Wednesday, October 26, 2011

All of the Above by Jim Daniels

All of the Above

Jim Daniels

Adastra Press

ISBN 978-0-9838238-2-7

2011 $18.00

The poems in All of the Above loosely follow Jim Daniel's definition of ghazals in Outlier and Ghazels. He writes, "I have not adhered to the strictness of metrics and structure of the ancient practitioners, with the exception of using a minimum of five couplets. The couplets are not related by reason or logic and their only continuity is made by a metaphoric jump.”


“Buddy, he called, buddy. Speech oozed out

his infected eye. I knew the rest – kept walking.

I picked at the scab, but still it quickly healed.

No comfort in old scars.

Don't scuff those new shoes. The old familiar oops.

Stop hurrying and fix me something good.

You can't get a sunburn from a red moon;

nevertheless, don't stay out too long.

No matter how much I shadowbox,

the gravediggers still blow on their hands.”

The ghazels take me in, roll me in flour and pat me flat. Each poem brings me home and I’m immediately reminded of Virgilio's haiku, raw, sensitive and so so contemporary:


“The thermometer on the porch fell

the day they came to kick my brother's ass.

I never showed up behind the school

where Luckman waited with his friends.

Norman's boots sang down the hall,

a song memorized by Chilton's face.

A rose broke out above one eye, then his nose,

his lips, a bouquet I walked away from.

Kill-the-guy-with-the-ball was our favorite game.

Any ball would do.”

Now, this is what I'm talking about; poems that are not self-conscious, not revised to death (burnt). The whole book satisfies visually, the tactile paper, the intelligent design, and the clarity,

“sometimes I fall in love just watching someone chew gum.”


“My kite is loose. I chase a ball of string

unraveling in the street.

Village of the Damned was the first

movie I saw with a girl.

By closing my bedroom door until it clicked,

I kept my sick grandmother alive for years.

I once thought I had a lot of power

but it was only a handful of red kisses.

There's only one set of rules:

Hold on. Let go.”

All of the Above, by Jim Daniels, is the perfect book to give to any one you care about. This book is a 'keeper'.

Irene Koronas

Poetry Editor:

Wilderness House Literary Review


Ibbetson Street Press
Web Site: Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene

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