Sunday, February 16, 2014

Books: Bruce Mills, Harvey Hix, Nicole Santalucia, Robert Lee Brewer

I have recently had the good fortune of receiving books as gifts.  Here are a few:

In this beautifully written memoir, Bruce Mills tells his story of raising an autistic son.
A quote from the book:
"Living with Jacob is about more than allowing the language of his mind to erase the chalk lines of my own patterns.  It is about unexpected intersections, the willingness to walk blind, to discern shadows in the lay of the land.  It is about the painful unburdening the comes when the mind expands to see anew."

My partner in crime and fellow BAP blogger has a beautiful and brave new chapbook out, Driving Yourself to Jail in July.   

The Cannoli Machine at the Brooklyn Detention Center

The cannoli machine in the Brooklyn Detention Center is for the visitors;
my dad waited in line when he went to visit my bother.
He didn't know he'd have to empty his pockets,
take off his pinky ring and untie his shoes.
This is the first time I saw my dad afraid,
but he wasn't too afraid to stand in line
with all the other fathers
in front of the cannoli machine.
He ate two or three and noticed a little white cream filling on his cheek
when he saw himself in the surveillance camera;
he noticed that his white t-shirt was washed too many times
and was starting to turn grey,
that his socks didn't match.
I didn't know this is how fathers were made.

This is Brewer's first collection of poems, and it has some real gems, like this one:

like apple cider spiked with spirits

i'm through with being mr nice guy
the time for mud slinging
                  is upon us

there are libraries full of children
exploring new worlds
               new ways of looking

at the world
            father led us to this
path and disappeared into the thicket

of things
          it was up to us to press onward
even as the evidence was gathered

the pricked make the world go round
and all the money is the world is not
worth this moment of autumn

                                the bonfire
crackling and burning up your silhouette
no one uses card catalogues anymore

Always brilliant and prolific, Harvey Hix has done it again.   I will copy an opening stanza or two from a poem, but Harvey's books work as a whole.

Stay Secret, Stay Lost

My understanding that what had to happen had to
did not prepare me to imagine how it would.
What must be is what is not, not what is.
How else contest the paradox than with a liberty--
a libertinism, a spilling--of imagination?
How else prevent the mind's turning territorial
than through such prodigal, even flippant, errancy?
It followed her to school one day, school one day, school one day.
So, against the mind's urge to be imperial,
I am working with random materials:

cherries fallen from the neighbor's apple tree
into my yard, seventy-two sheets from my collection
of page 73s, my grade-school teacher's names, spelled backward,
a vintage plastic model of a vintage 'Vette.
Against the forces out to heredity us,
to standardize our choices by orchestrating
what is offered us to choose from, and thus what anyhow,
and whether, we think, it serves self-definition,
self-defense, to find the unimportant fascinating.
This uncertainty is liberating,  . . .

1 comment:

leah said...

Just got nicoles book too. Excited to read it