Tag Archives: Brick Books

Taking a Better Look Around Us | Review of “This World We Invented” by Carolyn Marie Souaid (2015) Brick Books

This-World-We-Invented

Again and again I am impressed with books whose writer’s either share a small moment with me that I ponder upon in my own life OR make me question the world around me. Isn’t that what good literature is suppose to do? And why am i coming across these observations now in my life (As opposed to my younger days?) Those are some of the quandaries that perplexed my mind as I read Carolyn Marie Souaid’s collection entitled This World We Invented.

Pattern Page 6-7

After years of assorted forgettables,

hand-me-downs, rust buckets,

gas-guzzling, money-sucking

Skyhawks and Monzas

>

when, for the first time, I see my Mazda

on the lot, brand-spanking-new,

all twenty-thousand dollars of it

without a scratch,

fenders sleek and intact,

not a spot of rust on the underbelly,

the finest feline (within my price range)

I’ve ever laid eyes on,

it doesn’t cross my mind

I’m taking a big gamble.

>

I’m as cool as Catherine Deneuve

in the breaking light of dawn,

coming home from the all-night casino

in a trench coat that Bogart

or Jean-Paul Bemondo might wear,

pockets stuffed with winnings.

>

I don’t ask.

So I don’t know.

How can I possibly know

when I lay down my cash and

pull the lever,

mouth watering in anticipation,

that the spinning symbols –

three perfect lemons –

will align just like that,

propitiously?

Then, within the first month,

I’ll hit the jackpot again:

rammed once,

towed twice;

and that damned skunk will leave behind

its lucky streak –

all over my faux-leather interior.

I love the lyrical component added with the frank descriptions here. There is detail and feeling all massed together with this work. It reflects my world to a tee at times, almost sharing my thoughts that I couldn’t say out loud myself.

Space (Excerpt) – Page 5

Space is not neutral.
It depends on who inhabits it
and how.
Here, it’s imbued with impulse.
It breathes.
It is wooded with dark creatures –
though it might just be me.
It’s a dimension I’d rather not think about.
I enter anyway. Being human
A residue of violence clings to the windowsill.

There are some great reflections on the world in here. The musing and pondering that the poet shares here are interesting and important. And they are often thoughts that are overlooked and never considered by the rest of us.

The Gene (Excerpt) – Page 55

The grim, hospital-gowned women

want the facts. Who are you?

How did you get here?

They fear you as others feared Hitler or Stalin

or the Ayatollah, fathers

of some of the meanest vectors of poison

>

But what match are they for your diabolical wit?

You, the prime architect

of the scariest, subatomic piranha

in history.

>

Okay.

Let’s not, as people say, get ahead of ourselves.

Carolyn Marie Souaid’s collection entitled This World We Invented made me at least reflect a bit about my world around me. She illuminated thoughts I had but would have never had the notion of expressing myself. A great read.

Link to Brick Books webpage for The World We Invented

The Power of Observation | Review of “Roaming Charges” by Antony Di Nardo (2015) Brick Books

roaming

We all have the power of seeing but do we actually perceive what we see? Do we take the time to ponder details of items and actions that are around us and consider them? Or do we just pass over them with a quick glance and move on? Antony Di Nardo has a keen sense of consideration and his collection of poetry called Roaming Charges brings that skill out for all to see.

Satisfaction (Page 13)

It’s 4:00 or 5:00 PM in the Middle East and if the sky was a giant

blackboard we’d all be up on rooftops blurring out the mess of winter

clouds we made today, the sunset scribbled in as an afterthought.

Instead I’m caught between Mick Jagger’s “Satisfaction” plugged into

my ears the the speakers of the evening muezzin perched like doves

in his minaret

coo-coo-cooing the many names of Allah – one voice feeding on the

other until both sound so much alike I sing along.

Di Nardo has a way of packing a lot of thought in his simple phrases here. The mind’s eye grasps the image he sends out and it is enlightened by the concept he brings forward. This is one of those works that one needs to do in a quiet area and carefully admire Di Nardo’s pronouncements .

