Posted byRon Kozloff
Posted under01. Poetry Book
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Twilight Dances is a collection of poems which explores the dark side of the human experiment in a serious lyrical fashion. In it the author allows thanatos, or the instinct toward a worldly death, take over and color many of the poems from various points of view, and people, some even from a comical perspective. The book is divided into three parts: Identity and Aspiration; People Known and Dreamed; Observations of Culture. There are a total of 140 poems in rhymed and free verse forms. The style is spare and transparent, though sometimes bordering on the lyrical and romantic. This is decidedly not a light read.
What on earth do they do there? Ok. You have women, wine, and song? Now is this constantly? You had one woman, you go to another. You can become the playboy of your dreams. Fine. That might work for how long? awhile? OK. I could take that. Then there’s the wine part. We already know that too much wine makes you need to hang around the toilet bowl the next day. Are there toilet bowls in heaven? The song? Well how many really good songs are there? If you are staying there eternally, you’re bound to run out. And who decides which songs will be played? Some angel probably. What if you don’t get along with an angel? Can you request another? They always talk about it being like a garden. Well, I now live a couple of blocks from a huge beautiful public garden. But I’ve gone only a couple of times. Then they say there are lakes. I like a good lake as much as the next guy, but how long can you swim? Is there fishing allowed? Who says how many fish you can catch? The angels, right? I’d rather be near an ocean and surf. I’m sure there are people who would like to ski. So let’s say that it would leave a lot to be desired. But paradise has to be perfect. Everyone is always happy. It’s peaceful. There is no pain. Excellent. Why not just take drugs?
We sit in opposition
Like cars gearing up for a
Game of chicken.
The wind blusters in your
Eyes, your piano voice comes
In crystals. I feel the years
Between us that have
Fallen off, revealing a hard
Skeleton of love in place.
How we try each
Other for fault! Your vanity,
my hands cut off at
The wrist. I have no
Stomach to pick through
These remains again or retrace
Plot points on the map
To here. I see it as a
Happy accident that
We have survived
Together at all,
Certainly not any of my
Doing. Was it the god
Of inertia who intervened,
limited horizons pressing
Were we not brave enough,
and if so,
Has it not taken us down
Was it something else entirely,
A flame of recognition
That held a mutual gaze
And burned everything else
And if it doesn’t come you wait some more,
It is something like fishing
Except you don’t do it in the sun.
It is not exactly pleasant
And it is not exactly unpleasant either
Why you do it
is difficult to answer.
It has something to do with compulsion
Your having to know that you can,
On that day
come up with something
That will definitely surprise you.
So you court the gods gravely and fervently
Because you know that it is not really
You at all who is going to do the work.
It is rather a chorus of Voices somewhere
Inside your nervous system
that will come to visit you,
Bringing with them words as gifts to you,
Which they offer in muffled tones or
In fits and starts, or in lengthier
Instalments that you take down
At your keyboard you hope in the right
You want to receive the message correctly
not mishear it,
And you have to learn to trust that what they tell you
Is in fact the truth because you have no way of verifying
Of course there will be at some point an overseer who
tinkers and censors
A sort of Father Figure editor
Who must get the package wrapped correctly.
But that is the easy part really because the gift is already
or in part.
Later, you and others will determine whether it was
A cheap gift or an expensive one.
You will provide your signature,
The Voices will be relegated to obscurity.
You know in your heart that you are probably
At best, an interceptor,
And the Voices will not be there to either
Confirm or deny it.