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”

Beauty

B. H. Fairchild, a wonderful poet, will be reading at the North Berkeley Library on April 18th at 6 pm. Here is a long poem of his that I love. The image of Donatello’s David is mentioned in the poem, so you might as well look at it first.:

Beauty


xxxxxxTherefore,
xxxxxxTheir sons grow suicidally beautiful. . .

xxxxxxxxxxxx-James Wright, “Autumn Begins in Martin’s Ferry, Ohio

I.

We are at the Bargello in Florence, and she says,
what are you thinking? and I say, beauty, thinking
of how very far we are now from the machine shop
and the dry fields of Kansas, the treeless horizons
of slate skies and the muted passions of roughnecks
and scrabble farmers drunk and romantic enough
to weep more or less silently at the darkened end
of the bar out of, what else, loneliness, meaning
the ache of thwarted desire, of, in a word, beauty,
or rather its absence, and it occurs to me again
that no male member of my family has ever used
this word in my hearing or anyone else’s except
in reference, perhaps, to a new pickup or dead deer. 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”