Bill Yarrow, ed.
Trying to Help the Elephant Man Dance by Tim Suermondt
The Backwaters Press, 2007
69 poems, 100 pages
1. Summer does have glorious stories to tell,
placing my eternal soul in peril,
one of the eloquent vixens capable of making a man
forget he lives in Hell.
(from “Patton Bumps into a Sense of Peace Outside Avranches”)
2. A world away
a man is swept
off the street, disappearing
into the small h of history.
(from “Bad Night at Club Solitary”)
3. A candelabrum in my soup–
nonsense, though nonsense
born of living.
(from “An Understanding”)
4. I grew wings, somehow,
and may I say
they look damn snazzy on me.
5. I confess: lyricism has always escaped me
but I’m flying as well as everyone else.
(from “Flying, Without the Geese or the Plane”)
The Undermining of the Democratic Club by Rob Cook
Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2014
63 poems, 130 pages
1. Today, I exchanged a song for the terrorist elephants, the terrorist giraffes, the terrorist oxygen, the terrorist fern forests, the terrorist mercies of medicinal marijuana, the terrorist sunsets, the terrorist shark sleep, the terrorist carrots and celery and kale that do not leave the body, the intestinal photos of the Gaza Strip taken from the cries of a leaking child, the war on shadows, the war on people who find enough to eat without having to plant pancreatic spores in the hells of the soil, the creek bed Lakota whose fully-subsidized hack drinking earns the status of enemy activity, and though I saved his name on a dollar that trusted me once, I won’t discuss the terrorist child helping a turtle find its little door in the terrorist grass.
(from “Sand Song of Mesopotamia”)
2. The howling of guns in your eyes
a North Dakota loneliness in your throat
(from “Red Lake”)
3. She comes from a long line of missing information.
(from “Woman from the Village of Painted Weather”)
4. Who could trust
the flag with its middle finger
pointed at Mexico, Pakistan, Iraq?
(from “Darkening Dust Village to the North”)
5. No language left anywhere. No one paying attention.
(from “In the Absence of Great Men”)
The Park of Upside-Down Chairs by Alexandra van de Kamp
CW Books, 2010
43 poems, 130 pages
1. Life is a parade of molecules showing off
its different disguises, so why couldn’t I be
part tree or table? Who know the exact boundaries
between ourselves and what surrounds us?
(from “Scientific Theory”)
2. Van de Velde choses his miracles
carefully. A man bent on the ice
ties his skate. His red sleeve
burning out towards you
like a caught flame, a promise
not quite forgotten.
(from “Winter Landscape”)
3. In all these photos, nature is a mute witness. The day
always seems on the verge or snow or rain—the sky gray
as a pearl, waiting for something to occur. History is
constantly overcast, reduced to a brooding tone, as if
it knew the metallic grimness the next century and a half
4. The heart is a cave and grief sputters its flames, throws
its flare of clarity against the trickling, furrowed walls.
Then the glyphs on the stone glow, and I am forced to read
my one story back to myself.
5. … Think of me as a shawl
thrown over the tenuous shoulders of a thought,
a shimmering pullover hugging each lift
of the arm, a perfectly-weighted gabardine
that lets pass the bare essentials, while a dream
flickers its lightning, uninterrupted, across the mind’s