Norma Cole — Do the Monkey

“In Do the Monkey Norma Cole celebrates a vibrant life of the mind and body. The Olympics come up, along with other sports, and it turns out that we citizens of ordinary life are the true Olympians. This quotidian heroism is suggested by lines from “HEAVY LIFTING,” — “At eight I was brilliant with my body … For years I‘ve watched the corner for signs/These days/I stop”. These lines also bring up the signs (the sign) that seem to be the double of the monkey (signe in French) of the title. The poem “IN MEMORIAM JACQUES DERRIDA says it all: “Then his/signature will have taken place. //His signature has taken place./Monkeys—love ‘em or leave ‘em.” So we arrive at a consideration of death, time, the body, signification and patriotism, guided light-heatedly by one who has been there and back. “Before the mind catches up/the body’s been and gone” serves as the epigraph of the book and is part of “THE BODY IS SOFT.” We are reminded by this passage of how life actually works, as well as of how we think and speak about it. For the reader, in each reading, the book becomes that moment when things and language fall together with oneself. It is a great dance.”
–Laura Moriarty

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