by Catherine Daly
With humor and sense, nuisance and nonsense, sensibility and style, the poems in Locket guide us past the recognizable signposts of life, love and loss. Inside Daly’s locket reside, like glittering jewels, a cornucopia of gems borrowed from our contemporary culture. We meet NASA websites, The Chicago Manual of Style, ambulance chasers and submarines, as well as an assortment of coffee table books, the likes of which Daly uses to convince us that, one way or another, we are all making love, or making art.
Oil trickles to the junkyard floor.
Bed springs creak. Rushing jets race
Rusting cars on blocks.
The city’s buses leave their routes. Kiss me.
Skip the maps and let love drive
Silly, sophisticated, elegant and offbeat, these poems, reckless and direct and dripping with motor oil, are in love with language, and in love with love.
“This is important (and joyful!) work.”
“Catherine Daly’s poems are at once captivating and disarming.”
Boudoir, New Orleans
Wild walls before gauze-limned, slatted light accommodate
watchers. The place where dreams work
peoples the river: it tastes human, keeps beasts of trade
and pleasure with saints’ bones and fish.
We are a conundrum for the gallery: someone is where we should be.
The stage is bare. Flats echo the waves.
A Tent Between Biarritz and Lourdes
Nothing happens but mud and rock diving.
Between grapes large as oysters and mythological kitsch,
the warm earth shunts to a seam, cuts through
layers of old shrines. Earth sinks. People build.
Spring House Blues
Add howling to sea bird blues.
Practice it over folded quilts.
Pad down to the spring house
over cool, dusty grass.
Waves lap the riverbed.
Planets do shine so.
Sun washes the corrugated tin roof,
sweeps the yard.
Scrub in the river.
When the body opens,
held close in a steady caress,
quietly, as figures
Shadows sweep the floor.
The world rings descant. The planet continues.
Night turns the room. The hushed pictures push.
Its dull roar ripples interstellar spaces.
Pulsar, quasar, magnetar, big screen Zenith
color TV: no shooting stars, no falling.
Rock knocks rock.
We slide together
like tectonic plates,
sea and shore,
stream and bed, making
a range, a strand, an arroyo.
I feel you shudder,
hear sweet life rattle within your cage.
It is a lie
bargaining with snakes not snakes,
a lie as words lie.
Don’t you know the truth? Haven’t you been told?
Can’t you listen to your blood and hear evening’s song?
The fundamental interactions are strong,
electromagnetic, weak, and gravitational;
like console / remote, a matched set;
if a scale, a scale three ways:
means of ascent,
and legendary measure.
We walk from the sun, carrying its tune.
The sun walks from us.
Night arrives. We drift with the moon,
finish our planet as it erodes smooth.
The garden is a sea creating an horizon.
We are evening.
As we draw together,
our emitted and observed frequencies diverge:
one fish, two fish, red shift, blue shift.
As I hold no oceans, I seek.
My body belies its blue shallows and hollows.
My shapes similar to sand dunes ripple.
Landscape artists use postcards
when confined, deploy windows
in rainy weather. Like them,
I keep a false measure.
I skirt you.
You have a blue mountain or two,
a buried forest. Missile silos, if any,
You become increasingly real. You walk
into slides of my region,
a new screen.
“many a slip between cup and lip”
Two tipple tea, tupple, Tippacanoe,
sumptuously sip, sup, supple.
Two pull and tamp
their ample mutual appeal.
Two grasp two apples, oh,
to journey from Tampa to Tupelo.
Two peel their clothes.
They put and place, topple,
tumble, not duplicitous, pillowed, paired,
duplex, circumspect, slumber together.
Dual and singular, nuptial bells peal.
|Dimensions||9 × 6 × .5 in|
Bob Grumman of American Book Review offers us pleasing review of Locket steeped in knowledgeable poetic references. A sample:
… [H]er poems flow out of the same free-verse, mildly jump-cut conversationalism as Ashbery’s, and those of such poets he’s influenced as Jorie Graham — with similar touches of surrealism, Stevensian reflectiveness, and sensitively rendered bright imagery. A kind of high languor, but so full of Jamesian indirectness that the. . . poem, ‘Only This Is Manageable,’ jolted me like the Pacific jolted Keats’s Balboa and all his men.…
And that’s only a taste of the full review.