Friday, 6 April 2012

Kyle Hemmings

In the Junkyards

I remember the mother
who dropped me off here
in exchange for three new tires
& a greased vision of a radiator whore
smoky, beautiful beyond any cowl screen.
She once said I was her sister's extra
car part--a weekend addict of metal & aluminum--
she had no use for driving down one-way streets
on Sunday.

Her love was a phosphorescent decoy...

The woman who comes to visit me
her nose pressed between the spaces
of the wrought iron fence
that surrounds the parts
of my childhood:
ruined sunroof
broken subwoofers
camshaft sensor on stuck

(as in forever you can't love me/one of us must be so fuel efficient)

The woman leaves without ever saying
I once owned you under the floorboards
then the brakes slipped

Maybe we both need reassemblage
& the lowest bidder

No remorse on Sundays


TSTmpj:  I am in those junkyards with you.  Women and cars.  A potent brew. Can you throw light, especially for the readership outside the USA, on what is so peculiarly American about this cocktail?

Kyle Hemmings:  Well, I’m sure there are many studies/books that have looked at that peculiar phenomenon of cars as status symbols, cars as symbols of power, women sitting on the cars of powerful men.  It’s every other TV advertisement.  A beautiful woman and a sleek new car. My poem incorporates some of this, but veers off into a different direction, I think. I was thinking about the lives that wind up in the junkyards, lives as scrap metal and trade-ins, and whether such damaged lives can be rebuilt.

TSTmpj:  I've heard love described in many ways, but never before as a phosphorescent decoy.  I can imagine Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison jointly coming up with that hanging out together at 3:30 a.m. in July, 1981.  I'm intrigued, full stop.  Care to share a thought or two?

Kyle Hemmings:  Yes, there are some lines that come from the subconscious that I’ll keep, that throw a certain tonal value on the piece. I had an ebook titled Tokyo Girls in Science Fiction (NAP) that was full of lines of cultural references, allusions to songs and rock bands, etc., that added, I think, a certain texture/atmosphere to the alternate reality I wanted to create.

In the context of this poem, I associated the aunt with a kind of love as slow burning, as a kind of radiation, as something deceitful. A significant other who saw the narrator/boy as nothing but an unnecessary car part.

TSTmpj:  What is your take on regret?

Kyle Hemmings:  I’m finding that in many of my newer poems, I’m looking back on my life, on things that didn’t turn out the way they should have, and this feeling of sadness, of missed chances. I’m trying to channel that lingering feeling that I could have done things better, to give that sadness a voice, a shape that can be held by many, and maybe, to go beyond it.

Bio Note

Kyle Hemmings lives in New Jersey. He has been published in Wigleaf, Elimae, Matchbook, Anomalous Press, and elsewhere.

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