By Mary Jo Salter
A gorgeous selection of verse--both mild and darkish, elegiac and affirmative--from considered one of our so much in demand poets.
The identify not anything by means of layout is taken from Salter's villanelle "Complaint for Absolute Divorce," during which we're requested to entertain the idea of a no-fault universe. The cautious look for peace, own and public, is a continuing topic in poems as assorted as "Our acquaintances the Enemy," concerning the Christmas soccer fit among German and British infantrymen in 1914; "The Afterlife," during which Egyptian tomb collectible figurines hard work to serve the lifeless; and "Voice of America," the place Salter returns to the Saint Petersburg of her exiled pal, the overdue Joseph Brodsky. a piece of fascinating gentle verse serves as counterpoint to a different sequence entitled "Bed of Letters," within which Salter addresses the top of an extended marriage. Artfully designed, with a hugely intentional song, those poems movingly provide shape to the customarily unfathomable, but very actual, presence of nothingness and loss in our lives.
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5 it is the little we can do 6 this small bravery of knowledge 7 and there is of course 8 madness and terror too 9 in knowing 10 that some part of you 11 wound up like a clock 12 can never be wound again 13 once it stops. 14 but now 15 there's a ticking under your shirt Page 43 bukowski, charles ‐ burning in water drowning in flame ‐ selected poems 1955‐1973 (1997) 16 and you whirl the beans with a spoon, 17 one love dead, one love departed 18 another love ... as many loves as beans 20 yes, count them now 21 sad, sad 22 your feelings boiling over flame, 23 get this down.
57 days when you can cry all day long in 58 a green room with the door locked, days 59 when you can laugh at the breadman 60 because his legs are too long, days 61 of looking at hedges ... the days of 63 the bosses, yellow men 64 with bad breath and big feet, men 65 who look like frogs, hyenas, men who walk 66 as if melody had never been invented, men 67 who think it is intelligent to hire and fire and 68 profit, men with expensive wives they possess 69 like 60 acres of ground to be drilled 70 or shown‐oﬀ or to be walled away from 71 the incompetent, men who'd kill you 72 because they're crazy and justify it because 73 it's the law, men who stand in front of 74 windows 30 feet wide and see nothing, 75 men with luxury yachts who can sail around [Page 69] 76 the world and yet never get out of their vest 77 pockets, men like snails, men like eels, men 78 like slugs, and not as good ...
81 I have been there 82 many years; 83 at first I believed the work 84 monotonous, even 85 silly 86 but now I see 87 it all has meaning, 88 and the workers 89 without faces 90 I can see are not really 91 ugly, and that 92 the heads without eyes‐‐‐ 93 I know now that those eyes 94 can see 95 and are able to 96 do the work. 97 the women workers 98 are often the best, 99 adapting naturally, 100 and some of these I 101 made love to in our 102 resting hours; at first 103 they appeared to be 104 like female apes 105 but later 106 with insight 107 I realized 108 that they were things 109 as real and alive as 110 myself.
Nothing by Design by Mary Jo Salter