I Can’t Live Here (Page 27-28)

To stay frightens me as much as leaving does.

By the time I found out the evening and morning stars were just about the same, Venus was already a planet.

You live, you die, you bake an apple pie.

You love the symphony for its jazz.

Dogs are frightful beats. Like dragons, they lunge and catch your breath. Mudgett Road is peppered with them.

At Maria’s gate the linden trees made lemonade for the sun.

The little Frost that I remember, woodpiles, moon pies, tell a story I knew as a child, stacks of small perfections. Rearrangements. Putting together a CV.

The house, to flex a muscle, puts all birds on a budget. The mourning dove as raptor.

Ségolène is a French woman’s name. Érablière is an arrow off the sign . Ashrafiyeh is the little mountain where someone lives.

The three principles of rock paper scissors, all you need to win or lose.

And it’s a spin of limbs, that boy chasing a ball across the road.

As great and green a meadow, God’s great green handkerchief, was said of Central Park.

I see best when I look over mountaintops.

Silos for the farmer’s tillage, black-and-white meadow cows. I’m almost there.

I gather feathers. I move on. I gather more.

A single sock represents another life on earth.

A few more steps.

The road begins to climb.

Di Nardo is very lyrical here. His words flow easily off the page and a reader can feel with great ease the phrases he creates.

Don’t Look Back (Page 34)

We had a moment or two

at a picnic, her tresses tangled

with mine, and only last night

the fever of a moon directing traffic

through both our eyes. Coincidence?

Perhaps, but we’d been looking

in the same direction for such

a long time a painter of the nineteenth

century was bound to know

where we were. And when

we stepped out into the dimming

light of the public gardens,

plane trees, chestnuts, and oaks

at the gates, Orpheus glued

to his lute, a perimeter of pansies

in meaningful thoughts, she left

for the coast in a cab and I leaned

on the rail of a bridge in a work

by the very same artist.

Antony Di Nardo shares his profound thoughts in his collection called Roaming Charges. His work is enlightening and a pleasure to read.

Link to Antony Di Nardo’s website

Link to Brick Books page for Roaming Charges

Getting the Feel of the Land | Review of “I see my love more clearly from a distance” by Nora Gould (2012) Brick Books

mylove

We have lost something as we became more urbane. Not only have we lost touch with the feel of the soil or the ability to view the horizon, we also have lost the ability to connect with family members or even with the food we consume. Nora Gould has given us an opportunity to regain that understanding of nature as she documents her experiences with living in the prairies in her collection of poetry I see my love more clearly from a distance.

Song of Songs (Page 15)

Prairie knows her own beauty, silver willow, golden-

rod, her slopes thick with prickly pear, hawthorn,

meadow sweet, meadow rue, Orion in her deep

violet-blue haze, the shining arnica of her coulee.

<

To hold my quiet, in the noise

of oil rigs moving on the road a half mile east,

on the gravel at the end of the lane,

to hold my quiet in silence, desire unable to vibrate

<

out from me, no pheromones to underscore

the call in my eyes; to hold this quiet,

it has to be filled with the sound of the ’52 Chev

home from the hay field: the goat’s flehming,

upper lip curled.

<

Winter sun would life my face.

Ribbons of Sandhill Cranes would bind me

here, their necks and legs unfurled

as they gargle in the seasons with their rolling

garooo-a-a-a garoo-a-a-a

Gould does more than explain the scenery she sees around her in this book. She describes in brilliant detail the full range of emotions that come with her life in the prairies. Her experiences with her family and her work come through in such vivid detail that the mind’s eye of the reader comprehends what she is expressing.

But if this poem is to be all happiness and light (Page 30)

There is so much I cannot say. I’d crossed

the Watson Coulee to see if the red brockle-

faced cow had had her calf. Deep in buckbrush

I saw it wet, already knowing mother’s tongue.

