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David Hightower’s lyrically expansive meditation on the whims of fate and the unpredictability of the human condition fill the pages of THE HANGING MAN DREAMS with thrilling music and mesmerizing imagery. Hightower’s richly infused voice echoes the eternal wisdom of classic literature even as it stakes its claim to a bold new vision of poetry as a more than capable vehicle for every experience from the chillingly macabre to the sublimely transcendent.
Long established as one of the American South’s best kept literary secrets, David Hightower is a poet with gifts worthy of a world audience. His works have appeared in such publications as the following: Atlanta Review/Cotton Boll; The Atlanta Quarterly; Georgia on My Mind: An Anthology of Contemporary Writers; Georgia State University Review; Lullwater Review; Old Red Kimono; The Savannah Literary Journal; Share; and Wind Magazine.
(Hanging Man Dreams art by Bill Amos)
THE HANGING MAN (from the series)
The full moon is the axis,
the sky the wheel,
earth the mill,
life the water leaping the spillway
tossing gifts of diamonds to the unseen sun.
I hear the music of liquid,
singing a language I suddenly understand.
Mysterious syllables bubble through my veins;
I am the sound I hear.
I am a trout plucked out
from my green dream
by the revolving wheel.
My world spins away from all direction,
neither up nor down.
I will myself to dive,
feel my fins spread like wings;
I drift into the sky.
I am grain being ground
into a fine dust.
© David Hightower
THE WHIRLYGIG KING
Colors of dreams creak and whirl
filling the old man’s hilly acres.
Carved things with wings
soar against the sky;
hawks, owls, crows, eagles,
bluebirds, bats, demons, angels.
Down the hillside
he gives wings to everything.
A green fish swims through currents of air;
an orange lion roars in grinding gusts;
a jointed snake wriggles through rattling weather;
loose-limbed figures dance together
to the tapping of their own small feet.
Flesh of wood and nerves of wire
spin with a breeze transformed to breath.
A stick tree swirls rainbow blossoms;
a circus yellow sun rises and sets;
Adam and Eve in a carved garden
raise the cherry-red apple of death,
yet never quite take the bite.
The old man is like a young boy
forever emptying his pockets.
He makes the shapes the clouds make,
playthings for the wind.
© David Hightower
VISIONS OF THE POETS, Part 3
“The poetry of The Hanging Man Dreams is unified less by a single theme than it is by a progression of complimentary themes, like a musical score building up from its first intriguing notes to a veritable exultation of chords and choruses. Pondering the nearly incomprehensible fate of the Hanging Man, David Hightower offers an amazing vision of what it must have been like to exist inside the spinning mind, faltering lungs, and struggling heart of a life balanced on the edge of extinction and madness.
“The poems that come whirling out of this spiritual chaos reveal Hightower as a poet deeply rooted in the history, ecology, folklore, and personality of his native north Georgia region at the same time that he instinctively transcends it. For sure, there is a kinship between Hightower’s literary sensibility and that of the legendary Byron Herbert Reece, but theirs is a kinship defined more by geographical proximity than poetic form, tone of voice, subject matter, or even sense of place. In that regard, Hightower shares stronger ties with another fellow Georgian: James Dickey. Both possess the very useful gift of being able to write simultaneously from the inside and outside of a given moment…”
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Reviews for "The Hanging Man Dreams"
|Reviewed by Miriam Center
|Lovely words to be sure. However, I was a bit surprised to find it listed under Aberjani's name and had to go through it all to find out it wasn't the great poet's words, but another great poet's words. So who cares as long as it's great poetry.
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