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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Review: Dark Roads by Bruce Boston (pt 2: Opening Poems)

These are notes on individual poems:
"The Tiger Does Not Know"
The opening salvo seems to set up the poet's modus operandi: The poet, the lone wanderer amid jungles whose writing:
we could not read...
a loose plenum of graphite bones
treading the white water of the page. 
He wrote that he was trying to live à terre
like the king who spends his life in the saddle. 
He wrote that he was dedicating himself
to the transcription of realities.
He wrote that he was weary of “endless
first person confessionals wrung from
the pistils of wilting flower souls.”
Note the paradoxical desire to write realities within a frame of unreality. This changes except for the inner realities, but even this changes from poem to poem. It closes, encapsulating that in writing the writer is named, "The tiger does not know that it is tiger named" -- ironic given the rejection of confessional poetry (popular in 1971).

"The Walnut Dark Sea Is Blooming Swiftly"
This meditative poem on dreams has a fairly effective refrain repeated in slightly different guises:
The desire is light and the flesh is heavy.
The dream is light and the flesh is heavy
and the walnut dark sea is blooming swiftly.
It may remain forever fallow, unplowed, or consume us:
like a flame-drawn moth
which pauses at the moment of incineration, our
carriage reins short before the bulk of its blackness.

 "The Stardrifter Grounded" and "Human Remains"
These two Boston plants his flag firmly in the speculative field with one poem whose drifter is now among the stars, thinking of settling down.amid an alien world. I love that he reads the union notices.

The second is a triptych amid human-like being--android, mutants, and cyborg--reflecting on what remains of their humanity. These very much taste of the era they were written in, but with some stylistic flair that had waned briefly in this era:
he staggers into the... night,
bare to the waist, his belly
gray-haired and round as a pot,
still hard beneath the aging flesh.
Though now in factory wombs
and factory towers
we have bred our selves
with random circuits

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