I lay in prairie wool to photograph this

glacier-divided hill, its scooped curves

where moon rests early in her rising up that deer path

in the ice-age draw. I climbed that trail, circled

down to the hollow on the slope where

a rock’s animal face is aligned south for winter sun,

not chiselled, no mark of stone on stone.

Where grasses eddy by that rock, see the poem

on my notebook pages blown by the wind,

held by binding. Read of rock-warmed night,

morning: flooded, sun-licked as the deep

violet-blue of silverleaf psoralea.

This is a read that is in-depth and deep. One can feel the crafting Gould went through to bring this phrases to light. It wasn’t an easy task to bring this work to light and the effort is rewarded by enlightening us urban dwellers with both the pleasure and pains she documents here.

As if that absolved him, made him not complicit (excerpt) (Page 41)

When I called home from the airport Charl knew

but didn’t tell me my father had died, said later

your sister told me not to.

By the time my flight was in, the funeral

was set, no time for my children to attend.

No question of Charl having time,

he’s a busy man. I drove without him

>

to both my surgeries. First one

ovary, big as saucer. Blood

and fibrin bound it to my uterus, glued

ureters, bladder and loops of bowel

together. People don’t speak

>

of this blood, where it grows, what

it strangles. My left ovary

tied to my side, a hardball,

a shiny nickel in my pocket.

I see my love more clearly from a distance by Nora Gould is an enlightening collection of poetry of what we urbanites have forgotten about nature and ourselves. There are some deep and well-thought phrases here that make it a pleasure to read.

Link to Brick Books page for I see my love more clearly from a distance

The Inner Images of our Mind | Review of “House Dreams” by Deanna Young (2014) Brick Books

House

We have all grappled with the products that our mind produces. Be it; thoughts, images, emotions, ideas, memories or even dreams, our mind perplexes us at times into inaction. But Deanna Young has given us a reason to at least ponder our inner products as she has put her inner ideas together in her collection of poetry called House Dreams.

Beautiful, Astonishing, Wondrous (excerpt) (Page 13)

Here we are in the sky

trying not to think about it.

There goes the snack cart up the aisle.

Prodded, like a surly child.

On some tiny, industrial planet

this is a symphony: tinkly bottles

and crinkly packets. On this one

(or rather above it), it’s merely

appealing, teasing the minds

of weary, mildly worried people

with a promise of treats, a numbing

cup of wine, perhaps, whilst stuck

inside a mammoth empty-stomach

hum, improbable hundred-tonne

insect of steel. Which sounds impressive

but is feeble compared to the wind,

which predates everything and is

indestructible. Mythological. Oh mighty

Boreas, forgive us our trespasses

and drop your shields. Or

we could go around.

Young gives a definition to thoughts, images and/or dreams we all have yet fear to analyze or define. She has carefully crafted phrases to describe what she has imagined or even gone through at times and helped us feel that we are not alone with those ponderings.

The Linden Tree (excerpt) (Page 37)

Lift the blind

on a sunless morning

near the end of October.

The linden tree has been changed

overnight. Yesterday green, and now this

sea of shifting lemon slices

pouring light in your eyes.

As you have been changed

many times in this life

by a wind that made walking

your straight line to the bus stop hard,

darkness that fell early

and was there by your bed

when you woke up.

At those times, a chemistry erupted

that made you

older, more beautiful too,

and you held on

with an extraordinary will

to be alright

in the arm of each new disaster.

There are some deep-seated emotions documented here. Young has explored her inner psyche deeply here and has opened herself up to the world. And her work shows us all that we should open ourselves up and explore our inner feelings, emotions AND even inner pains no matter how uncomfortable that may be.

Rest (Page 47)

He saw twenty-two patients at the clinic that day.

eleven before noon and eleven after.

Five presented with depression.

He told them all the same thing.

He looked at them with his grey eyes:

Lots of people feel this way.

In our bedroom that night

he mentions, One woman hugged me.

He’d wanted her to take some time off work.

When she protested, he insisted.

It was what he was prescribing: rest.

He told her she was a good person.

People get through this and you will too.

