In the preface to The Letter All Your Friends Have Written You, Caits Meissner and Tishon impart to us that they have only been friends for five years, but their poems speak to one another in an older and more establishedÂ existence. Â This is a dual manuscript, a collection of poems by both poets written in distinct and complimentary voices. Â And it’s those voices that really round out this collection. Â Like two birds in flight, their patterns are varied, their wingspans diverse, yet the tempo between these two poets is an opera, formed from contrasting sounds, blended together to make whole the orchestra of shared experiences.
At times these poems are fraught with sadness, Meissner relates the insecurity so often associated with up adolescence in First Loves:
My face in the mirror has a yellow sheen and I pull fat away from my body with my fingers – just two of the reasons I am sure no breathing man could love me.Â “I will not leave you,” you seem to say, just by standing next to me.Â In this way perhaps we are married.Â perhaps I wasn’t so wrong after all.
Tishon, meanwhile, expresses the same sentiment in Stupid, yet the voice is somewhat harder:
my mother was so upset
and for the first time
she called me stupid
and from that moment
on I hated replacing the
water in the tank
and one by one all the
goldfish died and
I didn’t care.
The poems in this book come of age with the poets, confusing desire with love, need with want, fame with the NBA, but it is the last part, the final quarter of this book that speaks to me so deeply, that moves me so truly, that during my first read through, I had to put it down and walk away.Â I had to catch breaths in the pocket of the ladies room at work, before I could come back to these words and allow myself to read them again.Â Because this final section, the last sliver of beauty, is about love and loving and lovers and being loved and wanting love and finding love and losing love and trusting love.
In How I Learned to Trust the Water, Meissner writes:
there is nothing left to say
our mouths two sorry instruments
sticky keys, no strings
lay beside me, i will show you a field
my heart, the expanse between mountains
Tishon reacts with Oh Lately It’s So Quiet:
there is only silence and time
it is in the glow of things
the plasmatic one-sided mirrors
that help us fumble quietly
cushioned by pillows
There is something for everyone in this collection. Â Tishon and Caits are individuals, and their poems are living, breathing representations of that fact.Â Yet, the melody they create when fused together, is your childhood, your adolescence, your early twenties, your failed relationships, your personal shortcomings… they become every experience that has shaped you into who you are.Â Tishon and Caits are your friends, my friends, our friends, and this is a letter I’m so thrilled to have received.
Amye Archer wuz here.