The Hello Delay asks what happens around the saying of a thing and the receiving. Inside and outside of our daily communications, there are events, there are silences, déjà-vus, and intentions. These poems question the determined nature of our relationships to one another: What if this territory isn’t familiar after all?
I Will Whisper
it to you so that someone else may hear it. whether or not it’s heard by you, whether or not I hear it myself—that it is heard by a stranger.
stranger and stranger. get out the fires and fire hoses, put away the stars. daybreak breaks into noon breaks into after, and after is a song, and singing makes you calmer. that’s okay but what are they saying down the street and lost on you, lost on you, lost on you.
In this human ecology, language is king. In this book, familiarity resides in memory or song, but perhaps nothing is so familiar as the experience of the present. What is it then to be present, when meaning persists among us? We are more than what we say and what we think, but these words are the lucite passages we travel to that aggregate.
In this place where understanding means being wrong together or just pretending to be right, Choffel’s poems honor the grandeur, the danger, and the mediocrity in manifesting what we make up as we go along. The Hello Delay might be experimental, but it is mostly experiential. It calls us out not to see how we will answer but to linger in the gaps of our refrain.