Saturday, December 16, 2023

The Lunatic

The Lunatic: PoemsThe Lunatic: Poems by Charles Simic
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Some of these short poems delight me with the poet's everyday metaphors and his sardonic wit: "Looking for a Soul Mate," a sort of dating app description "Recovering puff pastry and almond cookie addict,,,Now seeks a comfortable brownstone free of cats/..And where he'll be free to mingle with bankers and lawyers/And sit in their wives' laps like a much-pampered pet." Or "Meet Eddie" "Whose life is as merry as a beer can/Hurling down a mountain stream...Are you ready to meet your Maker?"
Others didn't work as well for me: "Dark Night," his soulful verse about God and Satan, each playing Solitaire or "Passing Through," but I like his dogs, his cats, his fish, his fleas and birds and poems of winter. My favorite was this one (perhaps emblematic-of-the book?) with lines "About life being both cruel and beautiful" and "the sight of a dog free from his chain."

"So Early in the Morning"
It pains me to see an old woman fret over
A few small coins outside a grocery store -
How swiftly I forget her as my own grief
Finds me again - a friend at death's door
And the memory of the night we spent together.

I had so much love in my heart afterward,
I could have run into the street naked
Confident anyone I met would understand
My madness and my need to tell them
About life being both cruel and beautiful,

But I did not - despite the overwhelming evidence:
A crow bent over a dead squirrel in the road,
The lilac bushes flowering in some yard,
And the sight of a dog free from his chain
Searching through a neighbor's trash can.

If you want to read the best review of this book, see s.penkevich on Goodreads

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Seattle, WA, United States
Native Seattlite Former bookstore manager and eternal book lover. Now writing and traveling.

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