Bush said eh and America said eh and bin Laden said eh and America said uh-oh and Bush said eh and America said kill and Bush said eh again and Kerry said eh and they said eh eh eh skulls and bones bro and America said eh. And Bush said eh and the world said holy crap and then Bush didn’t say anything or do anything for a very long time and America said eh and then their money started to disappear and they started to say something and what they said was Obama. And McCain said eh and Palin said you betcha and Obama said everything that needed to be said and America said Obama and I’m so freaking happy.

Inauguration 2009

Inauguration 2009

I’m still in a post-inaugural stupor. I missed the concert and the parade and the inaugural balls but my wife and girls and I went down to the National Mall for the most marked and wonderful transfers of power in American history. Noon on Tuesday and the switch flipped and suddenly everything was a little brighter, the edges sharper.

But it was cold and my four-year-old, sitting atop my shoulders whispered into my ear “I’m cold and I want to go home” and number of times and the one-year-old was starting to loose her shit so we missed the inaugural poem. Does poetry matter? No. Not when you’re cold and hungry and claustraphobic and craving a Guinness.

(The whole “does poetry matter?” discussion will be tabled for another time but the short answer is who cares? And more interestingly, why do poets constantly feel the need to justify the importance of their craft?)

But for now, I mostly going to neglect Nathalie Anderson’s poem “Eh?” that appeared in the January 19, 2009, issue of the New Yorker. 

I haven’t read any of Anderson’s work before this poem but I read on the Pew site, where she was a fellow, that her work involves “anxiety — especially sexual anxiety is my most frequent subject.”

“Eh?” certainly has that and it’s kind of hot and I like how the title is an interrogative as if she’s saying to the reader, “Hey, do you want to have a go.”  The repetition really makes this poem go and allows it to build to its, um, climax, which really is an admission from the female that she is obsessed in what is a one-sided relationship and it doesn’t matter and she doesn’t care.

Postscript bullets of observation:

  • Of the consonants, gutterals (as Anderson noted) are heard in the bedroom, a grouping which includes some nasals and some sibilants. 
  • Plosives, liquids, dentals or fricatives, not so much.

Further Reading

Nathalie and her big shelf.


“The Miser.”

Five from Crawlers.