From Verboten (Page 17)Each poem in this collection tells a story, reflects on a bright memory, and picks these events apart to reveal the truth beneath. There are times in this volume when the narrator is sure of his path and at other times ideas run contrary to one another. Some of my favorite lines will leave readers squirming or gritting their teeth.
"They are drinking wine and speaking
of French-U.S. relations when the long
sleeve on her arm falls down. Before
she can clutch it, I see the faded blue
tattoo on her flesh. "What are those
numbers?" I ask. A silence explodes
through the room like spores."
From Walking Unsure of Myself (Page 65)Readers will enjoy the music of these poems and how these poems pop off the pages, with an in your face quality. Subtlety is not a prevalent style in Amen's work, but readers will appreciate his frankness. From poems where the narrator takes an active role to poems to observances from a distance, Amen draws the reader in with immediate and concrete details. One of the best collections I've read in 2009.
"The fortune teller is battling a migraine.
Wind has swallowed my itinerary.
A man in blue goggles is on his knees outside the bank.
The rape victim is scrubbing herself with a steel brush."
New York Memory #3 (Page 36)I want to thank John Amen for sending me a free copy of his book More of Me Disappears for review. For additional examples from this book, visit John Amen's Web site.
"When I get to my dead father's apartment,
Liz emerges from ruptured planks and exploded plaster.
She is covered with soot, like some pagan baptized
in refuse. The wrecking crew has come before
we had a chance to vacate the place, stripped the loft
to its skeleton. My father's furniture has been destroyed,
a lifetime buried beneath an avalanche of wood and iron.
Beds have been gutted, paintings raped by protruding nails.
A fast-food cup rises from the ruin like a conqueror's flag.
The apartment is quickly remodeled, rent raised;
the revolving door of humanity spins. Over the years,
I make a point of knowing who is living there. I see tenants
come and go. I accept that we're not so unlike animals.
I mean, I have this friend who tells me all about bees,
how the queen is revered and protected, ultimately
replaced in a savage deposition, how the mad
hive continues, greater than any one member.
And everything he says sounds familiar, and stings."
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This is my 6th book for the poetry review challenge.