Our absolute truth hangs
inside the hollow gut of a dying tree;
We hold the woodman’s heavy axe
in one hand – lung of the world in the other;
sharpening the blunt silver blade
squeezing the air for atmosphere
playing god for a brief moment
our claws hang on the last weakened thread.
— from “YGGDRASIL”
If for the snap of a finger you could play God, what would you do? What type of legacy would you want to leave in your wake? If you could reshape history, would you stay woodworm, or would you scrape, claw, stab, and squeeze your way to the top? In a world where truths are subjective, and history an ever-changing landscape, Woodworm (Hedgehog Press), Matt Duggan’s newest collection, implores us to look at society, and poke holes in the very foundation of its facade.
It’s not fearing “the cuts and breakage of the flight/fall / It’s what I can’t see beneath the surface / that has me suspended between two worlds.” It’s the erosion, the splintering, the woodworm decay that makes us uncomfortable for what we might see when we fall into the open space. Are we the decay or the new life? How can you tell? Does it matter?
In a world built on TV appearances, prepared statements, misguided syntax, and twitter-rants, Duggan wants us to reach for paradise – at least some semblance of paradise – even if “man-made paradise, now deranged and unhinged.”