On The Fly by Amy King
(Flux de Bouche Press, 2005)
Poems are branches–you grab the ones
you get the best grasp on, and the rest remain
“What The Buttercup Said”
Amy King's chapbook, On The Fly, is full of “temptation's decorations.” And these decorations are far more interesting than the “branches.”
On The Fly is full of poems that take readers to real places, but those places are tinted with the unfamiliar. In the poem “Doppelganger,” a speaker imagines a twin in another part of the world. Most people have probably thought of how great (or horrible) this would be. But King's speaker thinks of something else:
Over there, she dreams identical bad jokes
that end in the punch line, “Hammerhead.”
She has powdered the precise number of bottoms I have.
I am not the most willing aunt. Neither is my synonym.
This strangeness is not only present in these moments where one gets caught up in his/her own imagination. In many of the poems there is a bite that also is fringed with the unfamiliar. This creeps in in the final two stanzas of “What's In That Crate?”:
Lastly, man walks into a bar called “Nothing,” though it's never
nothing. There's always something to catcall
or spread one's imagination in moist crevices for.
And if I could remain in this trucker state, everyone
would be beautiful everywhere, or a license plate, at some point.
On The Fly is not a tree overgrown with branches to grasp. This chapbook may look and feel like a tree. The poems may appear to be sturdy branches that you could grasp and climb on. But when you get close, reach out and touch it, it's shaky. If these poems are “temptation's decorations,” then I want to plaster them all over the walls.
Nathan Logan is the editor of Spooky Boyfriend and a MFA candidate at Minnesota State University Moorhead. Some of his work has appeared/is forthcoming in Literary Tonic, Lovechild, No Posit, O Sweet Flowery Roses, The Scrambler, and Superficial Flesh.