I have this bad habit, you see. I don't read books inasmuch as I read authors. Once I get my hooks into something good, I want it all. Which leads one to unfortunate (but lucky) circumstances like owning everything Peter Matthiessen ever put to paper, an ouevre which will give me lasting pleasure into my dotage, or owning all the volumes in the Poems of the Millenium series. I despair even of completing all the books in my library, let alone the 5 or 6 or 20 new ones I pick up every month. I tell myself I have no other public vices, and I purchase at will.
So, recently, in my desire to buy all the Ed Dorn I could get into my system, I picked up his last book, Chemo Sabe--from Limberlost Press--a beautiful oversize chapbook of poems written as Dorn was dying of cancer. Light holiday reading in other words. The papers on this book are exquisite, the type is large enough to read comfortably--not always the case--and it's generally a fine product before you even get to the words.
I was young once. I dug holes
near a canal and almost drowned.
I filled notebooks with words
as carefully as a hunter loads his shotgun.
I had a father also, and I came second to an addiction.
I spent a summer swallowing seeds
and nothing ever grew in my stomach.
Every woman I kissed,
I kissed as if I loved her.
My left and right hands were rivals.
After I hit puberty, I was kicked out of my parents’ house
at least twice a year. No matter when you receive this
there was music playing now.
Your grandfather isn’t
my father. I chose to do something with my life
that I knew I could fail at.
I spent my whole life walking
and hid such colorful wings.