He wrote out the name of a medication

and passed the slip of paper to her

like you hand a mug of tea to someone

who’s had to walk a long way

in a dark rain.

While all you could do was wait

for a sound at the door.

It’s late.

The furnace shudders,

and I go under asking the empty space

above the bed to hear my thanks.

House Dreams by Deanna Young is not only a good collection of poetry but also an excellent guide to explore our inner mind. Which is what literature is suppose to do. Nicely done.

Link to Deanna Young’s website

Link to Brick Books’ webpage for House Dreams

Alienation because We Fail to Observe | Review of “dead man’s float” by Derk Wynand (2001) Brick Books

float

“Patience” and “Observation” are skills that are lacking in today’s society. And are we losing something within us when we don’t practice those skills? Are we alienating ourselves into dark corners when we fail to watch and consider the world around us? That is the impression one can get when one reads dead man’s float by Derk Wynand.

Pelican (excerpt) Page 14

Icon of patience, whether up

in the air or bobbing down

on the swell: we learn from you

even if you make no claims

to be a teacher. What’s to learn?

The air supports the unlikely balance

of your beak, belly and wings,

and when the surface of the water

flashes with frantic perch or bream,

you fold up and drop to claim your reward.

Then, beak and belly full, you cork

once more on calmer water,

with a childlike or a monkish grin.

It is a joy to get lost in the descriptions Wynand  uses for things we would take for granted here. He describes things like birds or the use of words that we would never take the time to consider on our own. A complex read at times but one that is worthwhile.

Spider (Page 28)

The one who pays me visits every five minutes

or so, without checking ahead (having no phone

or to me comprehensible communication system),

also upsets whatever osmotic or gravitational force

that makes the condensation adhere to the beer can

beside my journal, until only seconds ago dry and

spiderless. I don’t know if he or she is spider enough

to spin webs like its prototype, to go away and pick

on someone more his own size, or if his bite is

(will be) worse than that of the mosquitoes we dread

for the dreams they deliver, dengue fever, malarial

hallucinations. His poison, at least, is almost

entirely of his own making, leaving a small doubt

about and a little faith in the lord and mistress

of creation, while the two of us sit here, or perch

proverbially spring-like, and spin our thoughts,

out along the invisible line that time is, passing.

Wynand has filled this book with complex observations and feelings. It was a joy to ponder the thoughts he came across with one by one. This is one of those books one needs to sit with in a quiet corner and carefully consider each well-crafted phrase.

Golden Age, Maybe Sepia (Page 45)

The folks in which other folks

might take an interest, or show –

eyes wider, suddenly head turned

without violence to accommodate

every sidelong glance. In the photo,

at least, they always seem to put on

a pretty good act, convincing – whom?

They come into the corner store, gather

around the wood stove everyone still

half-remembers. It’s winter, of course –

heart and body need nothing so much

as warmth. Yes, the age is forever wanting

to be golden, plain folks not content just

to sit around a stove when they could be

dancing in a circle around more ancient fire,

circle and fire and a song composed

to fit in – these the adequate magic

that allows “plain folks” to rise out

of themselves and slip into better roles.

And look at them now, talking their heads off,

while we only look at the photos and strain

to hear, nodding light-headed, all light, all dark,

and all that comes between.

dead man’s float by Derk Wynand is an interesting collection of thoughts and observations. A great read to ponder and consider over and over again.

*****

Link to Brick Books page for dead man’s float

Helping us Consider the Geography around us | Review of “Lake of Two Mountains” by Arleen Paré (2014) Brick Books

Lake-of-Two-Mountains-web-205x300

Thank you to Brick Books for making this book available for me at the 2014 Toronto Word on the Street festival

We take way too many things for granted in our busy lives. Work, school, family and so on demand our attention that we ignore simple features that exist in our neighbourhoods. But Arleen Paré has noted the lakes near her and has recorded her observations in her poetry collection Lake of Two Mountains and has given us something to ponder in our own environs.

