To her who travels – sleep
To the wayfarer – the way
Remember! – Forget.

– Marina Tsvetaeva

That’s the motto preceding Ana BožicevicBowling‘s Document,


a little chapbook that came out in 2007. It’s been reviewed quite a lot, so I’ll stick to random reflections. It’s just that I keep staring at it because it lives on a closet right next to my computer (and I just realize while typing, the tray where I keep my passports).


They are poems that seem to create a world of their own, in which innumerable connections are made that might otherwise seem odd. Now that nearly sounds like some kind of textbook definition of poetry in general. Perhaps one difference with a general literary kind of ‘making strange’ is that the poems in Document somehow take this one notch further, nearly in a pataphysical sense of skipping one step to connect things that otherwise seem unrelated. Then ‘I write a letter in your handwriting’, for example, feels as if a story is unfolding as you read it.

‘Somewhere a pillowcase.

Somewhere I allow

My head

Out of the hat, & the oval mother

The incontinent father

Walk down the brim.

Their sorrowful valises

& tiny centurions march

down my collarbone

into one open palm.’

Like a little dark-red carpet, magic, but soft and warm. But at the same time its objects and people are popping out of each other all over the place. Child out of mother and vice versa. Pillow, hat, head, child, parents, palm. All the elements in this poem and others in Document seem to form the cloud of an idea that can be rearranged, like a garden and snow in a snow globe.


A multiplicity of things connected through the intensity of sensation, “a voice joins in / from each-standing-thing.”

In ‘Rhode Island’ this cloud is formed by, acorn, button, star, traveller, (and once again family from hat)..

‘From water and wood

You build on the jetty
A shrine, and place

1.    an acorn
2.    a button

on the salt-worn planks.

(O traveller. Grey star.

From your hat, when you upend it,
your small family upturn their faces.)

And morningly
Nebulae, red-throated
Typestrokes of

visit the shrine

(to view the film
of a coat, departing).’

And what / who is in charge of the rearranging of these poem snow globes? :

ether, fierce innocence, apostrophe, melancholy, “— The hurry to embrace”, ‘neutral’ observations of a strange and wonderful glowing world, movements toward something that was never there, the doubling back to try “describe this solitude. ‘Like / the emptiness of his pockets.’”, “a / nightingale, breaking the wall / of sound”.

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