Wednesday, February 15, 2006

OH Angel. Gloria Mindock. ( U SOKU STAMPA, Springfield, VA)

Gloria Mindock, Somerville poet, writer, and founder of the “Cervena Barva Press” has a new collection of poetry out titled: “Oh Angel.” Mindock writes: “ Inspiration for these poems come from a friend who lives in Central America. She prays to a different angel for every situation she encounters.” The angel in this collection doesn’t so much protect or even talk with the poet, but acts as a conduit for Mindock to think out loud. Mindock, wrote me in an email that she has an interest in death, and she feels, at least in this country, it is feared and pushed into the background. In her poem “Bridge,” Mindock talks with the angel about our inevitable decline:

“The angels are ripping our
bodies apart, they’re butchering corpses.
Look, we can’t conceal that our flesh is dying.
Insects multiply in our blood.
And if this isn’t enough, we can’t
talk about it.
Hands are shaky. We are afraid of
breaking down, becoming weak, and being
killed by pity.
Silence is better.
A slight wound touches us.
We can nourish ourselves with this.”

In Vacationing Angel” the poet addresses an absent angel that she depends on for “pockets of air so/we can embrace this slaughter.”

Our bones and skin are static--
In fact, if you haven’t had plenty of dreams, you
will drop off this planet
One can’t survive on knowledge.
Hollow and silent, we are waiting
to die with a few pauses in-between
Nevertheless, we keep going….
Some years ago I published a poetry collection by Hugh Fox “Angel of Death.” Angels, I found, can be an excellent conceit for a poem, as long as they don’t become harp-playing ciphers. Mindock’s angel is a fount for profound ontological inquiry.

Doug Holder/ Ibbetson Update/ Feb. 2006/Somerville, Mass.