by Leah Noble Davidson
Trade Paper; 120 pages; 5-1/4″ x 8″
Conventional wisdom holds that art and science are mutually exclusive.
Leah Noble Davidson disagrees. Consider the laboratory of the human endeavor: The absolute magnitude of love. The combustion of passion. The gravity of pain.
Davidson guides us through the physics of us and introduces a breakthrough theory: Poetry in motion.
Poetic Scientifica is at once urgent and gorgeous and brutal. Davidson catalyzes cognitive and behavioral psychology, visual culture, and linguistics to remind us that science, like life, is a sequence of experiences that result in deeper understanding of our own stories.
Call it a book; Davidson wrote an experiment.
Selections from Poetic Scientifica
The depression begins with you fingering hand towels you can’t afford in a store you’ll never remember the name of because you’re consumed with how they remind you of the ones you dried the dishes with when you quit working to stay home with the baby while he started his career at the job that you got for him so he wouldn’t have to work nights at the bookstore, pretended to be him, wrote the résumé and answered the emails. You researched how to ace an interview, picked out and ironed his clothes.
He could buy you these towels if you hadn’t left because he threw you across the kitchen floor, told you how much you owed him, but that money is for flowers now, for a woman much prettier than you, someone he’s learned to be thankful for.
We were admired by only each other.
Harold the Zombie is picking his wounds again—
the moon must feel as gray and distant.
Jennifer asks him if he feels like
a pitted olive cheese. “No,
Harold wants to be a vegan, wants
to quit smoking, and learn Pilates. He wants to
watch less TV, but it keeps him off the streets,
out of people’s heads,
out of his own head,
keeps him from thinking about
his abandoned strawberry heart
all rotted in a Safeway bag
still hugging the curb of an L.A. street, and
inching with the wind between
highway static and beautiful buildings that broil
in Artemis poses.
Harold keeps his keys in the space
where his heart is gone,
and he likes the china clang they make
in his chest when he sings to his dead heart.
On those days, his head
is a pop song, and his body is a boom box.
On those days, he curls his heels in broken
strides that shuffle unnatural but loving beats;
Harold wants to buy that poor heart some
Mylar balloons and candles.
He wants it to know that he’s coming back for it
Jennifer holds her hand over that hole when
he makes love to her, holding the keys
in the place where his heart used to be,
watches them shine like a trophy.
Sometimes she gets out her thread and webs
his keys in place like a San Francisco
There are no self-help books for
falling in love with the dead
so the two of them stay up all night
peeling over Harold’s losses:
Jennifer is buying Velcro;
Harold is learning French—
he loves telling her romantic-sounding
things she can’t understand.
In French, he confesses, I used
the last of the toilet paper.
“Nous sont faibles sur le papier hygiénique.”
In French, he confesses, Sometimes
I fantasize about your mother’s brains.
“Parfois je fantasize de votre mère du cerveau.”
He confesses, “S’il vous plaît, de mon amour,
permettez-moi en outre automne.”
Please, my love, let me fall apart.