Monday, April 5, 2010

Watching Dogwood Blossoms Fall In A Parking Lot Off Route 46

Hello Poets,
August Kleinzahler is not easy to read. He jumps around celebrating the mundane weird world with a gentle hand that leaves the both reader and the poet on the side lines.
As Stephen Burt in the New York Times Book Review wrote ". . . he never says more than he should, rarely repeats himself and keeps his focus not on the man who speaks the poems (and whose personality comes across anyway) but on what that man sees and on what he can hear.”
Maybe that's what we need, crystal clear egoless comprehension as the first step to wise action.
Full disclosure: I spent my high school years off Route 46, smelling those same benzene fumes.

Watching Dogwood Blossoms Fall In A Parking Lot Off Route 46
Dogwood blossoms drift down at evening
             as semis pound past Phoenix Seafood
and the Savarin plant, west to the Turnpike,
             Paterson or hills beyond.
The adulterated, pearly light and bleak perfume
             of benzene and exhaust
make this solitary tree and the last of its bloom
              as stirring somehow after another day
at the hospital with Mother and the ashen old ladies
              lost to TV reruns flickering overhead
as that shower of peach blossoms Tu Fu watched
               fall on the riverbank
from the shadows of the Jade Pavilion,
               while ghosts and the music
of yellow orioles found out the seam of him
               and slowly cut along it. 
by August Kleinzahler, from Sleeping It Off in Rapid City, 2008

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