by AnnMarie Eldon
Second Place, January 2007
Judged by Pascale Petit

He drove his engine into me. The fuel was humus, jasmine
juice and lapis pigment. My aorta the combustion
chamber. His piston upstroke was practised not in the
street outside because each time I made him up in a dress
and rouge with Rage Red lipstick around his nipples. He
therefore had taken it apart and put it together again and
again behind closed curtains but with due regard for oil
and grease stains. In the confined space his exhaust spin
gases were risen in the massed morning when rooks should
have been. He prises something jelly-like between thumb
and forefinger. Switches on. Leaves one open kiss to balm
my bitten bloodying auricular helix. Burns fuel-air iron.
One closed kiss to damn revolutions amongst tics who knew
vibrations when they fouled the thudderless earth. And
hackles trumpet bell-shaped valves. And camshaft a poison
promise creeping its oval protrusions. Cam rotors careless
as a strumpet’s petticoats. Labia red ramsails in a
rotational sunset. Talked me up crankshaft cranky. Valve
springs snapped into the open position. All position. All
pushrod hierarchy. And intermittent male logic which paled
the toothed gear phenomena. Afterwards there would be
empty rocker arms, the oscillating parts a’fire and a too
obvious cylinder head. My ghostpenis on my timing belt his
intake legacy. The colliding masses a droolseep upon carpet
become road. The internal a sprainblue bruise. Would display
mileage despondency. Would walk away. He drove his engine
into me. It is still. Still here today.

"Brrmm" reminds me of Marcel Duchamp's "The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even." In this experimental prose poem a partner is encountered as an engine. The couple become a human/machine hybrid. The language used to describe this metamorphosis is so dense and baroque that the paragraph resembles an assemblage sculpture, all mechanical parts, jasmine juice and lapis pigment. This piece, with its playful agglomeration of textures, like Duchamp's "Large Glass," is both a love machine and a machine of suffering. Despite the surreal construct I believe that I'm reading about real people and real experience. It is indeed "the unexpected meeting, on a dissection table, of a sewing machine and an umbrella," the tender, brutal meeting of one human with another. --Pascale Petit