Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Bones of Saints Under Glass Jeff Fleming

The Bones of Saints Under Glass
Jeff Fleming
2009 Propaganda Press

“when I focus on the raven
(a dark smudge on a blue canvas)
and the music in my ears
(a cashmere wall of perfect sound)

I am alone”

there are great poets that I have read, (like basho) who, “shakes loose the dirt of age.” Fleming brings us to an immediacy, a stop, a place to rest, almost like passing a dead creature; we stand and contemplate what we are reading, not in a way that takes us out of ourselves but in a way that holds our attention. it is a fallen log on the path ahead of us.. “this morning, I yelled at my kids so laud my throat hurt..” there is a dead seriousness about ourselves that breathes in relief at reading those words. we identify with the yell, the dead log, the fallen branch. the reality is shocking, simple and clear. “I could tell you why, write it all down, but so what? it wouldn’t matter, not to you and certainly not to them.” ‘to them’ is an important twist. yes them, are his children, them is also the outer space yelled into, or the inner space yelled from. who are we yelling at? in this small collection of poetry about family and the
implications of being within the family, the giving and taking, the growing and maturations, and finally the letting go:

“the form was abandoned
when the crops failed.

even the house
is not enough

to draw anyone
way out here.

the apple trees have gone
wild, giving fruit

to the earth
and migrating birds.

one tree, blown over
in a passing storm,

has fallen against
the empty farmhouse,

but still grows strong,
dropping apples

through an open window.
every fall, the fruit

rots upon the hard-
wood floor,

leaving seeds that struggle
to grow among

abandoned furniture”

Fleming’s poems are compassionate. and bosho seemed to be entirely focused on his outer life. well they may not be true. but I still think fleming has an insight that that guy did not have. a must read.

irene koronas
poetry editor
ibbetson street press
poetry editor
wilderness house literary review

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