Five Oaks Press: Drugstore Blue (102 pages, ISBN 9781944355340 $16)
Praise for Drugstore Blue:
“In Drugstore Blue, Susana H. Case’s speaker is a femme fatale in serious eyeshadow: ‘You need me / like a tongue needs a second / mouth.’ That’s the sound of her craft, one of her dart-like declarations, hitting its mark. Rarely has makeup, and the color blue, in particular, come alive on the page like this: ‘Blue all the way to the brow, an eyelid / tin-glazed, / underglazed, / sancai lead glazed, / oxide blue glazed, / a glaze of blue not born of the blues, but the antidote, / spring blue, felice blue, / green dragon constellation blue, / occult knowledge blue,the eye of God.’ Need I say more? Her poetry reads like a graphic novel, a romp, a road-trip in a borrowed car, speeding with a wild child at the wheel. Vivid, direct, episodic, and utterly believable, Case’s tropes make excellent landings. From Morandi to Velvet Elvis, from Marrakech to Cartagena, eros is never far off, and her text glitters on the page in a poetry of great precision.” – Elaine Sexton, author of Causeway and Prospect/Refuge
“Susana H. Case’s Drugstore Blue offers the edgy yet compassionate and sometimes racy odyssey of a woman coming of age. The poems, wonderfully complex both in their craft as well as their emotional depth, often widen into larger mythological and historical realms. Case’s fine ear and wit are deeply satisfying.” – Sally Bliumis-Dunn, author of Second Skin and Echolocation
“Susana H. Case dedicates Drugstore Blue to her maternal grandmother who, ‘In her youth, having never seen a ship…considered crossing an ocean and thought, Yes, I can do that.’ Case clearly inherited her grandmother’s courage and curiosity. The speaker in these poems explores terrain both internal and external—from callow youth to vibrant maturity, from Bushwick to Zimbabwe. More seeker than tourist, she keeps her eyes wide open and invites her reader along for the adventure, forcing us to see what goes on in the world we inhabit, even if it does ‘cause inconveniences, / like thinking.’” – Grace Bauer, author of The Women at the Well and MEAN/TIME.
The Rare Blue
It was the year of blue eyeshadow
stolen from drugstore displays, tubes
stuck in the space
between adolescent padded breasts.
Blue was a carapace, between violet and sage,
eyelids the color of the deep violent sea,
hue the infinity of Vishnu,
sky figure, delft jar glazed to look like porcelain,
King Tut’s stained eyebrows
on his funeral mask,
the mask of my face as I walked from the store,
my crew of girls casual behind me.
We never got caught and never stole
from small stores. The chain stores
could sacrifice shadow the color of
woad and indigo,
Blue all the way to the brow, an eyelid
sancai lead glazed,
oxide blue glazed,
a glaze of blue not born of the blues, but the antidote,
spring blue, felice blue,
green dragon constellation blue,
occult knowledge blue,
the eye of God.
We were warriors protected by blue. To the bruise
of blue, we caked on black liner, stacked
layers of mascara, and strutted forth
to the bowling alley, Cameo Lanes,
to Eddie’s Sweet Shop—into the fray.