Sometimes you think your own mom
didn’t even want to have you but then
what does that matter, the want to be wanted
because you don’t even know what you want
anyway, so how could you expect anyone
else to know what you do not?
– from “Ode to Meatwad”
When you are the you that you don’t know, or want, or identify with, or allow others to see, then “everything you know is dead.” Joanna Valente’s newest chapbook, No(Body) (Madhouse Press), is a study in self-discovery within the guise of self and character and cartoon, and how they all relate to our attempt at loving ourselves in spite of everyone around us. It’s the fun and hope beyond the despair of being the only one amongst a party-room of people.
It’s the mirror as a reflection of who you think they want – the makeup, the high heels – but really it’s the only way to be seen. No(Body) asks you to question the idea of being capable within the moment. It’s the attempt to be Beyonce, or not death.
More than anything it’s telling yourself that “it’s OK, that as much as you / love her, she has to get to being alone.