Lee Rossi's third book of poems sketches a life in shades of contradiction, futility and want. Interrogating the self as ruthlessly as the Grand Inquisitor, these poems enact rituals of disillusionment. The self, final refuge of beatniks and idealists, is discovered to be the quagmire the bodhisattvas warned us about. Rossi advises us to abandon hope − then welcome it when, yet again, life disappoints every expectation, even the most dire.
"Lee Rossi is a poet of wit and elegance. The poems in his third collection, Wheelchair Samurai, will engage, inform, delight, and surprise the reader. The range of multilayered subjects is vast: motel sex, poverty, Descartes and the legendary fly, hilarious alternative endings to The Story of O, tattoos "covering the drive-in movie screen of his [brother-in-law's] back," a lunar eclipse, death, and Francis Bacon. What seems casual at first glance, emerges as a profound meditation on life (human, animal, insect) and nature. We are all inextricably connected in Rossi's metaphorical world. [Still, there is often an underlying sense of sadness and betrayal.] One poem in particular, "Letter to a Grandchild," is sound advice for living, writing, loving. This is a poet at the top of his form and the wise reader will sit back and listen." Gloria Vando, author of Shadows and Supposes "Lee Rossi is a masterful tour guide through landscapes of the sacred and profane, a universe of moments both heartbreaking and funny, where fighting roosters are 'pit bulls with feathers,' and the summer air is 'a minestrone of milkweed and pollen.' These poems are scintillant with wit, shot through with sudden revelations and the startling, brief gleam of compassion and truth. Like the crowd gathered around a suicide in 'Almost Icarus,' Rossi keeps us, his readers, 'straining for a glimpse of that body / its imperfect beauty as fragile as our own.'" Ruth L. Schwartz, author of Dear Good Naked Morning and Edgewater "As Rossi says in one of these poems, 'surfaces betray.' And so he delves, finding the truth that lies beneath. The poetry in this compelling collection exposes the dark and the light of human relationships - between husbands and wives, soldiers and lovers, fathers and sons, gods and goddesses." Frances Lefkowitz, editor, reviewer, and author of To Have Not: A Memoir.