||turkey Buzzard Press
The poetry of David E. Patton
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Constance Stadler, David E. Patton, review
The Trinity, for David E. Patton, is not some doctrinal construct, it is wholly interior: the `sacred `body, soul, mind' of the self. As he tells us at the very onset of our immersion, there is another layer of meaning where narcissism, grandiosity, and ego hold sway, thus subverting an engaged, fully developed human being.
`Human being' is a pivotal concept in Patton's work. Now while that might seem to be a statement applicable to any book of poetry, that simply is not the case. In fact, it is put forth here, that the way in which Patton examines conscience of a single soul as well as the way he engages with the human condition, truly distinguishes his art.
There are several topics that are explored within this volume that fall under this seminal concept. One is the state of race relations in 21st century America. Patton is a black man, he speaks with a personal voice as in One Black Man's Heart is Worthy:
A black man's heart is telling time toward morality that never waits for the right moment to drum the last beauty of a heartbeat. … In the heat of a segregated heart the Godhead of our barbarism with its cold talent of icy intellectual control, thematic and heroic to know the way that the dead Gods go, imposes its will on the emotional freedom of the bold, composed of the artful and the arbitrary taught by the old who know that the fall from grace is never fully told.
In fluid prosodic words, Patton confronts us with not just our hypocrisies but the consequences of prejudiced beliefs for every member of society.
In Angels are Painting Poems, he speaks of his lived reality, his eviscerations, in words that describe horrors with stilling beauty.
Deep within my bones is a soul that knows their secrets, this knowledge is to keep me wrapped against the cold demons that would engulf would enfold would enrich my knowledge of war that is kept just beneath the breath of my dark brown stark skin.
Their master is my soul throbbing like a wounded half-uttered sound that possesses the talent of the silent wisdom foretold by the Gods who on Sunday morning unfold by the grace of the cross used as a licking stick to whip the faithful into ship-sharp shared shape.
One poem, On Jury Duty, is to be celebrated not only for its gifted execution, but for the seminal concept behind the creation of the work. Spring is put on trial for the crime of promising rebirth; a rebirth that, he argues, cannot be realized.
The tree drops its pink petals in a sweet smelling show of gravity. I am a juror in the case against the holy canonical hour of spring.
The prosecutor of answers weeps vowels and strangled consonants while spring is left to plead its case with the evidence of the Purple Martins' return to the crime laden streets of my dear lady St. Louis.
The sun is the judge while the wind blows its argument into a crack in the sky and the blacks in orange jump suits following in a row are held prisoner by a chain of dandelions strung around their ankles and handcuff's of pigeon's feathers around their wrists, Lady Justice who weeps behind her rag, the darkness she sees, the darkness of their skin hoping to win their freedom from the slavery of a straight haired of the so-so city of Americus where we are told what to believe in our busy baring buying of beer and bratwurst.
Another theme that inspires this deeply spiritual writer is Man's violation of the sanctified harmony of the cosmos. This is seen in full in The Cat's Curfew is Caught Like a Mouse:
The wistful whispers of the moon hidden behind clouds that reflect the yellow light of street lamps humming their electric refrain above cars parked curbside for the night, clouds that blink in a far, far away heaven of the strict samurai of the spacious sky.
All in all the entire world goes about its singular duty of feeding itself without the production of waste, man alone is the wasteful one in fat belly cities and the far flung fields of wheat, soy and corn. We fill the earth with things made by our hands, a wasteful creature is God-made man but, we are doing as only we can as human within our skin.
Perhaps, it is when wholly in the realm of the spiritual that the beauty of this poet's words almost consumes the reader.
I am the lover of a mosquito's breath smelling of sweet blood. I am the lover of a letter from the global God's glory written in leaves pasted with the rankest rain running on the dark hair's hugging of the song of my skin. I am the lover of the individuality of trees.
I have washed away my sins in the muck of the Mississippi and it turned the blown brown river a sycamore's bark green that fed the fishes and fulfilled their needs to feed; fat bellied they cried out to the moon's silver stolen reflection riding on the dangerous dark green grime of the dangerous flow of the warm weight of willing water.
On the back cover of The Trinity is a black and white photo of Patton in the nude on one bended knee. His two arms rest on the knee cap of his other leg, the back of his palms frame his face as an ancient Oriental fan, he looks to be in a state of profound contemplation and reverence. Only such a man could write this book.
The Trinity is available from Turkey Buzzard Press or by contacting the author.
Posted by Nobius at 8: 29 AM
Labels: Constance Stadler, David E. Patton, review
Poetry Book Review:
Ezra Pound would be proud of David e. Patton. His voice is unique and not easily cloned. If there is a contemporary poet with a knack for making it new, David e. Patton is the one and his latest chapbook, The Trinity: poetry and art, proves it.
Throughout The Trinity: poetry and art one can see the influence of Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, and a bit of Amiri Baraka. Though there are as many classic influences as well (Blake comes to mind) . Aside from his abundance of alliteration, which I think he overplays, and Patton's garrulity, there isn't much not to like about The Trinity: poetry and art. Its reverbs of jazz, hip-hip, and American surrealism rock like Jimi Hendrix playing the National Anthem with his teeth. If there is a Devil, he lives in David e. Patton's brain.
The Trinity: poetry and art, first and foremost, is a worship of self. From his introduction, Patton says:
Body, soul, and mind, the trinity of the self. The three-fold holy entries submitted for the judgment of others, of whom we are, in the personal myth that we call our memories held tight in our space in the world, our skin taking up space in nature: my one holy and honored God glorious and grand. The narcissistic self, the grandiose self and the admired self of which we are made deep in the common thickness of our bones, we are all three. We are all the trinity of the self kept deep within our needs to breathe and feed and breed.
