Injecting Dreams into Cows by Jessy Randall
Jessy Randall’s poems are wholly modern: smart, funny, weird, and friendly. The first poem in this collection, a jokey discourse on metaphor, ends “This poem is like a pillow. I hit you with it.” And indeed, all of Randall’s poems pack a comfy punch, the kind of nudge you might get from a friend who’s a little exasperated with you at the moment but always adores you.
Randall writes about robots, love, friendship, video games, Muppets, motherhood, Pippi Longstocking, and the peculiar seductiveness of old Fisher-Price wooden people on Ebay (“Rare Blue Mad Boy”). There’s danger and sadness alongside sweetness and fun, with an awe at the power of language underpinning everything.
Randall is partial to the “found poem” and finds her texts in places as unlikely as an airport employee”s patter (“I Am Boarding You at This Time”) or a children’s ballet class (“Ballerinas Do Not Fall on the Floor”), pointing out the poetry of our everyday lives.
Even those who think they don’t like poetry may enjoy Randall’s short, deceptively easy poems, bite-size mouthfuls of surprising lyricism, like her description of a game of “Mother, May I?”: “I’m moving toward you in slow motion all the time.” In “Tape,” for example, the “little teeth of the dispenser / nibble” the speaker’s fingers “like a lover.” In “The Caveman and the Spacewoman” a dinnertime conversation shows the inevitable gulf between a husband and wife.
Sometimes sexy and often funny (in “Phone Sex with You” the speaker vamps in a poncho with a Velcro closure), strange and yet familiar, the poems in Injecting Dreams into Cows will leave you “gasping with delight and deliciousness” like the cantaloupe of “Your Brain.”