Friday, August 29, 2003


Carol Mirakove’s TEMPORARY TATTOOS is folded in an image of hope scrawled on
concrete- daisies drawn on the sidewalks of New York City shortly after
September 11. I’ve known Carol’s work to be political, w/ a directness & humor
that comes through her Debordian Clowns Against Capitalism filter (e.g. her
recent FUCK THE POLIS poems). Her latest chapbook is a 23-page poem, segmented
by sections/hours. It reads as a refugee poem. The time chronicles(in which
every hour counts), the anxiety of departure & ultimate separation mark each
phase of passage. The setting isn’t South Asia or Western Africa, it’s
Brooklyn. More specifically, the poem’s terrain isn’t necessarily
geographically focused at all. It moves within the scape of the

Relationship is a place on the verge of being left behind. Anxiety, guilt &
survival are at odds w/ the possibility of severing the bond(age).

from 4(pm):

do you actually have a specific plan to keep things low key? or
are we gonna wing it. we’ve been doing a great job so far.
statute of limitations. or you could just tie me up immediately
upon arrival.

and i thought i don’t deserve a star for leaving, but i’ll accept
one when i stay.

Mirakove moves between tangible, emotional & back again adeptly. The suspicions
of sabotage & frustration with "him" are complicated by a struggle for
situational control. The underground in the first & middle hours of the book
suggest a search for cover, but also a vague possibility of tunneling out. The
connection is still intact, though making it intentionally difficult prevents
an impulsive turnaround.


keeper of copper writing to cut phone lines. these repairs are
never quick.

washing for sunrise, resembled a little kid playing dress up.
slammed into a wall. he’ll survive, more or less. whatever’s
good for you. he’s rarely specific.

The practice of washing is employed as both meditation & a preparation. The
laundromat is a place fostering reflection, as well as vulnerability. Process
is not the culprit as much as the dirty details are. There is a painful/playful
doorway between seeing large-in-the-small & self-abuse. Everything is in the
escape. Everything is in the place left behind. The tension between micro &
masoch never quite resolves.


epic of empathy                                    

"snapping out of it" does not = good health. maybe it’s the
extremity & variety of the repressions here that are tossing me
about. crash course. front seat is glorious(microcosm), but i
should know better(masochism).

TEMPORARY TATTOOS is a document of sorrow & possibility. The Mirakove sentence
is taut, dense & often beautiful in the least precious, most impacting way.
Survival in the real feeds Carol’s refugee, keeping her moving through the
doubt pangs & hunger for return. The chapbook comes to an end/beginning, not
THE END. No daisies grow in the sidewalk cracks, but their images keep us
looking- watching where we walk.

Frank Sherlock

To order TEMPORARY TATTOOS, contact Jen Coleman or Allison Cobb.

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