More (Page 6)

vision doubles

the lake’s surface calmed

trees displaying roots into roots

their upside-down selves

tree selves downside-up

in the water where their roots

touch their roots   a surfeit of calm

redoubles the lake

Paré has given not only careful thought but also a great deal of research into this collection. She has organized her thoughts into careful phrases that the mind’s eye can clearly see how a lake came into formation and now exists.

Becoming Lake (Page 7-8)

Start early. Pleistocene.

3 a.m. Let the Laurentide Ice Shield

wrench surface snow, blast

great pans of pale frozen foam.

Thunder out. Cacophony of cold,

glacial-sour. Scoop a basin

five miles across.

Let the bowl corrugate.

Beneath the plain,

concavitate in slow ragged folds.

Sink potholes. Shove mountain tops

from below stony roots. Spall,

brinell, press walls whipped with sleet

Penance the ice. Endure

the murk, the minutes, millennia.

Empty the out the salt sea.

Watersheds, drains,

daily rains gelatinate the sky.

                                           Conjure blue then,

olive-green, brown, streaks of violet gold,

precipitation’s long sombre hush. Rubble,

river mouth, almighty mud.

All things fall away, sink

into brokenness.

                                                            Finally,

ripple-scum and shore fog, water

grey-pocked – but moving,

currents, then caps of white,

the lake’s sliver face

scudded with wind.

Paré has also shared her insight into what others think of her lake. Again she is able to turn to observations in great phrases that a reader can clearly see.

Whose Lake? (Page 36-37)

My lake says the man

with the speedboat

because his uncle

once owned a camp at Riguad where the river

breaks into the lake

God’s lake says

Frere Gabriel because

he believes God owns

whatever He wants

and who wouldn’t want this particular lake

My lake you say

and the lake of your sister

because your grandfather

and mother and aunts

and your uncle

once owned thw white house up the road

and you stayed every summer

and swam every day

rain or shine

Our lake say the Mohawks

and the lake of our dead

because they lived

here or near enough here

and died here

if not from time immemorial

at least almost as long

My lake says the woman

who rents you the room

who owns the patio chairs

and the curved turquoise pool

and the long windy fore-shore

performing before you

and the house like a rock

or a deity

watching your backs.

Lake of Two Mountains by Arleen Paré is an insightful collection of poetry which opens the mind’s eye to the complexities of lakes. It is a pleasure to read and ponder over.

*****

Link to Brick Books website for Lake of Two Mountains

Link to Arleen Paré’s website

Observations on the Journey of Life | Review of “Maps with Moving Parts” by Walid Bitar (Brick Books)

We all realize that our life is a journey of some sort. We may not be aware of its destination at times and many of the signposts are completely unreadable when we cross them but there are common features that we all have in that journey. Walid Bitar documents some of his experiences of his journey in his collection of poetry called Maps with Moving Parts and shows us that some of his sights and feelings are ours as well.

Emigration (excerpt) – Page 11

After take-off somebody said the beach

was a clothesline, and the sea

was drying

 

Somebody else took a relative’s death

mask out; curious neck

after neck carried it down the aisle

like a bucket.

There was no fire.

 

I read in a magazine how

the ancient Chinese questioned a suspect: if

his mouth dried, if his swallows grew coarser and

coarser he was guilty.

 

I didn’t rent any earphones

for the movie, but couldn’t help

noticing most of the actors

screaming.

Magicians look like that just before

they pull eggs out of their mouths.

 

One bad thing about emigrating is

that people who stay behind can always

say you ran away from something.

Relatives take your photographs off

their walls, and leave

clean rectangles.

Bitar’s words here reveal his observations in a clear and simple manner. Yet the phrasing conjures surprising images in the mind’s eye that a reader may have observed themselves in their travels but may have not fully realized until reading them out loud .

On the Beaten Track (page 14)

The cable car takes him to the mid-

air he’s stared up at for years.

He spends most of the ride looking back

down at the ground.

He turns to the sun; he blinks

an orchard of dots into his eyes.

 

Later around the campfire,

an already warm night;

the flames are décor.

The usual constellations sign

dotted lines of stars he couldn’t

put his own finger on.

