The United States contains at least ten cities of Bristol. Each is in a different state: Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Maine.
We flew home from Orlando International on July 17th, 1992. I took everything: pamphlets, menus, cups, even a toilet roll wrapped in Mickey Mouse paper. I believed that if I carried these things with me, then they would stay with me, become part of me. I mention this in relation to Frank Sinatra, Howard Carter and the realization that in these rooms inside apartments we are collecting the items that will grant us passage.
This is how Bristol, Indiana exists as the dream of Bristol, England. And America, as it is known, as the waking dream of all who have arrived. What is known as the American Dream is a reduction. The common and singular dream of these dreams simplified into linear narrative. I am trying to write the perfect American story: the book whose name is God.
It becomes difficult to explain just what is happening in American poet Richard Froude’s [see his 12 or 20 questions here] first trade collection Fabric (Denver CO: Horse Less Press, 2011) without wanting to quote from large swaths of this extended narrative, this extended essay-poem.
Subtitled “Preludes to the Last American Book,” Froude’s Fabric is even difficult to describe in terms of straight lyric poetry, despite the many qualities they share, existing somewhere between prose and poetry, but something other than the straight “prose poem.”
There is a sharp and deepening wisdom here, writing out a series of narrative threads that begin to reveal themselves, later on in the book, and wrap around each other, swirling across breathless pages. How do his poems manage to know so much? As he writes:
I have tried to understand death as related to the idea of waking. I am not certain of the name for this relation. It may be more appropriate to ask somebody better acquainted with mathematics.
We drove to a beach where the rock was said to be rich with fossils. I knew about ammonites and trilobites and harbored dreams of owning a metal detector.
Fossils, like windows, are moments of discourse. Music is distinct from the measurement and transcription of sound. It is a form of recurrence.
I have tried to understand waking as the moment when the world ceases to make sense. Maybe one day everything with be collected in sequence and bound with leather.