Crawlspace by Nikki Wallschlaeger
The second book by the author of Houses, CRAWLSPACE collects thirty-six pieces built on the foundation of the sonnet, ranging in length from fourteen lines to longer works stacking multiple sonnets into linked sequences. CRAWLSPACE deepens and extends the house metaphor from Wallschlaeger's first book, while opening up more initmate and sometimes darker intellectual territory. Where Houses explored the mental/emotional/physical sheltered spaces in which we live out and construct our lives, Crawlspace explores the the more constricted spaces, the tighter concealed passages running above and below. These sonnets aim to be "very very fraught with you."
Publication is scheduled for April 2017. Advance copies will be available in February (in time for AWP). To reserve a review copy or invite Nikki to do a reading in the spring, contact Shanna Compton: info at bloof books dot com.
"Form is everywhere & it’s useless to deny it, so I like to play with the illusion of having control. This is from a series of sonnets that I’ve placed into small buildings, but since the bank owns the buildings that I move in, I am only paying mortgage. We have an understanding. The sonnet has agreed to the task of my subversions, that the security guard is on a permanent lunch break so we can get inside. A window that is open on the top floor? A claw in the painting? These are my micro-victories against hegemony."
Nikki Wallschlaeger is the author of Houses (Horse Less, 2015), and the chapbooks I Hate Telling You How I Really Feel (Bloof, 2016) and I Would Be the Happiest Bird (Horse Less, 2014). She is currently at work on a book of sonnets called Crawlspace, some of which can be found in the Brooklyn Rail, Fanzine, Elective Affinities, the Account, the Inquisitive Eater, and elsewhere. www.nikkiwallschlaeger.com
Excerpts & Media
Poems from Crawlspace have appeared in the Brooklyn Rail, P-Queue, TheThe Poetry Blog, the Account, Fanzine, Elective Affinities, Dusie, the Philadelphia Review, Quaint Magazine, the Enemy, the Inquisitive Eater, the Poetry Project Newsletter & elsewhere.
Face me in your sonnets so I can permanently grieve
is really what the roses say to the antebellum purling
dogtags of myself. It’s one of our common flowers
along with the gardenia, violet, & heady geranium
leaning into a postcard advertising vintage weedkiller.
It makes it difficult to approach the crowd with love,
I turn an unnatural whip of red like a baboon’s crypt.
Whether or not they like it depends on their versions
of paternalistic stylecraft, the jetskis they rode in on
red and black girls grown for their gutted waterpetals.
Afterwards I hear their toasts while I pour champagne
to health and happiness. I trip on a slab of calf muscle,
the grooms giving the essential lists of panting warning
It is the big gulp of seaworld sacraments I have sampled
when they asked me to be a bridesmaid in topos red tulle,
the families who have grown me out of hysterical divide.
I have been their servant. I’ve listened to their decimations
of languor, that slow cookin is always the best way to unite.
I’ve been pregnant before and I will be wrecked pregnant
again: heavier with the tree slits of Mary Turner’s baby
who sings of rapturous hexes oiled by the truly innocent.
These Dostoyevskian friends, what can you say to them
who choose the inconsequential as their primary crime.
Like the good shigella drugged citizens that they are,
they handwax the long calvacade of cars with Jackie O
fibroids, the journeymen specializing in overseeing
plant lacuna switches & steel workboots that massacre
babies not ready to be born w/ tinted glass is my belly
all the babies covered in secret eyes blinking for our nights
running with their infant infareds, flashing through the paths.
We are in hiding. We make pot roast sandwiches for senators
as I trace my eyes down to the documents being fabricated
over their lunch hours I know I will have to wipe down this
table when they finish. A newspaper asks,” How many words
can you make out of the word arrogate?” next to a crossword
puzzle about cinema noir. How much of it can be destroyed
if it’s designed to kill you cuz Baldwin says here it comes again
when you’ve already been walking for miles, talkin back to cops
and your voice gets auto-tuned swelled with dripping generations
of statesmen. By the glow of mycelium lakes who are connecting
the old growth trees for shelter: We, as marked women transformourselves. We are the wood violets and roses stretching in the rain.
- Sonnet (13): Mother you want is going to yell at you, from Fanzine
- Sonnet (8): Do not feed the inquisitive machine, from the Account
- Sonnet (29): To drag one's razed cesarean stories, from the Poetry Project website
- Sonnet (59): Three scoops of natural black hair, from the Inquisitive Eater
- Four Sonnets (57, 41, 34, 51), from the Brooklyn Rail