Thursday, September 21, 2006

Anthony McCann's Moon Garden (Wave Books)


From Fort Hamilton Parkway
All the way to Avenue X
Fatherhood reduces Brooklyn to pure geometry
At 18th Avenue and again, here, at Avenue P
Only the dead know Fatherhood
Gathered at the window, counting beads of light
Fatherhood is the last warm thing in your hands
I have to say something about Fatherhood:
Fatherhood replaces England
So that no one may look into it
So that no one may hold it up to the sky
All the way to Gravesend, last night I rode the F
Fatherhood rode by the window
I took the F train back to jail

Seattle/New York-based Wave Books (Verse Press merged with them last year) has been doing an insane poetry bus tour around the United States lately, with some dates in Canada, even. On Sunday, a whole slew of poets American and Toronto on the "poetry bus" converge on Ottawa to read through the ottawa international writers festival at a little gallery on Major's Hill Park [see the notice I posed here], including Brooklyn, New York poet Anthony McCann, reading from his second collection, Moon Garden (Wave Books, 2006), a follow-up to his Father of Noise (New York NY: Fence Books, 2003).


I, myself, should have been a thing.

But then the things themselves appeared.

Some were called the squibs.

Others, vague and old,
became the higher animals.

They were like

words painted in the lake
or like

clouds riddled through with sun.

And also they were like
some more directions to the builders.

It's true—I should have worn protective gear.

But whether I woke up in the park
smeared in pink and yellow thread

or when I walked around the lake
damaging the geese

I stayed exactly how I am.

So when I rush along the world
it leaves a rushing in my ears

and I am placed along the water
as the lake becomes a thing.

An interesting collection of short and shorter poems, I wonder what McCann could do with longer forms; his poems in this collection move like a suite of pieces, each one echoing softly off the other. I very much like the movement of McCann's pieces, graceful and playful-wary as his title poem.


Because the moon is his most important organ
Max is obliged to conceal it in his body.
It is the source of his eternal youth.
According to Max the moon is falling
All the way through our bodies
To the bottom of our soles. When it gets there
We are history. Meanwhile
Max is tortured by women—
By some sad and beautiful women.
Because Max is not his name.
In the Moongarden they proffer their cheeks
For the final kiss, the kiss goodbye.
In his first photos of the coffin academy
Young Max exhibits a flair for light.
Light and potable, the portable moon
Feeds itself on Max.
Though she be round of face
And worshipped by Max
She will not return.
Enter Max on a bright disc of now
Which the moon is obliged to reflect.
O Milky Moon, Mammalian Moon,
The Moon of Failure, the Human Moon.
According to The Poet—{Enter The Poet}—
The moon is not like anything—
The moon is just the moon.
According to Max the moon is a map:
A lifesize map of the moon.

related notes: see my review of The Verse Book of Interviews: 27 Poets on Language, Craft & Culture (Verse Press) here and my review of Dara Wier's Remnants of Hannah (Wave Books) here

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