I've been a restless reader lately: the new Chabon comes in on reserve for me, I want the new McEwan instead. I check out 30 library books, end up rereading something from my own shelves. The one book I've been successful at returning to (as opposed to reading a piece of, then dropping) amidst all this is Edward Dorn's Way More West: New and Selected Poems. Anyone who has been in a marching band--or hell, attended a parade--might actually need Dorn's "Sousa" [selections]:
Great brass bell of austerity
and the ghosts of old picnickers
ambling under the box-elder when the sobriety
was the drunkeness. John,
you child, you drumhead, there is no silence
you can't decapitate...
Your soft high flute and brass
remind me of a lost celebration I can't
in which I volunteered as conqueror...
I sing Sousa.
The desire to disentegrate the Earth
Then, on the next page, this:
Like a Message on Sunday
the forlorn plumber
by the river
with his daughter
staring at the water
then, at her
his daughter closely.
Once World, he came
to our house to fix the stove
oh, we were arrogant and talked
about him in the next room, doesn't
a man know what he is doing?
Can't it be done right,
World of iron thorns.
Now they sit by the meagre river
by the water...stare
into that plumber
so that I can see a daughter in the water
she thin and silent,
he, wearing a baseball cap
in a celebrating town this summer season
may they live on
on, may their failure be kindly, and come
in small pieces.
That I keep returning to Way More West means I'm on page 23.
I want to keep reading.