Everything seems whole and completely formed. Like a Hollywood movie, you don’t know what they leave out. It looks like it’s all there on the screen. Charismatic performers, fire, time travel, celebrity, humiliation, glory. Some of them are classics: I have to take a test I have not studied for. Or the house I grew up in has been bulldozed. The dead visit me with notable frequency. Sometimes I am in control and mostly I am not. I am naked and ashamed, but then I realize I am not awake and I am no longer ashamed. But each time it is whole, like a plum you can reach through the screen and touch. It is all there. And in it, no matter where I am or what I am doing, I always have a body. Still, amazingly, I always, always have a body.
3 Questions for Natalie
What was your process for creating this work?
Both of these poems are from my own life—which isn't always the case for me. For "In the Dream," I remember most of my wild dreams when I wake up, so that gave me the images, but the phrase "in the dream" specifically kept popping up when I wrote, so that led me here. I mentioned my dreams that were most frequent, alarming, or just sounded nice in the rhythm of the poem. I let the progression of dreams guide me to a bigger realization. For "Somebody is Waiting," that was a straight account from a brief interaction I had right near my home and in turn an account of my memory replaying it. So the layers of memory build. But I didn't change them upon writing them down; the poem exists as a record.
What is the significance of the form/genre you chose for this work?
First and foremost, this was just the format that felt best for these two poems. The line break is a meaningful space to me, and I wasn't going to add any where it didn't feel right. I also feel like the images and feelings of these poems needed to be close, boxed in together in the space of my mind, perhaps, in that discrete square of the prose poem.
What is the significance of this work to you?
For "In the Dream," part of it is honoring the truly fascinating and weird things my brain generates while I sleep. But the issue of corporeality is something that flows through a lot of my poems and I think it's always interesting and good to not take for granted we are corporeal and the effect of our corporeality on our consciousness, waking and asleep. For "Somebody is Waiting," this is a tribute to extreme ambivalence, if that's possible. That being a woman interacting with men comes with moments you know for sure are good or bad, but others are moments about which you profoundly and sometimes unsettlingly feel two conflicting things, or sometimes can't remember where imagination ends and reality begins. Sometimes I shy away from this ambivalence because it can be misconstrued and weaponized, but it is a great starting place for poetry.
Natalie Korman is a poet, writer, and the author of the microchapbook Heliotropics (dancing girl press, 2017). Her poetry has recently appeared in Sublunary Review, Channel, River River, Recenter Press Poetry Journal, and Vagabond City. An alumna of Barnard College, Natalie lives in California where she enjoys contemplating the poetics of the banana slug.
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