Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"Bird Scarer"( poems) by Glenn Sheldon

"Bird Scarer"( poems) by Glenn Sheldon

$14.00 U.S. paperback

Cervena Barva Press

ISBN: 9780615171678

Pub.: 2008

Review by Mike Amado

"Bird Scarer" is the first full-length poetry collection

by Glen Sheldon, though, at the same time, it stands in sapient

observation like a guru in a rock garden, silently reflecting

every speck.

The collection is split into three sections. All of which

own their own psyche, and draws for the reader a continuum

of images, both concrete and not, that shift perception

just like the poems switch geographic locations; from Chicago

to "North of Boston", French Guiana to Buenos Aires.

There is a certain division of voice in the first section of "Bird

Scarer", the "alert" poet taking in the atmosphere of a city where

the view from skyscrapers are,

". . .a tool invented to seduce angels into throwing / stones down

upon damned rooftops." and the man looking for employment.

Shining his shoes just to go to the library or the art museum.

With an almost split personality, the speaker is both an adult

with a job and is an unquiet youth running loose in the city:

"There is the sugar rush of / leaving work and undoing / one’s

tie on an unraveling / street."

In the poem, "Class Wars", the speaker is an infiltrator in the

"High-art" world, stealing into exhibit openings in "SuHu

(SoHo transplanted to corn country)".

The art openings are seen as being less about the art and more

about the artist, "Discreetly visible", in "Expensively pensive

clothing.",( black, of course ) and about making a sale. "The

cheese was often / cut into cubes as if cubism, at last,

/ was profitable." Sheldon concludes:

"The wine spurred us

to fall in love with the neon of streetlights,

the shine on mouths with lipstick or

offers of the wrong kisses. And the art?

In a city rich from hanging meat, it

hung there. It was for the wealthy

to steal away from constipated drunks."

While the first section tackles relocation and the inertia of trying t

o assimilate to new surroundings, the second section introduces

an existentialism. In "Evasive Summer", the last line asks,

"Is Earth the only/ planet where dreams can harm?" The

speaker watches his stoned neighbors cavorting in an above-g

round pool. Though vicariously, at the same time watching

with exhilaration. Calling it, "The Fall of Troy as puppet-theater"

as they,". . .touch each / others scars."

The poems here are presented with a roving eye that virtually

wishes to be somewhere else or apart of what is being observed,

however continuing a keen sense for every detail.

"North of Boston" is the speaker’s account of a "family

tradition",driving with his family to view other families’

Christmas lights. The competing neighbors, no doubt vying for t

he attention with their, "bright attempts to turn /

the manger into a mystery, Off-Broadway." Sheldon continues:

"Angels gather into barber shop quartets.

We look for the lights to make us say, Ah.

I look for the Atlantic lights farther out, heading

south. Cuba? Argentina? Ah."

In section three, "Geography of Desire" the speaker finally casts

off his necktie that only became undone in the first section.

There are many poems worthy of citation that the reader will

have to experience themselves. Holding true to the title, the

poems here involve an eroticism, both for flesh and for

landscapes. All the while the voice of the writer is there.

"Borrowed Horoscope: San Juan" presents that

voice of the writer with strength:

. . . "My journal says Romans were

our first tourists, that souvenirs were

the only proof that they didn’t spend

their last years in prisons. I write just

to look at the splendor of my penmanship,

the Caribbean waves crashing inside comfort

rented by the week." . . .

Throughout "Bird Scarer, Sheldon effortlessly glides from

couplets to triplets, then to quatrains without loosing the story.

Most poetic forms can be the death of a good story, in my opinion.

Though Sheldon has developed both story and form

alongside each other in "Bird Scarer".

These are the words of an uprooted soul, finding transplantation

and a temp job in Chicago, finally regaining a new

consciousness in abstract horizons where,

"My notebooks fill up with zodiacs /

in temporarily strange skies." ("In Nicaragua, Again")

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