 

The telegrams he receives day

after day remind him he’s somewhere

he’s never been before. The streets, for example,

are cobbled; no step is quite

like the one before it; there’s always a new

twist of the ankle, or bend of the toes. But

 

it’s not as if his eyes

have gone astigmatic; the moon’s

craters are still

its own, like the dust

storm’s blurs.

Rumour

 

has it he’s looking for a camera

he lost, but that’s

just an excuse

to move on; could he ever

really call a picture

his own?

There is a sense of trepidation here that we all feel at times.  Are we on the right path in our life? Is this the right thing to say? Bitar has documented those feelings here so we can become aware of them.

Making Ways (Page 36)

The directions are already here. And the street

is automatic! I don’t

have to build it anew every time.

On the cable

lines it’s either several birds

or several broken gearshifts, probably the latter

since the buildings around me are so mismatched

they could be wreckage from the pile-up

broadcast over the radio. How

I came to be

listening to that station, who

can say? It was an accident. Even with parrots

it happens sometimes that one man’s phrase

is answered with a different one, some

lady’s who came before. One time I said

“it’s a sunny day” , but what I got back

was “how are you?” It’s not me

I’m after. It’s the way

this city would seem so much more familiar

if I’d only arrived this morning, if

I’d  simply ask the way

to the Musee des beaux-arts.

Maps with Moving Parts by Walid Bitar is an insightful read. Filled with observations about the journey we all partake in, one feels less alone after reading this collection.

Link to Brick Books page for Maps with Moving Parts

Awakening the Mind’s Eye | Review of “Thin Moon Psalm” by Sheri Benning (2007) Brick Books

It is amazing how a small number of words read can bring memories flashing to the mind’s eye. Forgotten feelings and emotions – however small – gush back to one’s perception by a merely well-crafted phrase. That is what happened to me when I read Sheri Benning’s Thin Moon Psalm.

What Passes Through (Page 15)

November sky: a mouth

that has smoked too much for years. Cold

that could make you bleed, thin

whistle of sun.

Running on scabbed ice. Poplar death,

familiar smell of what passes through dark:

menses  breath  sweat.

That time of day when the membrane

that keeps us separate begins

to fray – sudden rip of the heart,

wolf-flick on the back of the eye.

Errata? Look again. Only the sky’s

gaunt skin, but I saw something.

Something that tugs flesh

toward the moon.

 

For those of us who grew up in rural settings, we recall special moments being surrounded in nature. Benning’s words illuminate those settings with a vivid grace.

Wolverine Creek (Excerpt) page 67

 

Fall. When scraped fields

show us the empty-

cathedral air inside

 

Shrew sounds of leaves,

bleeding at a pace the eye can’t hold.

As a child standing in willow kindle,

 

grasses the yellow of grandma’s dying

arms, watching geese harrow a sky made

more blue by the radiance of decay,

Benning is also able to put into words those feelings of regret and worry that many of us have due to our passions. Again her vivid imagery comes through with clarity in the mind’s eye.

The colour of (Excerpt) page 51

 

The shameless meandering of leaves, the colour of

some slow jazz trumpet, of yeah-I-loved-you-so-

what-ness. A half-step off, semitone descent.

 

Somewhere someone is desperately in love with you.

He’s trying to slough the shiver of loss with manual labour.

He’s painting houses and with every brush stroke he is stabbed

by a memory of the thinnest blue song.

 

Benning is also able to describe an individual with a few simple phrases that flashes recognition to so many people in our lives.

Nocturne (Excerpt) Page 64

 

His voice-

whisky leaves of dusk

birch, cigarette smoke,

an e minor guitar chord.

Caressing the night-

lake, breath and

call of a loon.

 

Sheri Benning’s Thin Moon Psalm is a brilliant collection of poetry that flashes memories instantly into the mind’s eye. A perfect piece of literature.

