Cathexis Northwest Press
A repair man came; Wandering; Sisters
By: Candace Angelica
A repair man came
and he lit the fire and turned on my lights while I sat and studied his hands his hip bones the back of his head he didn’t seem to want to leave kept finding new things to fix asking me what else is broken? I pointed here and there the sink has old plumbing I think he’d nod and get to work while I’d pretend to scrutinize be familiar with procedure informed like the magazine subscriptions piled by the door with names of people who lived there before me I never put return to sender or told the company that dispatched him they had the wrong address who am I to tell the world their business? he’d just finish up and smile at me before asking “what next?”
there is a past inside us where we once explored our higher selves a place we traveled to in distance (and in theory) drinking foreign beer and tasting tourist tongues our shallow kisses carrying us through moments of being lost a time where we (together in our primal need) discovered the confines of our humanity saw our spirit flash before us like northern lights
you and I conspired against them for once, instead of one another, like always you took one turn peeing into the jar, then it was mine laughing under the avocado tree Maybe someone will think its apple juice! And drink it! Ha ha ha! at the dinner table, we licked empty bowls, the phone never stopped ringing we pretended grocery store and bank blue and green cash rich as peacock feathers between chubby fingers while flesh pink fiberglass hemorrhaged through punched holes in the yellow hallway wallpaper his hands around her neck you got tired of pretend and said they’d be sorry then wished me luck as you put the bread I stole for you into a runaway backpack go fish wouldn’t fit so you dealt our cards one more time for you, I learned not to tell the truth mouth sewn shut like a rag doll you said that’s what love is: never saying all the things we know about each other
Candace Angelica completed a Creative Writing program at Cal Arts Institute in Valencia, and has poetry published by Ming Chuan University Press in Taiwan. She holds degrees in Mandarin, Political Science, and International Studies from California State University, Long Beach. She is currently working on a book length memoir of her time in Havana, Cuba. About Wandering: Simone De Beavoir wrote in The Ethics of Ambiguity: "having been is also a kind of being, and perhaps the surest kind." Wandering is a poem that ponders the culmination of our individual and collective human experience and how that relates to our natural essence of spirit and form. I think most of us have a tendency to either highlight or diminish the things that we have done or have happened to us based on our desire to project an image of something else; but there is nothing more certain (and by no means stagnant) about what we are than the experiences and the people that have shaped us. We look forward towards the light, and the spark of past embers tremble inside of us, remembering what it was to be aflame. Interview with the Poet: CNP: How long have you been writing poetry? Candace Angelica: When I was in third grade I won a poetry contest with something I’d written about my Grandma’s cat. I was about 8 or 9. I was always making up songs and stuff before that, but I think that was the first time I realized what words could do; how writing the truth creatively could reach others somehow. CNP: Can you remember the first poem you read that made you fall in love with poetry? CA: I remember reading "Phenomenal Woman" when I was in middle school and just having my mind absolutely busted right open about what poetry could be, the power of words and reflection. CNP: Who are your favorite poets? Any specific poems? CA: Maya Angelou, Pablo Neruda, Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow, Ron Koertge. A poem called "Signal Hill" by Sharon Duobiago is my favorite poem. The last lines never fail to both devastate and resuscitate me. CNP: Can you share for us a little bit about your writing process? Any specific rituals that get you in the zone? CA: It usually starts with a melody in my head, like remembering the lyrics to a song I’ve never heard before. I like to viscerally write everything down with pen and paper first. There’s still something magical about that; scribbling them out and seeing all your crazed rantings and corrections illustrated before you. CNP: How do you decide the form for your poems? Do you start writing with a form in mind, or do you let the poem tell you what it will look like as you go? CA: I listen for the ends of thoughts and images and they decide where to punctuate themselves. CNP: Any advice for poets who have yet to find their voice? CA: Comparison is the thief of joy; no one can be better than you at being you. Lean into all your creaky, leaky spaces and embrace your unique experience. CNP: What is your editing process like? CA: I try not to be too critical of the work as it’s coming along so I can resist that adolescent tendency to rip out pages in my diary. I think this is true with a lot of poets, but there are poems I’ve walked away from for years, only to revisit and see what we still have in common, how we’ve both changed, and then when I’ve absolutely smothered all of my original little darlings, it actually becomes something I'm good with. CNP: When do you know that a poem is finished? CA: Just like any relationship: when I feel good about walking away.