Elliott Colla’s ‘We Are All Things’ provides plenty of food for thought

We Are All Things

Chapbook, Elliott Colla (text), Ganzeer (illustration), 48 pgs, Radix Media, radixmedia.org, $12 USD

Some walls have ears. The four in this prose poem — which takes place in a solitary room in Cairo — each have a voice as well. “I have never been in another room,” the west wall murmurs.

This is Hitchcock’s Rear Window turned inward and played in reverse. No longer inanimate objects tell the story and build an epilogue: a relationship ends, a woman (“the other body that was just there”) leaves, the “naked man, now crying on the bed” is left to wallow, barely afforded human traits. “I am not a thing,” the woman states as she wraps up her departure speech. The rug, which “feels… the walking out,” disagrees. “We are all things,” it whispers in consolation.

The variety of avenues Elliot Colla pursues in playing with this chapbook’s title provide plenty of food for thought. The accompanying illustrations — by Egyptian artist Ganzeer — demonstrate a breadth of skill, alternating between rigid and fluid, precise and abstract. Their combination was a well orchestrated marriage.