Oyster Boy Review 17  
  Fall 2003
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Poet's Last Word Review

C. A. Conrad

Eileen Myles.
Black Sparrow Press, 2002.
213 pages, $16.50 (paperback).
ISBN: 157423174X

Every new Eileen Myles book is her best! Skies is no exception, because it's her latest, and her best! Few poets raise poems to the top of the flagpole as consistently as Myles.

I need
to drown
being everyone
come up
every place
that white
wake is
god in
my mind
                        ("Gathering Force")

Having lived in New York City for many years, seeing the sky in an urban frame, then making a part-time shift to Provincetown with its vast fields of open sky, Myles imagines for us the maps through these emotional landscapes. It's an effortless world we inhabit here, generous with space on the page to feel our own walk around:

let the
big boats
carrying my
I blink
and it's so fresh
at the mouth
of the sea

When a new Myles book comes out I get together with poets I know, and we're there at its amazing life form together. Whether it's the track of her heart or the heart she wants in the track is hardly the point. There's always a favorite or two, even in a book with no slack, no boredom. An amazing poem read forward and backward is the poem "Milk":

no one had gone high
around me,
where's the fear
I asked the
Sun. The birds
are out there
in their scattered

What makes its way out of her lines best about this world is the separation we continue to endure, and the life we continue to wave in front of us in spite of the penalty of separation.

each lack each pit
of the rain slowing down outside
reminds me of your missing
warmth, your regularity.
I hated living with you
I had enough
I know you hate me for
having said it with Roses

The shelf of light in sky for each of these poems is opened and set aside to be opened again, to be understood again, as light comes in different angles different days:

but look at y

the small one (in youth)

its tail

bending in to another

kingdom. I

like all
of it

CA Conrad: Dear Eileen, if you made a kite, which poem would you choose?

Eileen Myles: Itself.