There is pleasure in a full meal, but there is the acute pleasure of the first bite, that moment when you know there will be delicious mouthful after mouthful going forward. Sometimes when I encounter a poem from a poet without a book, I experience that same anticipation and excitement, that same satisfaction. “How to Deal With Distance” over at Glass: A Journal of Poetry was my first bite from poet Sage, and I am ready with fork in hand.
We can swoon over the images Sage sprinkles throughout the poem: from the “willow groves with tire swings on every branch” to “Skate parks full of boomboxes.” We can admire the beautiful rallying cry of “Don’t stop building, whatever you do, don’t stop.” But, like a good meal itself, it isn’t just about ingredients but preparation, the order of the courses.
Sage fluctuates between a telescopic and microscopic view, beginning high where the “Stars weave shapes and wait for us to find them” and narrowing down to “two kids / with a country between them.” It expands to the willow grove, the skate park where “beautiful girls kick // mad flips,” then shrinks again, becomes personal, where “they’re in our house // saying the sun is dead.” Sage builds this shrinking, expanding universe of a poem and in the end, in this “house of leaves blowing through the city,” they are waiting for us. They “reach for the smoke” and if you want your hunger satiated, if you want to watch the beginning of a galaxy, a poet, reach out and take their hand. Wait for their next poem, and the next, and then, at some delicious point, their book will be ready to be devoured.
Yours in words,