Looking back, years from now, I expect the publication of this book to be one of Biblioasis' defining moments. It is a defining book, Faber&Faber-like, and I am immensely proud to have it.
From Time's Covenant, two new -- or at least previously unpublished -- poems:
To a Bird in Winter
Your small claws blue
Beneath the raggedy
Habit of subzero
Song. And you will
Tutor me, flit-hero,
Prophet-minor of cold-
Crunched twigs and nettle-
Skeletons; your bold
Coal-chip pupil settle
On me, where I follow
You, farther into hiddenness,
Aswarm in the swallow
Villas now left summerless.
Remembrance of the sun
Fleches your retices;
Icy octaves bangle your dun
Beak that curettes crevices.
Cauterized, chipper, astute,
You concentrate the frigid waste
In fierce fluff, my modest flute
That whistles to the holocaust.
Time re-invents itself. The clock re-winds.
The monuments are tricksters who quick-change.
The careful calibrations of the past
Jigsaw when we fit the pieces in,
Resist our patterns, re-array themselves.
9/11 shuffled the prism. We are lost
in reconfigured mazes that project
old assumptions on old labyrinths
blown open to the wrecker’s ball.
Rats in tunnels gutted by clinicians,
We press outmoded switches and are zapped.
In Knoxville now, these melancholy scraps
Of fresh forebodings drove me to the malls,
In hellish July, across the parking lots,
Searching for Dairy Queen among the few
Shriveled maples that gave off no shade.
For a Dr. Pepper I would give my soul
I thought, ice cream and apocalypse
Possessed me, in America,
Along the Interstate. Where were the goats
I milked in the South Carolina of my childhood?
The salamanders I kept captive in a chamber pot
At the evangelical hotel? A searing
Sameness cauterized the malls, only
The acned Jesus of the Cumberland
Was dowdy, ragtag and ridiculous,
--therefore to be believed in? Bourbon
remains, all passes, even sin. Asphalt
taste of water, gasoline bouquets
blooming out of puddles, ghosts
tadpole the upturned hubcaps scummed with rain,
biscuits and grits at sunup, flapjacks
on the griddles, the final cadenzas
of the frogs at dawn beyond the propane tank ...