Sunday, August 2, 2020

Bruise Songs

Today I read Bruise Songs, by Steve Davenport. It's a book I'll be reviewing later, so I'll say more about it then. Today I offer it for Day Two of the Sealey Challenge to read a poetry book a day. I had started to read around in this book when it first came, but today I read it straight through. Well, I read the first poem, "Dear Horse I Rode In On," and then the note about it in the back, which I knew was there from my reading around, and the note mentioned the last poem, "Soundtrack for Last Words," so I read that, and then the actual last poem, "Moon Aubade," and then I went back to the beginning. That's my nonlinear way of being linear.

Speaking of the moon, my husband just came in and said to go out and look at it. So I did. It's full on this beautiful clear night. And, hey, I started this book in the morning and finished it at night, so I am linear, after all.

I'm thanked at the back of this book! I think it is for encouraging Steve to write poetry and for reviewing two of this other books, Uncontainable Noise for RHINO, and Overpass for Prick of the Spindle, back when I was the Poetry Cheerleader. Gosh, I loved being the Poetry Cheerleader.

Speaking of sports, I know Steve from volleyball. Our daughters played (in separate towns and school systems, so sometimes against each other), and my husband coaches, so I saw his girls through the years. They turn up in this book, too! They are with me now as I quote these words from "Love's the Boy" (p. 61):

Thank you for the language
you gave back, my daughters,
their names. Love's the boy
whiskied, stuttering, tossed.
And love's the boy returned
like dice, finite.

He lost the names of his daughters and his wife during a stroke, and those stroke poems hit hard. There's whiskey and music, too. And monsters: "'Mack the Knife,' a monster improved by song." Of course, this connected in my mind to my recent reading of the graphic novel, My Favorite Thing is Monsters, by Emil Ferris, which muses on good and bad monsters, how life can make monsters of us, how we can live with our own monstrousness, and sometimes transform ourselves again, becoming hugely human, lovingly human. Yes, "love's the boy returned."

1 comment:

SteveD said...

I hear Illinois is about to return to the practice of appointing a poet laureate. If I were on that committee, Kathleen, I'd nominate you.