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Thin Matter

Alifair Skebe

Poetry's no spectator sport. What is written in these poems, Skebe works equally as hard at what's not written, so that you, the reader, must bring

your [      ] to them

as light through a gap in the floor.

From their bottoms up, each poem creates the double world of an hourglass.

—Craig Czury, author of Thumb Notes Almanac

Perhaps all matter is thin: permeable, fragile, fleeting. Alifair Skebe cuts in to the fabric of matter, not to find a slice of life but to reach a vast opening. Charles Olson wrote, “any of us, at any instant, are juxtaposed to any experience, even an overwhelming single one, on several more planes than the arbitrary and discursive which we inherit can declare.” Skebe embraces those planes, wherein she is “poised in the balance/between is and being.” She discovers “no past—there is none/no past—I have none/all is here, you see.” A favorite poet of hers, Muriel Rukeyser, wrote that poetry is an art enabling us “to understand, in the glimpse of a moment, the freshness of things and their possibilities.” Throughout Thin Matter the freshness of things and moments vibrate; and in the final poem of the volume, Skebe lacerates a world wherein depleted uranium sinks into groundwater, offering instead:

Forget your pretenses

these poems are angry poems, sad poems,

fighting for their lives poems,

cannot be read as abstract poems or

tired image-driven poems,

don’t give them Wellbutren poems

or life-support.

These poems have concussions.

—David Landrey, September 2016

From the book:

By the Riverbank

rivulets snake through the mind

like words   like sand

turning lines of verse

in linear time       undulating

reeds bend at a safe distance

from the edge  some

growing against the current

words take courage

and crumple it up like an old paper bag

down in the river below

Mother curled her cursive

O’s in grade school

courage takes words

to make deeds

follow me down the riverbank

and we’ll put a few words together

Alifair Skebe, who is an English/writing instructor with the SUNY/Albany Educational Opportunities Program, has published two poetry chapbooks--"El Agua Es La Sangre De La Tierra: The Water Is the Blood of the Earth" (Finishing Line Press, 2008); and "Les Cartes Postales" (Basilisk Press). She has also published poems in numerous literary journals and multi-genre magazines. She was raised in Louisiana and Texas, and holds a PhD in literature from Suny/Albany.

Thin Matter

is an 80 page hand-stitched paperbook with spine.   $16.00

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Thin Matter




Thin Matter