Monday, September 26, 2011

Poetry Has Its Day in Court

Poetry is news that stays news and people die for lack of it every day and so on, but sometimes in its small way poetry makes news. That’s the case with a book of poems I reviewed a few years ago, 67 Mixed Messages by Ed Allen, a series of infatuated sonnets about a student named Suzi Grace. Turns out the subject of the poems is a real person, and she didn’t appreciate being the subject. On the other hand, it doesn’t sound like she has much of a case. There’s a long history of poets writing about unrequited love (Dante had Beatrice, Yeats had Maud Gonne, and the mid-century confessional poets made de facto fair use of various people in their lives), and it’s hard to imagine a world in which the poet has to fulfill some Antioch-style contract with his or her muse (Honey, is at all right if I say your eyes are nothing like the sun?). On the third hand, methinks the poet doth protest too much when he claims that making the speaker of the poems bisexual lessens his creepiness.

Monday, September 12, 2011

This Thing of Darkness

Old virus ain’t quite done with Mr. Daddy yet. Still got a thing or two to teach him. Gonna pick him out of his bed and toss him on the bathroom floor where he’ll heave and wretch, his knotted guts exploding out of him. He’ll shake and shiver under five blankets and all his winter clothes. He’s known some pain in his time—Vietnam, working in the fields, his daddy’s belt—but nothing like this. This fever has Mr. Daddy like the whale had Jonah, and it’s going to take him deeper than he’s ever been, so deep he thinks he’s not coming back. He has fever dreams and waking visions, unable to distinguish which is which: he sees himself dying here alone, unmourned by wife or children. He swears to God: no more drinking, no more carrying on. But when the fever spits him back out, Mr. Daddy picks himself up off the floor, checks himself over—no breaks, no lasting injuries—cackles: If I can handle that, I can handle anything.

—Dallas Crow

"This Thing of Darkness" originally appeared in the Spring 2010 issue of Red Rock Review.