About angels

It’s that season–all the old cliches brought out with music and glitter. On that note, there are very few poems that contain angels that are not overwrought, too fanciful or just plain schmaltz. But this, by B. H. Fairchild, avoids all that:

Angels

Elliot Ray Neiderland, home from college
one winter, hauling a load of Herefords
from Hogtown to Guymon with a pint of
Ezra Brooks and a copy of Rilke’s Duineser   
Elegien on the seat beside him, saw the ass-end
of his semi gliding around in the side mirror
as he hit ice and knew he would never live
to see graduation or the castle at Duino. Continue reading “About angels”

Beauty

April is the cruelest month, but also, ironically?, poetry month. In any case every night this week has a poetry event I’m attending.

So far the highlight has been a spectacular reading at the North Berkeley Library by B.H. Fairchild. Fairchild has crafted narrative poems from his childhood in Texas and Kansas. He is the son of a machine shop owner, and the poems manage to capture and elevate the smoke and dust motes into light like grails of milk.

You missed the reading, but can hear a sample here. It’s a long poem; sit back and make yourself comfortable, it’s worth it! Such a treat. Continue reading “Beauty”

The Blue Buick

fairchildI’ve just renewed The Blue Buick from U C Library for the third time, which means I’ve had it almost three months now. Guess I need to buy a copy.

These mostly long poems of a man who grew up in Kansas, son of a machine shop owner, are unique. They have a specificity and a narrative beauty that pins me in place. Here is one of the shorter ones, to give you a hint of what they’re like:

Hearing Parker the First Time

The blue notes spiraling up from the transistor radio
tuned to WNOE, New Orleans, lifted me out of bed
in Seward County, Kansas, where the plains wind riffed
telephone wires in tones less strange than the bird songs

of Charlie Parker. I played high school tenor sax the way,
I thought, Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young might have
if they were, like me, untalented and white, but “Ornithology”
came winding up from the dark delta of blues and Dixieland Continue reading “The Blue Buick”