Monday, February 20, 2012


I love most libraries. In fact, as I was strolling through the deep forest racks and stacks of paper and books in one recently, on the third floor, with its eight foot tall windows, I told myself I would indeed go into a civil war with any force attempting to shut down such beautiful buildings, free to the public. An almost old time tradition, that some crazies call in a wicked way "socialism". Since when is a social good a social bad? And this library decked out for its three floors, with an almost unbelievable nest for a full floor all its own for children, with tucked away sanctuaries and hideouts and pillow soft resting spots. Plus a built in the wall lit watered aquarium and the piranha family very friendly jumbo size fish I have always gone to have a look at ever since I took Carson to go look at it when he was first walking. On this visit the other day we found out the fish and Carson are now exactly the same age. A quarter century old.

If I have a complaint about some libraries, it's how they wallpaper their books with labels and I.D. and stamps and over-kill. This already slim first book of poems by Lucas Farrell — I say his name since you can't quite tell looking at the book — is a case in point. The Many Woods of Grief is the title. I honor the library for having the book on hand, for us to find it, for them to keep it in stock (this library has books dating back a century in circulation, never mind what they harbor in special collections), but I wish they would honor the book designers and the overall look of a book. You can judge a book by its cover.

Now, to read a poem or two by Lucas.


And since I love you
I seek woodpiles,
an ax, blessings from mothers
with chapped hands like steeples.
I am undesirable, like,
I want to hurt you.
There is a chair on which you sit, rain bucket.
And I bathe you.
A wallpaper of famous faces,
hindquarters, domestic surprises.
I garnish all your limbs with arugula
and pink mellifluous oysters.
I offer apophasis, then cripple the table
of show-me-your-cards
And since you love me too,
the ice cubes won't unloose my eyes
for what's-her-face.
Spiders won't limp down my spine
hip-checking the railings of dream piers.
Endearments like scissored rain,
the timberline won't swell.
As if I love because I was born with mouth ajar.
As if a jar in Tennessee.


Natural history is the gentleness with which she placed
her arms through her shirt-sleeves. The faces
on the refrigerator newly dusted,
the lettuce wilted, wet timberline and brow. Mistrusted
fluids of the plastic sack. In this present, I fight
it precisely, twist and tear filled pockets. I am, unlike
my predecessor, entirely anxious when I awake to twilight,
an afternoon nap, feet beyond the edge of the sheet.
Autumn is upon me once again, and I sweep
the walls of nymphal skins,
of stonefly youths, small recognitions.
It was the gentleness with which she teethed,
broke free. Naturally, historically,
my dreams of late issue domestic truths
that gnaw my wrists to transformative raw.
I can awake to these soft hours of truce
no more. Misgivings and bruises.
I conjure the sound of the creek though I must
undress in the silence of recurring light.