R. Erica Doyle Responds to Camille Roy’s Sherwood Forest

You had me at rosy medallions.  Somehow the Book-of-the-Month club sent me Deep Down and I was hooked. I was pulling my scam of logging different names to get free books—it was the 90s and though I had three jobs I could barely pay my rent. But my girlfriend was insane and we were closeted and books were my only fix.  I kept rubbing at that improbable language I’d never seen before, in its queerness, in its headlong dashings, like when the fog on the glass is the nature of a particular reflection.  It’s not going to get any clearer, you dolt.  I think that’s where the affair began.  It continued in the New Fuck You when I met a hot Salvadoran girl who was in it. I really wanted to fuck her, but I read the book instead. And there you were again.  I drooled a little in the corner of my mouth, sucked it back in. Could I live with what these words collapsed in me. We were acting up then, queering the nation and avenging the lesbians, remember?  We were third waving it and de-sodomizing the laws. This was that time.  We were warring over sex, which kind, what implement; some of us were outlawing porn, some of us were making it, and I was very focused on writing poems and getting laid.


I love the cloud
Around speech
We call the body…
House of sensation.
Built crud wrapper. (p.74)


Crud. Dazzle, I have a little crush. My object of desire.

Poems dig up solids.
or simply don’t
die after vomiting blood. (p. 54)


There are a series of Dear Lucy letters in Sherwood Forest that drive me mad with jealousy.  When I met you, finally, you read in the dark dark womb of a gentrified white bar and I knew you were singing to me through your sweater, the layers of fabric everyone wears from the Bay. I’ve never met anyone from there who could wear only one shirt at a time. I didn’t care.  Did you know we have a little brain on our hearts? A gangle of neurons that live their own minds? Mine clenched at the first green leaflet. I’ve populated my dreams with a distaff Dorothy, rowed through orchards, lain in a diner and “scraped the inside of my cunt until I came.” In a productive eschewing of martyrdom, normal people populate and are not beneath notice.  You know that art comes from a South Side jazz of engagement, and arguing against comfort as the Princess turns into a prince to embrace the witch.  Here is an idea:


That sentence
is a sort of dildo
language for me permeable to loss
as I have lost one (language) (at least)
I skim the surface of that absence of memory.
I think it makes my usage more violent.
So, my exile is limited in scope.
So my tongue, so my lips
Placed with the luggage. (p. 47)


My beloved! This is what I have been trying to tell them all along. That while I was turning my hand inside her, and she turned to hir, and they came up my arm, shivering, I threw my skin across the sky and it burned. That words I found like a remnant of the Upper Paleolithic. Near the sea on Cape Agulhas where the oceans kiss, petroglyphs stare from the cliffs. You might think I am making this up but I can’t have walked around with this old language for days and still gotten up angry.  I have this hope now.  That if I were curled up in the piney woods, you’d find me.  Disengaged from the prattling.  Fingers dig into my flesh and the pages flutter into the sun, tenderly.


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One Response to R. Erica Doyle Responds to Camille Roy’s Sherwood Forest

  1. That’s a damn good long poem in itself. OK. Off to find *Sherwood Forest*.

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