I WANT YOUR TAN
by Tracy Dimond
InkPress Productions, 2015
Copies of Tracy Dimond’s I WANT YOUR TAN should replace all of the Cosmopolitan issues stacked and gleaming atop waiting room tables—or perhaps a copy of Dimond’s collection should accompany the magazine. In TAN, published by Ink Press Productions in 2015, Dimond talks teeth, hair, body, nails, fucking, mermaids, unicorns, anus, etc., just like our friendly neighborhood self-hate promoting female readership targeting marketing mags—some of the differences between the publications include the following: 1) Dimond writes poems that question, prod, illuminate, turn upside-down, expand, give rawness to the subject matter and 2) Dimond does not include the fifty-plus bullshit ways to please your man—she does include the fifty-plus ways to think differently “about bodies in public spaces,” as she explains in her Acknowledgements.
These poems are neon, much like the lime that radiates from the front and back covers of her book. (Did I mention the book is handmade? It’s handmade. With glittery twine and silver letterpressed typeface, Goudy Old Style.) However, though you feel like your hair turns to tinsel while reading these poems of energy and image, they are a quiet force. Lines like, “Can I plant synthetic trees every place I wanted to be anonymous?” from AM I EVEN RELEVENT, cause you to halt, pause, consider. Because Dimond uses straightforward, natural syntax and language, the ideas she presents are all the more resounding—you have to pay attention to what she’s offering—these are not the kind of poems you read just for sound and image, although the sounds and images are equally electric: “Are skinned knees worth participation? Take raw knuckles/as art. I’m hanging on to a 1 percent when I’m 99 percent/sure nothing matters,” (from CONSTRUCT). Much like Inception and Interstellar are movies you have to think about abstractly/critically while watching, Dimond’s poems need the same attentions when read—you cannot zone out.
As mentioned, all copies of TAN are handmade. The book is art. Dimond utilizes the backslash as a glyph throughout the collection, which annunciates her aim to explore and expand upon ideas/notions of the body. Also, the titles of each poem are repeated numerous times (varies) at the top of each page, and the last repetition excludes the last word of the title—example: WHAT ABOUT A BODY EXHIBIT / WHAT ABOUT A BODY EXHIBIT / WHAT ABOUT A BODY. Basically, there are two titles per poem, attaching different moods and readings to one poem before it even begins.
Lastly, her “Notes.” Dimond includes a notes section at the end of her book: MY WORK IS MY WORK IS MY WORK IS MY WORK IS. The “Notes” include actual references and allusions as well as pieces of inspiration that act as lines spit out from the poem itself, revealing themselves magnificently and dramatically on these pages as if by choice.
I WANT YOUR TAN would be the perfect accompaniment to Cosmopolitan. As Dimond dedicates at the front of her book, the collection magnifies “the statements that haunt your nights.” All those articles we read, convincing us of our terrible brow lines and inexcusable touching thighs? Dimond has crucified them between the pages of her collection. Buy it, read it.