- Paperback: 104 pages
- Publisher: Orchises Press (January 27, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 193253511X
- ISBN-13: 978-1932535112
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,828,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Clock Made of Confetti
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About the Author
Michael Salcman is a physician, brain scientist, and essayist on the visual arts. He has read his poetry on NPR and has published in numeous literary magazines, from the Harvard Review to the New York Quarterly.
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The Clock Made of Confetti by Michael Salcman,
( who I will confess to writing even BEFORE I read his work)
I was seriously irked when it took several weeks to arrive. Coming home after a 1st grade "Open House" last evening, wheezing and still struggling with such virulent on-going infection from my lingering worsening two month nightmare chest stuff, of course it was there sitting on the wing chair inviting me to be my other self. Invitation to sit to be the woman self that isn't holding tiny hands and singing silly songs about Polka Dots, signing "A You're Adorable" while giving the "eye" to someone about to snatch their 5th raisin oatmeal cookie after a serious discussion of "fair shares" in the earlier day.
So I became Sarah again, not a Mrs. Whomever that quotes rules and praises our little gentleman for manners, wondering how I ever will survive another year of talking duck rhymes in front of parents newly immigrant who look at me as if I have grown another head. Stepping away from one world into another into another finds its way into this book by Michael Salcman.
I found after curling up last night in my fuzzy green blanket, with cold medicines from one end of the chair to the other, wheezing, it seemed better that things happen when they happen. You cannot rush art into form, or expectation into bringing you a volume of poems so very interior. I felt my thoughts emerging from the brain matter this poet knows so well, despite the day's chaos and demands. I had not expected that journey at all. I truthfully appreciated this beyond words.
I did stay up last night alone reading, thinking of how it must be to carry his realities, medical, surgical, knowledge of all that he can and cannot do in managing life, along with the beauty and appreciation of art which is a kind of place where I am keeping, combined with the desires, dreams, feelings of a man. I thought about how much his poetry pulsates and lifts. And considered pieces of the works just for their searing beat. Sometimes when I read I can work to wholeness; sometimes rather like meeting a new person, I'm captured by nuances and bits, pieces that will slowly in time build into an understanding. I'll hang up in text on a finger inserted into a heart chamber or the "suicidal forsythia" as I come to know of the ranges and connections. At any rate this was how it was last evening.
So this "review" which is just a few thoughts... is written after my initial read...long before I am finished, but when I'm enjoying the lovely taste in my mouth of a new poem.
I like this...no, I almost can't tell you, it is so personal. This writer can cradle the masculine and feminine and almost cause me to blush reading. "Afterwards, I smell you like hot butter rising from my thighs, my hand pollinated with your musk.." That affects you late in the night silences; in my days I can push those connections away...but...
These kinds of images root. Maybe it was the evening, the darkening of a long week, maybe loneliness or the spring...or a private personal hope we carry for completing. A 1st grade teacher isn't allowed this line of exploration in working life. Those pieces were speaking to me last night as soft whispers. He can write of some skin caressing touch, amid very visceral and personal story. I think Dr. Salcman has crossed into a place of art and mind, spirit and emotional charge that grinds in with its headiness, it's a book to hold and read and return to caress with contemplation. It really is.
There is a poem of his mom dying at 46. "Perhaps she did not want to live beyond her selflessness," and it continues, which carried me into the most reflective I have been about my own health in awhile. I'm taken with his words into places I have been avoiding considering, as illness repeatedly confounds me, and forced to recall saying for many years, as I was younger, something unwarranted by circumstances; it just sprang out of mouth feeling foreign-"I could not imagine living past 45". Realizing at 45 my mother broke in pieces with schizophrenia, and my relationship to everything else never was to be the same. I am now at the place my illusions died, as I am 47. Funny. A funny connection to this poem. But there. Life dealing me a sense of timeline and promise of that's enough to live. Sometimes at 47 I feel I wander in this no man's land of being beyond that date. Just a bit like I have to discover what it all was about. Ridiculous to mention, but it made me consider where my Mother was at 45, where I am, what watching my daughter going to college makes me feel, glimpsing reconciling me in a different form than the Mom of baby days, it is churning forward.
But often I have put down my guard and wondered why people dear to me seemed to come with a notion of going, like my father in law at 51 who was compelled not to face his heart issues by some internal, what, I do not know. Said he was here today, gone tomorrow. Spoke in those terms. And died. Disappearing so painfully it was like an ice bath. This poem, The Plow Into Winter, I read to my husband. And he looked sadly at me and said, "I do miss my parents."
If we write what we know then this reflects the knowledge of a very rich intellectual, positive, forward, life affirming person. Serious, sensual. The then and now of a life lived so fully as to be a monument to human capacity. For me just in the bit I know he is that Carl Rogers construct of an actualized being. And whenever in my life I am aware of such a person it is almost a celebration. I teach to bring these beings into our world. To realize potentials. To celebrate life.
He can't completely gift you with what he knows, for it is so much. So you see the traces.
I like the mark of paint or pencil in art, having trained under an artist who had a wonderful surface that was beyond my limitations in expressing here. She had a way to move you with mark. And I just don't know exactly why this poetry has the same kind of heart-gut pull. Actually I do "know" why, but my limits as a 1st grade teacher make me squander finding the expression. Sometimes when I read, say, a Larkin poem, I go a bit into the warm mud and find my foot squishing and the shoe pulling off and the smell of the morning carried from here to there. Then to be reminded of the loss of something, or the juxtaposition of another line, times like those in childhood when a walk like this in the mud was followed by a long day of surviving dark angers, rumblings and things not understood by my child self. Looking without knowing yet. An Appalachian thought of mountain laurel or trillium floods in unexpectedly as I read....... I think of wiping the several noses of kids I taught today who have so little connection to nature as I knew it. They seem so much at the whim of forces too. But their limits seem so much more real. They have no way in to understandings of some of the times/experiences that he speaks from; backgrounds I have had too and realize were beyond wonderful in giving me insights and life meaning. So much deprivation in their ghetto school disconnects. I guess I am saying I felt collisions of different universes, reading. And glad for touching what he brings forward with story of family, his experience, art. I suppose that's a timeless truth collision. At these moments I am overwhelmed with knowing that time is such an illusion and experiences are both tactile and molten but fleeting into memory. Oh I can't even express this....... For some reason this poet has pushed me into reflection that is personal, internal, and silent. I'll be reading for a good long time.
If you have the opportunity to get this, please do. If you order it for someone it will mean something to them. I have a friend I want to have this particular book. Maybe it can find its way across time and space to him in his own world of healing and poetry. I'll keep one copy for my daughter, who will say nothing to me, but read lost in her inner world. And I suppose what I am saying is finding a poet is a very rare thing, like finding a love, when you find it, you know it. And you know the value it adds to your life.
And that changes everything.