Zyzzyva’s “The Intimacy of Breath” Essay by Tess Taylor

Here is the strange thing: I was already writing poems about the precariousness of California. I’d been writing them for ten years, since I moved back from New York and came back to the East Bay after two decades away. That was 2011. I had just had a baby. At first, it seemed like I was only trying to make sense of the difference between the California I’d grown up in and the California I came back to, but as I wrote, it seemed like I was also trying to make sense of the world, how it had abruptly shifted under our feet, how radically strange it was to be in a place that was at once so prosperous (some of us have clearly won the revolution for expensive cheese) and yet so broken (so many of us have clearly lost the revolution for equity, affordable housing, decent health care, excellent public schools).