Pikestaff Press (Robert D. Sutherland, the local editor and publisher) and Reynard is a local judge. His poems, not surprisingly, contain justice and compassion in equal measure.
And, probably not quite by coincidence, as producer Bruce Bergethon pays attention to these things, a poem from the book, "Juvenile Day," aired on WGLT Poetry Radio today. Yes, I had a "driveway moment," or rather a parking place moment, behind Babbitt's Books, on my way to work this morning. "Juvenile Day" is about juvenile court, and I've always liked this one for its handling, legally, and here, poetically, of "fault" and "responsibility."
To quote a few stanzas:
Wherefore, I find it is not your fault,
Danny, that you have Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorder, Oppositional Defiant
Disorder, and R-O Bi-Polar illness.
Or that you are under the influence
of Depakote 500 mg, Zoloft 200 mg,
and Seroquel 40 mg. But it is
your responsibility not to swallow
shampoo or thumbtacks, not to run
away, steal gas, shoplift matches
from Dollar General, and not to knife
your neighbor or your nurse during
the manic phase of your moon....
That's it, isn't it? Some things are not our fault, but some things are still our responsibility. A good judge knows the difference.
In Charley's chapbook, Heart Break is a small town in "a pear-shaped state, the name of which is regularly mispronounced by its own citizens." But it is also a place to live in compassion and in tolerance, a place to learn acceptance, or a place to make important changes or die. Some people die in Heart Break. Some live and learn. Some move, or are moved. And that's the utility of heartbreak.
Image = album cover, Kanye West; if you want to preview "Welcome to Heartbreak," click Amazon here.