Holding Not Having, by Robin Messing
“Imagine your limp is the truth / trying to sing. // Imagine that fear is the wilderness / that knows all your beautiful names.” Holding Not Having is novelist and Rough Magic singer Robin Messing’s tour-de-force poem cycle of loss and healing.
It was self exile, both feet hidden under suitcases. It was darkness and the sound of sticks rubbing for fire. It was wilderness, not a graveyard, the longing for a kiss in a dream.
The seven-page eponymous opening poem in Robin Messing’s gentle and fierce new collection is an elegaic walk across a dreamscape of family, love, and loss, where you find
a naked sister leaking perfume, her sweetness a funeral, her songs like dress-up with spiky high heels. You hold tightly knowing her arms are broken, her dress smudged with lipstick, her will singular, horrifying, her beauty one day to be mourned.