In Geraldine Clarkson’s chapbook Declare sound is of the upmost importance. Clarkson methodically uproots melody and grafts it onto lines and stanzas to make a scaffolding strong enough to bear emotional weight.
This is used to best effect in the prose poems. This from “In Bushy Park”:
…I am in Bushy Park with flies. Don’t leave me, causing a stink, trampling, my ideas like aspergillus rolled round in leaf-rot. A cardboardy crust encases the pie we bought—a classic roast pastified for ramblers—which we eat like wolves. We count six goatees of sheep’s wool, wizened trophies strung on a gate. I like the look of your white white. Mazel tov. Monsieur, when I started this walk I had three clear objectives. You trounced the first, and the others, through half-engaged, were seduced by a boy with tweedy jacket and bolt-upright glance. No, Lord, too sad. I seven times circled the station saying prayers like the handbook had told me, trying to shut out the noise of aeroplanes and daytrippers.
The domestic and the familiar are turned on their heads here. The language is rung out like a kitchen dish rag. This from “Afflatus in My Home Town”:
I eat. I eat perflux and paper flying
sideways in the dust. I pull soft
conversations from the bones of old men,
jawing at bus stops, about horses’ form
and ale. Small girls look broken and mended
wrong. I lick them over. I cannot believe
I have been mute here so long, in these grand
Avenues, under this low flat wind, where
everything is old—the old school, the old post office,
the old library, all turned to high-end shells.