"Counter-Amores I.2". "Proof". Than brandished fire yet will I prove more strong - I burn unshaken, burn and die day-long. The hooked fish, torn, must learn to slip the bait Teasing the hook let go before too late. Not with you, but against you, love, I bruise My mouth, manage myself such pain I choose. I will this torment as I can't will love From you or me - what can a body prove? Though neither yours nor love's, still I'm a slave. Unite me from myself - I'm yours to have. Jennifer Clarvoe's second book, "Counter-Amores", wrestles with and against love. The poems in the title series talk back to Ovid's "Amores", and, in talking back, take charge, take delight, and take revenge. They suggest that we discover what we love by fighting, by bringing our angry, hungry, imperfect selves into the battle. Like a man who shouts for the echo back from a cliff, or the scientist who teaches her parrot to say, "I love you," or the philosopher who wonders what it is like to be a bat, or Temple Grandin's lucid imaginings of the last moments of cattle destined for slaughter, the speakers in these poems seek to find themselves in relation to an ever-widening circle of unknowable others.
Yearning for "the sweet cool hum of fridge and fluorescent that sang 'home,'" we're as likely to find "fifty-seven clicks and flickering channels pitched to the galaxy." Song itself becomes a site for gorgeous struggle, just as bella means both "beautiful" and "wars."