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If I Settle Down...: Poems Kindle Edition
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Meant to sing you a song, but dabbled
With Sleep, till he took my eyes, ears
And mouth to places off-chart,
Where voices heard not but the hum of my heart.
Tuva Street Song to America – (a few excerpts)
First note floats the vortex west to east coast
Through Trump fantasies and tall credit babes
To the retail prophet.
Praise to Armani! Praise to Hilfiger!…
Casino gods and oil-slick Hollywood producers
Stimulate retirees, young sailors and prostitutes
Beat the blood of this nation for a fat stack of moving cash….
Meth cooks are never unemployed,
Yet draw unemployment
Laughing down the hill through the smokestacks.
Dried-up cactus girls flaunt seeking street corners;
Painters and lawyers stop by,
Lifting the head, and squinting the eye.
A-cast about sea-many beauties of skin,
A-breasted cream eloping Man,
Beasting burden unto burdenless minds:
A hillock for nymphs, ancient and without
Age clothing ephemeral magnetism.
Our duties aspire to ash among the fire-
Breathing thought of possibility, a-mixed
In the drunken tossy-turny of trial’n’error.
But for this reader this short poem indicates that the future is likely very bright as Charles Cross polishes his art;
Of T.S. Eliot’s Wasteland…
I read your rough draft.
I won’t let it go to waste.
Your truth means nothing,
Less I learn your mistakes.
Watching this young poet grow with what likely will be a growing audience will be anticipation worthy of consideration. Grady Harp, August 15
The opening poem, If I Settle Down, is quite nice and fairly straightforward. However, many of these poems are complex, and often include social commentary. For one example, in Tuva Street Song for America, we find this: “Cigarette smoke soars from the lusty camel and his lusty bride /Into the lusty movies and magazines, /Into the lusty mouths of cool.”
Such complexity rewards rereading. Sam the Snail’s Simple Confession, and To Our Teachers, are examples of this.
If you’re looking for something simple and touching, find To the Old Coonhound. Conversely for complexity, turn to If Christ Had a Face Like Ingrid Bergman. I’m not absolutely clear on this one after a couple of re-readings.
As always, if you don’t know what something is, Google it. There are many references in Cross’s work.
As a ‘spoiler’, here is the entire short poem The Power: “I desire to possess the power of Pablo /And Yeats, to act on a whim; /And at old age, I’ll return to my youthful skin, /And live with more memories /Than the memories I live within.”
If you’re looking for hints of sex, turn to Pecan Pie. For personal experience, in Cinders we find this: “My senses turn to ash along with feeling good about myself, /And not a single cinder from the fire /Breathes in my every day.”
A favourite here is The Right Hand. Although complex, it yields a story of integrity corrupted by ‘the tyger.’ Another interesting poem, Nottingham’s Ghost, is bitter social commentary.
Even the small poem Meditation has layers and rewards rereading.
Finally, Cross gives us the prose poem Joyous Occasion, where we find lines like this: “Thomas ignored the group. The television ran a commercial set about pills for depression, make-up, and cat food. An old man holler'd cross the hall, “Hello! Hello! Ma'am? Sir? Somebody?” The soldiers of scrubs marched to and fro, taking orders, giving orders, prescribing orders to fend off the enemy at the gates: sentimentality.” This small quote cannot give you the overall power of this piece, which ends thus: “The brothers and sisters circled the doctor in frenzy; they hit him with human emotion: his aged enemy. Thomas watched, from above, his sleeping angel; and without hesitation, he kissed the air she breathed so sweet, and left with the belief that he inherited the goodness of her heart, so it would never stop a beat.”
All that said, how do I come up with four stars? My personal guidelines, when doing an ‘official’ KBR review, are as follows: five stars means, roughly equal to best in genre. Rarely given. Four stars means, extremely good. Three stars means, definitely recommendable. I am a tough reviewer. I try hard to be consistent. If you are patient and enjoy the complexity, your rating may well be higher than mine. Four stars from me, and clearly recommended.
Kindle Book Review Team member.
(Note: this reviewer received a free copy of this book for an independent review. He is not associated with the author or Amazon.)