Every kid in every grown-up’s body loves a snow day. We can’t blame them. Their thirteen years of schooling for nine grueling months annually conditioned them. The nights in which snow falls and falls, dropping silent bombs on rooftop and roadway, the children wake within our dreams and wait for us to pad to windows and see how bad it has gotten out there. A glance out at the land-, suburbia- or cityscape reveals a possible reprieve from adult routine, perhaps a reason not to drive into work, or at least to take a pause before the expansive fractal light. The kid in you, rising up on seasonal joy, awaits your decision.
In this recording of Gina Myers’ “Snow Day”, which first appeared in the inaugural issue of Bear Review, and which appears in her newest collection Some of the Times (Barrelhouse, 2020), we hear Myers enter the reflective space of her poem-making, a perspective that looks in and out at remembered moments from July to late January, after asking her inner kid to stay quiet so she can see this fractalization more clearly: “Easily distracted / by the diamonds / in the floor tiles / this winter day / everything has come to a standstill…”. And “I can forget / for a while the rent check’s due.” From this point of focus, she can appreciate her life, even if only briefly, these days. As we listen, we hear how she might have put the poem together, without any pretension or poetry effects, simply one image put into words, phrases and clauses and spoken to us grownups. As I listen and see Myers’ spoken pictures, ones that seem she’s brought out from a darkroom, the kid inside imagines she had clipped them along the walls of her mind’s eye to consider, to select, for these lines. What simple magic is a poem unmarred by poetics or what’s fashionable right now, I think today, as I look out over the past year’s poem drafts and those I hope I’ll write in the coming months. This year, I want to write more like this, I think while listening. Toward the end of Myers’ poem, though, she almost anticipates the reader’s impressionability and desire to resolve. Her tonal shift suggests what we all know at the end of the day: the snow’s magical pause, like the one on New Years crystalizing our days, is only temporary. In the final lines she heeds James Schuyler’s sober warning from his poem “Empathy & The New Year”: “It’s best / not to flatter the new year… / Better to call it Mutt”.
- Marcus Myers