Link to Brick Book’s page for Thin Moon Psalm

 

Trying to Figure out Where we are | Review of “Bearings” by Rhonda Batchelor (1985) Brick Books

Trying to figure out where we are either on a map or in our station in life can be a daunting task. Have we made all the right turns and are we pointed in the right direction? Or are there perils and dangers ahead that will block our success in our journey. That is the type of questions Rhonda Batchelor asks in her collection of poetry called Bearings.

Suite Page 7 (excerpt)

Green foliage curls in at the edges of this room

where light, at the whim of the season

can hit with unbending force,

melting the south and west walls.

It can hurt the human eye to sit here at sunset.

The cats come in only after dark

to cry for food, to inspect the curling corners

and to sleep with their backs to the west. Often

I wait for hours before turning on the lamp, preferring

the sure descent of shadow from the angled ceiling.

Batchelor has travelled quite the length of human emotions in this slim volume (44 pages). Her words bring forward a multitude of images to the mind’s eye while reading her words.

Leaving Home (Page 9)

I am dreaming I am waking

in my parents’ house in my old room.

In the winter dark I trail

down creaking stairs to where

my mother sleeps. I steal

several coins from a bedside table,

leave her to her heavy dreams.

 

In the snow I run to a corner bus

stop where the driver waits

with the lights on. Climbing

aboard I forget my direction but he

eases us out under the night sky,

tells me I’ll need to transfer.

While the words she uses may seem personal, they are documenting emotions and feelings that we all have had. We are not alone with the situations she talks about beautifully here.

What shall we name it (Page 29)

 

your first comment after our last mistake

rolling off me like warm water to

wait beside my silence   what do I

say to you   it’s okay if I am

I am   a dark pool

I won’t disturb just yet   thinking

instead about a city I saw tonight

reflected in classified

ads you read to me about big

trucks and big money   oil towns

long highways between

you and me    we’ll have both do

what we have to   toss a stone

see which way the circles go.

Rhonda Batchelor has documented many stations poetically in her collection Bearings. A strong read filled with emotions and angst that is universally felt.

Link to Brick Books page for Bearings

We are not alone with our late-night musings | Review of “On Nights Like This” by Marianne Bluger (1984) Brick Books

My search into the works of Marianne Bluger led me to a small volume published back in the 1980s. While On Nights Like This may only be 39 pages long, the words are descriptive and thought-provoking.

On Nights Like This – page 11

 

The world glides off

an avenue of trees

receding as I pass.

It may converge behind

at some infinite dot;

it may not

 

Without the cheat of photos

I wouldn’t recall

even the children as infants,

their lotus lips, their hair

making little down skull-caps

 

And yesterday as I made jam

the house filled with the smell

of sweet, hot fruit-

but today there were only

sealed jars and tension in my head

with rain coming in on the wind.

 

I can’t remember your face.

 

Yet tonight you abide in a rising,

summer storm and my heart

knows her own.  She gets through

on just longing for you.

 

Bluger had a descriptive style that was able to explain what many of us feel but are unable to express.

At the Station – Page 21

What am I to do with this broken-

handled suitcase of love

but stagger around with it clutched

in my arms while friends say, ‘When

are you taking that trip?’ and strangers,

‘Where are you from?’

I’ve crammed in everything I ever made.

It’s yours;

just read the ticket on the side.

And should one day the jumbled contents spill

among the feet and tile-work and palms

what if you like some lesser saint

appear ascending on the moving stair

and offer (god forbid)

to haul my tangled misery to the curb?

 

The words are simple yet carefully placed. These are phrases that are well-crafted.

At the Fair – Page 33

The girls had just climbed

into the chocolate saddle

on the ice-cream carousel;

 

the boy was content

to accompany the windy calliope

on his little-tin cornet,

 

so I laid myself down in the grass

by the lemonade booth to wait –

 

The white clouds pranced over

 

pulling an exultation

thirty years old!

While it may be a slim volume, On Nights Like This by Marianne Bluger is a book filled with rich and descriptive phrases covering emotions that need to be explored.  A great read.

 

Link to Brick Books page for On Nights Like This by Marianne Bluger