Monday, June 27, 2011

cadaver dogs, Eating the tender thing that will not fill

Sorry I've been less than stellar about updating and participating. Our next serving of Loudon is “Eating the tender thing that will not fill”.

Remember that postmodern stutter? Let's take a look at an excerpt:

There are odd punishments afoot.
For instance, the time you ate
your brother after cooking him
in a port reduction and fatfatfat
no take-backs.

By my reading, the voice in the first line is curious and slightly dated. I'll call it fairytale-ish. In the second line the voice is controlled and explanatory. Then on the third, psychotic. The fourth line breaks down into that gibber. The fifth line completely regresses into a childishness that is playful, lacks conscience, and remains literally true (as far as there are no take-backs when you eat your brother).

I'm not saying Loudon is formulaic, not at all, but I find the general thrust of her language here to be familiar after only four poems. It's something I've been struggling to express so far.

On the whole I'm reading this poem as being about insatiability and carnal hunger. The language is primarily food (and prey) throughout, with a touch of aggressiveness, but I think my reading is very much supported at the end where the poem is written “you can hardly sleep from all the racket in your bed / and spring, yes, the spring market is near”.

Also, there's something elided. The poem is in numbered sections. 1, 2, 4, and 5.

Finally, a little journey in trying to understand the line “Mars hangs above you like a meat chime.”

First, I started by picturing Just the planet mars above you (me):

Then I associated Mars with the god of war, so now I'm picturing the idea as emblematic:

Well then I'm wondering what the hell a meat chime is. So I ask Janelo, she says she doesn't know, but pictures it as a chime (like a dinner chime) made of marbled meat. So this image is interesting. I combine it with the others:

So I'm thinking that it's a a bell made of meat, that's triggering aggression, like an astrological omen.

Well, at this point I start talking to Jake S, who you might know from the PFFA. And he tells me:

i wouldn't overanalyze
poetry is meant to be kept simple
simple and clear
i believe was wc williams dictum
i got taht from someone
5. she's food
so 1) food eating part hurts/injured
2) eating is punishment (brother?)
4) eating is war
i think this is a pro-vegetarian poem
your brother
could be like
"brother wolf"
my brother the owl
sort of native american ish

“Well,” I ask him, “what do you make of 'hardly sleep from all the racket in your bed'?”.

Jake: N is food
twine around her feet
her bed is a meat locker
sh is meat

Which I had to admit is a compelling reading. So I searched “Rebecca Loudon vegetarian” and came up with an interview and this excerpt:

Reb: You're a vegetarian yet you wrote a book called Cadaver Dogs. WTF? Are you being political? Are you judging me cause I eat steak?"

Rebecca: Do you eat puppies? I won’t judge you for eating steak but if you eat puppies, we may have to agree to disagree. People are frequently surprised and somewhat disappointed when they find that Cadaver Dogs is not a book of dead dog poems. Cadaver dogs are police dogs trained to detect human remains. On the surface, Cadaver Dogs consists of poems exploring the way animals, all animals, not just our family pets, affect our lives. If you peel away a few layers, you may or may not discover that Cadaver Dogs is a series of poems about the perils of being a child in a dangerous world. I recently told my therapist that I liked animals better than people. She said she wasn’t surprised, so I fired her. But the truth is, when I was a child, my dog never told me that I have trust issues. He just put his head on my lap and slobbered. And the cats that live with me now love every single poem I write and never judge the way I dress."

I do think Jake may be onto something with his reading. And, maybe, as he says:

Jake: yeah dude
so here's the thing
you were overanalyzing big time
for meaning

Well. It is a compelling argument. Whether or not my reading holds water, I thought you guys might find the process interesting.

Now I can sleep.


  1. HAHHAHHAHAH! This is so cool Aric, your drawings and the sharing of your process with Jake trying to understand Loudon's poetry. It makes me want to make dioramas out of shoeboxes like we used to do for book reports in grade school! I like what you are pulling from her poems and the meat chime is a compelling and difficult image. I'm totally enjoying how you're incorporating yourself as a reader.

  2. I would have to say I enjoyed your postmodern piece of performance art, cum poetry analysis better than the poem. Fer sure dude.

    The first, eating the brother part reminds me of Hannibal the cannibal. I don't know wha the hell the mars meat chime is either.

  3. Oh, my goodness, those diagrams are awesome and I love them! I especially love the fact that you are making a frowny face due to confusion, or possibly due to horror at the masculine martian meat chime above your head.

    I like Jake's reading of "brother" as "brother wolf/brother owl". I found that passage comical. (Perhaps I am secretly evil?)