All of the Above
“The poems in All of the Above loosely follow Jim Daniel's definition of ghazals in Outlyer and Ghazels. He writes, 'I have not adhered to the strictness of metrics and structure of the ancientpractitioners, with the exception of using a minimum of five couplets.
The couplets are not related by reason or logic and their only continuityis made by a metaphoric jump.”
“Buddy, he called, buddy. Speech oozed out
his infected eye. I knew the rest – kept walking.
I picked at the scab, but still it quickly healed.
No comfort in old scars.
Don't scuff those new shoes. The old familiar oops.
Stop hurrying and fix me something good.
You can't get a sunburn from a red moon;
nevertheless, don't stay out too long.
No matter how much I shadowbox,
the gravediggers still blow on their hands.”
The ghazels take me in, roll me in flour and pat me flat. Each poem brings me home and I’m immediately reminded of Virgilio's haiku, raw, sensitive and so so contemporary:
“The thermometer on the porch fell
the day they came to kick my brother's ass.
I never showed up behind the school
where Luckman waited with his friends.
Norman's boots sang down the hall,
a song memorized by Chilton's face.
A rose broke out above one eye, then his nose,
his lips, a bouquet I walked away from.
Kill-the-guy-with-the-ball was our favorite game.
Any ball would do.”
Now, this is what i'm talking about; poems that are not self-conscious, not revised to death (burnt). The whole book satisfies visually, the tactile paper, the intelligent design, and the clarity,
“sometimes I fall in love just watching someone chew gum.”
“My kite is loose. I chase a ball of string
unraveling in the street.
Village of the Damned was the first
movie I saw with a girl.
By closing my bedroom door until it clicked,
I kept my sick grandmother alive for years.
I once thought I had a lot of power
but it was only a handful of red kisses.
There's only one set of rules:
Hold on. Let go.”
All of the Above, by Jim Daniels, is the perfect book to give to any one you care about. This book is a 'keeper'.
Wilderness House Literary Review
Ibbetson Street Press