With the silent saga of Voyagers I and II well beyond radio reach, one could wonder what an intelligent extraterrestrial species would make of the on-board greeting from earth with its compendious cacophony of earth-based sounds. A well-intentioned dog's breakfast of auditory curiousities? A sound-collage of a species desperate to communicate? A melange of unintelligible squeaks and garbling that would be grievously mistaken as a declaration of war?
Amanda Earl departs on an intrepid journey away from her devoted Ottawa regionalism apparently redressing what the onboard greeting on Voyager 2 forgot. The delicately visceral quality of this long sequence poem opens upon what would first register for a cosmic visitor: a pulsating energy flickering in a remote pocket of the universe. From here, Earl twists and imbricates themes of language and light into a kind of golden poetic braid. Earl finesses each line so that it is less broken than tapered and frayed. From light and the ocular delights, Earl moves along her corporeal register into the domain of liquidity, resolving these themes in darkness and silence. The body as diluvian entity frees the subject from the noun-fixity of gravid concepts, giving over Being to that aleatory movement of the verb:
for those whom the first is water
what they know they know from swimming & from rain
this is how to learn to continue
this is how to find quench drip
lips of downpour of throat & teaches touch
the sounds of
falling heavy in the body a flood.
At times, this poem reads as an isolated radio whisper, crackling and staccato in its utterances, while at other times it reads as a litany of an undiscovered body. Its questing voice and earnest exploration makes the poem a curiously welcome complement to Jason Camlot's The Debaucher. The sustainability of Earl's poetic greeting is seemingly almost meant to be sung, making Welcome to Earth: poem for Alien(s) an alternative psalm for a choir of a space-alien future-fantastic.