Tag Archives: David Lee

Warhorses and The Porcine Canticles, Briefly Reviewed

Warhorses by Yusef Komunyakaa and The Porcine Canticles by David Lee

Warhorses by Yusef Komunyakaa (2008)

Yusef Komunyakaa is, as previously mentioned, one of my all-time favorite poets. He’s a very deft writer, who can amaze, and blaze images and words into your head. Or sometimes he can be just deft. This isn’t my favorite of Komunyakaa’s work, but it’s not like he’s become a terrible writer here. It is and isn’t a criticism of Warhorses to say that it’s a collection that does something together (it’s a lyric meditation on war (so of course love too), touching on conflicts historic through present-day (it was published in 2008)), but it’s not a collection of individually great poems. (The third section is the exception — “Autobiography of my Alter Ego,” Continue reading

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August is kind of an odd month, summer ending, a little melancholy, a little heavy feeling, (especially if it’s an afternoon when you’re listening to the Assassination of Jesse James soundtrack and Antony & the Johnsons, and even when the weather isn’t ungodly hot). August is vacation month, although “No One Goes to Paris In August,” where “Nobody has time like this” and days grow “Late with shade, low, low, long.”

On an August afternoon you might sport a “floppy existential sky-blue hat” and say to your woman, “Woman, I got the blues” and “Sweet Mercy, I worship / the curvature of your ass” and “For us there’s no reason the scorpion / has to become our faith healer.” (“Woman, I Got The Blues” by Yusef Komunyakaa, in Copacetic and his collecteds.) Or on an August afternoon you might sit down for a long, and hi-larious, yarn like David Lee’s “The Tree” (in Day’s Work and A Legacy of Shadows .)

Late August can also be “a pressure drop, / rain, a sob in the body,” and it’s a good time, they say, to plant iris,  or just to sit in the backyard, where “Nothing is endless but the sky. / The flies come back, and the afternoon / Teeters a bit on its green edges,/ then settles like dead weight / Next to our memories.”

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Farm Animals

It’s set to be a gorgeous, blue-sky 50′ February weekend in Portland. Let’s take a field trip to a farm to see the animals.

We’ll drive down the road and see on either side “those dear old ladies, / the loosening barns,” barns hiding deer and tractors.

When we get to the farm, we’ll visit the sow Blackula, lying in her pen “in the mud to consider herself.” (She is being closely watched from a fence post by the “excellent clamberer,” the cat Jeoffrey).

Off to the left, there’s a field of sheep. There are both black-faced sheep “not shrewd like the pig,” and gray sheep  Continue reading

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