A collaboration between poet Lillian-Yvonne Bertram and artist Dina Chang, Chang’s visuals provide a stunning photographic take on Bertram’s poem “The Body Deformed by Tidal Forces.” The poem is a muscular lyrical meditation on the physics of tidal forces that simultaneously create solidity and changes of season through rotation and gravitational push/pull and threaten destruction when the same forces of these rotating celestial bodies are brought into too close a contact to sustain their individual integrities. The same phenomenon, Bertram suggests, literally and figuratively applies to earth-bound human bodies and the ways people too are bound to an ungodly planet spinning ferociously through the cosmos.
Lillian-Yvonne Bertram x Dina Chang
The Body Deformed by Tidal Forces
Darkness still here, hunkered against the trees.
Spring so uneasy this year.
No matter morning’s boundary culling our bodies,
another romantic passage assaults us!
O limp future centered on this body!
In the model solar system, planets suspend & twirl
as if from a spider’s whirl.
The quantum in backpedal, in decline, spring so un-
gripping this year. Bored mouth. Bored fingers.
The umpteenth day/night running like such—
truly, truly—this troubling with physics!
Not still winter, not yet anything.
O thuggish awakening.
All planets but this one were named after gods.