Photo by James Brunskill
I am pleased to have two poems appear in the inaugural issue of Aperçus Quarterly. The poetry section features fine poems by colleagues and mentors such as Boyd W. Benson, Cameron Scott, Marvin Bell, and Peter Sears. The collection is a manageable size, and each poem is worth a read. The images beneath each poem are also striking, evocative, and well-chosen to compliment the written piece.
I wrote the poem “White Pigeons” while still in Ojai. There is a coop nearby my parents’ house. Re-reading the poem from my office in Soho makes me homesick for a place that now seems so far away as to almost have been imagined. It is, for me, a pleasant kind of haunting. Enjoy the poems.
The Owl’s Ears is the second short book in the first volume of the Lost Horse Press New Poets Series. Benson begins the poem “It Was Too Late” with the simultaneously nutty and philosophical line: “I never saw myself coming.” From here, this poem takes on some of the beautiful sorrow of a poet like Larry Levis, as “local dogs / lay down with the sound of my name.” Later:
I did not see myself in others,
the boozy young army reservists
or the old women of silken bones.
I could not remember dreams.
Yet it is precisely through a dreamlike world that Benson guides us in this collection. He introduces us to strange characters like “The Silent Comedians” and “The Opener of Doors.” In his realm, Magritte-like surrealism, full of portals and hats, can be married to more deeply philosophical concerns (one poem is entitled “Socrates”). Led on by a voice as confident as our own mind, we the dreamers never question events like those that begin the poem “After the War”:
Someone made a hat and tossed it in the air,
a new motto waved a flag, and the shadows
spoke freely without us. It was a dictum
could make a heart shine like a small star
and a mouth feel the song in it.
Then someone threw a parade and marched
the bones home, regiment by regiment.