Sunday, January 06, 2008

Easy to Keep: Hard to Keep In: Poems by David R. Surette

Easy to Keep: Hard to Keep In: Poems by David R. Surette ((Koenisha Publications 3196- 53rd St. Hamilton, MI 49419 ( $15.

David Surette is one of the well-known poets and poetry activists in Massachusetts. He has a number of books to his credit, and he is the co host of the successful Poetribe Series in Bridgewater, Mass. Surette’s new poetry collection is: “Easy to Keep: Hard to Keep In.” His work displays a tight and clean line, a sense of humor and irony, an insight into the everyday; the dog eats dog grind, and the relentless continuum of life. Now Surette’s poetry is accessible, but he doesn’t give “accessible” a bad name. On each of your multiple readings of his work you are sure to glean meaning below the crystal clear waters.

In the poem “Smoking Ban” the poet portrays the pedestrian barroom as an American institution of constant reinvention, with the inevitable hangover of ‘bitter truth” in the morning:

“I liked when a stranger
sent a beer across the bar to me.
I liked the smoke, the slosh, the chatter,
the touch and go of it, the juke box music,
the millionth time the faces lit up

at the first notes of “Brown-eyed Girl.
I watched them believe
that tonight’s the night
and we never have to wake to
the morning’s bitter truth.”

“The Chosen One,” starts of deceptively . It begins with a picture of benign great uncle and leads to the reader to the “two ships passing in the night “ realization of his nephew:

“ My Great Uncle Jimmy, a Boston cop,
over six feet tall, talked

like a detective in black and white
movies. He had two sons

who did strange and wonderful stuff
like scuba and golf.

He told me he was superman.
It was a great secret. I pretended

to believe for a long time and would follow
him to his trunk where he kept the cape.

He always hesitated before opening it,
remembering he had left it at home.

I was embarrassed believing
in front of the adults and my brother.

I never really knew him.
He never really knew me.”

Hey I had an uncle like this. So did you I bet. Read this collection and see a bit of yourself that you have been meaning to talk about with an old pal.

Doug Holder/ Ibbetson Update/ Jan. 2008

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