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Excerpt from Romeo Bones:
We wound down a mountain in the mountain wind
thick as sweetgum sap
through white pines waving
hello or goodbye or good riddance
we couldn’t tell. We camped near a stream
because I thought we’d be safest near water,
in case we got thirsty or dirty or needed
to be born again in a pinch
near water would be the best place to be.
Past midnight we coaxed some heat
from ashen embers and crawled
into the tent as the crickets warmed
their acoustical sails
and the waxing moon loomed low
yet in the pines. The light
shone on your naked shoulders
of the galaxy’s starry claws through
the no-see-um mesh,
the airy wilderness kissing us
with the indescribable pleasure of pleasure,
nothing more than Tennessee revolving
around our slovenly island, our mauve oddity
among the trees, and the crickets’ calling songs
comforted us in the darkness
the frail light of our lantern nudged against.
(Originally appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review)
"In Romeo Bones the wrenching details of nature, and the details of an individual person's activities and being, constantly meet, grapple, come to an understanding, in these poems that are realistic portraits and landscapes and also expand beyond that to larger questions of existence. Sometimes we're 'In a primeval meadow with God / like a lover above . . . ,' sometimes we sketch out the fear and anger (and other attributes) of insect brains as we crunch them during a meditation and confession under a grapevine. No one and nothing is spared in this poet's inventory. Yet love is as persistent and formidable and phenomenal as any of these -- whether it's up against self, nature, or metaphysics -- in poem after poem. The encounters of all these elements are various and unique, unexpected then gripping. There are 'horse cripplers,' coyotes which discuss Iraq, pornography, and language's role in society, over a dinner of tomatoes and tomcats, and speakers who seek each other among constantly revolving emotional conditions."