Bindings, Nancy Sobanik

Diane Corson, Slipcase for Handmade Accordion Book




I slid into time,
that primordial broth,
skin scrunched,
swaddled in the snug cloth
used to soothe
and regulate
a fretful neonate.

My father carried in his gut
a mountain of rope,
a coiled halyard
twisted into knots.
His fingers bled raw,
but his sail
was never raised.

He spun new ropes
of words from the pith
of uneaten fruits.
You should,
should not.
Not good,
not enough,
not good

I learned to cultivate
lashes into rows,
tend the open furrows,
braid a circlet of thorns

Any magician worth
their salt can tell you
that ropes are tightest
and cut deepest
when strained against.

The trick is
to let go of breath,
become still,
and let the bindings drop.

Nancy Sobanik


Review by Massimo Fantuzzi

Again: escape and escapology, self-preservation, how to let the bindings drop, the seepage to stop, how to sail far and finally further. Stemmed from yet another cumbersome lesson that must make our own, like an inconvenient inheritance to re-claim, and conned into carrying the old burden, we recognize our existence and retrace our past. Emanated from the pith of uneaten fruits, powerful symbolic images and rhythms from a life of labor are tightly tied to soothe and regulate our sensations and to keep us in line. Whatever our fathers taught us, sold us as truth, has now stopped working – if it ever did. Fight it, pull against it, and you’ll bleed. Stop, renounce its needs and necessities, and you’ll be free.


Review by Jared Pearce

The metaphor here is really fine, I think, and I really enjoy the counter-intuitive move that being still against the demons of memory can help in release.

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