminism, and disability and class. She is the author of the poetry collections Heart Stoner Bingo (2007) and Shorthand and Electric Language Stars (2015), which includes images and stills from her films. In Artforum,Amy Taubin noted, “Poetry informs the place from which she [Gray] speaks as a moving-image maker and her camera-eye informs her words.” Gray is also the author of the chapbooks I Thought You Said It Was Sound/How Does That Sound (2012) and A Country Road Going Back in Your Direction (2015). She is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. In June 2015, the Anthology Film Archives in New York City held a retrospective of her work.

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