Isn't it true I'd rather sit out back
in a cheap lawn chair reading poems
than do the edge trimming
or admire a full wall display
of oppressively shiny tools?
So Steve Henn is exactly the right guy to start off with, and I've got to love a man who asks the question, "Why / do I always feel a surge of anxiety / stepping into a hardware store?" Meanwhile, guys are using power saws in the back yard that backs up to mine, and my husband is using one intermittently in the garage, so the plan may change and, since the heat has arrived, involve a ceiling fan.
Henn's poems challenge us to face, and stop, gun violence. In "Role-Playing Games," in Guilty Prayer, we live through/imagine school trainings, for adults and kids, and it's awful. "Admit / that this is what we have become." But on the very next page, "In the classroom," we are reading a poem by Ada Limon, in touching togetherness--literally touching, one boy touching another on the arm "in a gesture of comfort." So lovely to see!
Guilty Prayer is "for Zeb"--a good friend who appears in several poems--and "in memory of Lydia F. Henn, 1980-2013, American artist" and the mother of the poet's children, the terrible loss, the grief we feel throughout. A suffering that provokes compassion and care. I'm glad we get to see those kids growing up loved and feeling safe, as safe as anyone can feel/be these days, with their dad. And I'm glad their dad, in American Male, has a sense of humor as well as a sense of responsibility, so he'll help them get through. Enough of a sense of humor to say, about himself:
because isn't it just like a man to require
reassurance when pretty much the only problem is
he's being an idiot?
Yep, gotta love him. Can't wait to hear him read.