Fourteen poems and 11 accompanying artworks, all by David e. Patton, fill 40 pages of fire. The titles of the poems in The Trinity: poetry and art say as much about Patton's creative work ethic as any of the lines themselves:
Bully Birds Shy Away From Me
One Black Man's Heart is Worthy
The Universe of the Body
The Cat's Curfew is Caught Like a Mouse
Angels Are Painting Poems
Written Among the Gods in the City of the Dead
I Hid the Wind in the Weeping Water's Face
On Jury Duty
I'm Frightened By The Tone Of This Poem
Let Me Be The Bard of Neutral Nature
The American Killer
Jazz Where As!
Patton's shining attribute is his uncanny ability to turn a phrase. He often uses more adjectives than necessary, but the musical quality of his lines are such that this rarely detracts. It is most ostentatious when he couples the device with hyper-alliteration. When he uses the elements in moderation he shines like the North Star. His delicate taste for the sound of words is a fitting compliment to his imagination and it's easy to forgive him his weaknesses, one of which is a lack of versatility - but with his strengths it's like criticizing Superman for an allergic reaction to Kryptonite.
While none of Patton's poems fall below average as a whole, he does have some lines, thankfully not often, that could use some tweaking. His penchant for redundancy is sometimes nerve wracking, but he recovers quickly and moves on to more brilliance.
The best poems in The Trinity: poetry and art are toward the back of the chapbook. 'I'm Frightened by the Tone of this Poem' relies on a Whitmanesque anaphora with surprising twists. 'Let Me Be The Bard of Neutral Nature' contains some beautiful lines and a climactic ending. 'The American Killer' ironically captures the spirit of American thirst for blood and its myriad incarnations; raspy and full of historic allusion, it too ends with a bang. 'Jazz Where As! ', one of the shortest poems in The Trinity: poetry and art at 58 long lines harking back to the Beats, carries the spirit of St. Louis where Patton is from and the historic influence of an American genre of music, a fitting tribute to some of the best musicians of the 20th century.
The poem is too long to print in full, but enjoy these lines from 'I'm Frightened by the Tone of this Poem'. They truly illustrate the rich imagination and rhythmic voice of David e. Patton:
I'm frightened by a teaspoon of holy water
I'm frightened by the strings of the violin
I'm frightened by the birth of my darkest brother
I'm frightened by the death of my red headed lover
I'm frightened by the deep blue bluntness of a thin bold bent darkness
I'm frightened by the orders of marching men
I'm frightened by what I must witness
I'm frightened to let the Gods in
I'm frightened by the warmth within a body that bends
I'm frightened by the tone of poetry
I'm frightened but I keep asking, When will it begin?
I'm frightened by a war on the head of a pin
I'm frightened by man's heartfelt needs for sexual sin
I'm frightened by the motion of a misplaced notion
I'm frightened by the whisper of a begging prayer
I'm frightened and I just can't get out of thereIf you're not frightened by a blue ball slap in the face or a reference to pagan deities in the midst of wild-eyed self love, invest an evening in the reading of David e. Patton's The Trinity: poetry and art. Just be sure to make your confession.
Order your copy of
The Trinity by David e. Patton
by writing the author at
4556 Wichita Ave.
St. Louis, MO.
MC Spotlight: the work of David E. Patton
Poetry entered David E. Patton’s life in September of 1968. It was in St. Louis, Mo. and the Civil Rights Movement in America was in full swing. David describes his first poem back then as “a sixteen line alternating rhyme of youthful discontent.” Now,41 years later, David presents to us, The Trinity. The Trinity is collection of poetry and images all created by David Patton. When I first saw the book, my mind immediately drifted towards the Biblical reference of the Trinity: God, Son, and the Holy Spirit; However, David is referring to what he describes in his introduction as the “Body, soul, and mind, the trinity of the self.” So, The Trinity, to me, is an expression of self, and a bearing of one’s soul – open to the public.
I’ve been reading David E. Patton’s blog for a couple of years and I’ve always found his poetry to be not only interesting, but very raw and unprocessed. It’s the difference between canned fruit and picking it from a tree. This is what I mean – he seemed to speak directly from his soul. That’s not easy for many writers...including me. In reading David’s poetry over the past couple of years, I didn’t always connect with or agree with everything I read, but I could appreciate that it was “him.” I saw that same “him” in The Trinity; plus, I enjoyed what I read. In his poem, “Let me be the Bard of Neutral Nature” he says,
“Let me sing with a mouth full of hearty words meant to praise till I am dead
and done then let my poems now garrulous in the fever of my want to beg that she
make a tool of me, let them carry on my songs to the yet unborn.”
That's beautiful! Many of the poems in this book touch on themes of Nature and Creation. It also expressed strong spiritual overtones that appealed to me as well. The other poems in The Trinity include titles like, “One Black Man’s Heart is Worthy, ” and “Angels are Painting Poems.” Overall, The Trinity was a great combination of words and images (40 pages, $10) . I feel it is a great price for what you get in return. The artwork on the front cover is one of David’s pieces, which reflects the title of the book. The photograph on the back cover is by photographer, Marcia Ward.
About the writer:
David Patton’s writing has appeared in Mad Blood, The James White Review, Rocky Mountain Arsenal of the Arts, Bay Window,7, and Guide. His chapbook, Milk Bowl Moon over St. Louis, appeared in 2003 from Persistencia Press. Also an accomplished painter and sculptor, Patton currently resides in his hometown of St. Louis. For more information on to order The Trinity visit David’s blog: Uncle David.
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