Saturday, May 26, 2012


Photo:  Heavy weather.    David Graham

I'd like to mark the end of my stint driving the TRUCK by featuring some poems by Paula Sergi, from her forthcoming collection Black Forest Love Songs.  

Highly recommended.  In fact, I had the chance to read this book in manuscript, and here is the blurb I wrote for it:

Love in all its moods and seasons stands at the center of Paula Sergi's Black Forest Love Songs, her strongest collection yet.  This sumptuous suite ranges from small town Wisconsin to the German forest of the title poem, with stops in California, Alaska, Oregon, and elsewhere, including the fields of dream.  The voice here is wise and wistful, the emotional clarity notable, and the lines rich with music and dramatic detail. Sergi displays an especially sharp eye for gray areas of both thought and feeling. "I want it all," the speaker of one poem admits; and of course wanting is at the core of life's sweetness as well as its losses.  In fact, this book does have it all:  music, honesty, and unforgettable turns of phrase and thought in every poem. A highly readable and haunting chapbook.


The barking dog three houses away
pitches another mournful note.
Beagle or hound with empty dish,
with ears unscratched
while mine recline on goose down.
His call winds past dark arms
of old growth pine, through thick night air
pooling at my window,
then penetrates lathe and mortar,
reaching the dark ink of my hidden ear. 

I’d rather volley sighs with the dog
than hear my neighbor’s jigsaw
chewing and screaming all afternoon,
carving miniature lawn chairs
for a tiny play house
with no front wall--passersby
and strays can see 
pretend children sleeping in little beds,
see the master bedroom lit
but empty.

To the next door dog I murmur
some sleepy reply,
unlike the pagan moon who never answers.
This dog laps loneliness
like moonshine. He’s on his last chain link,
so I stay awake and surrender
the late show, twenty-four hour news,
sacrifice my husband’s eager hands.  Who
can make love with the howler’s grief
so audible? Who can sleep under
the moon’s one glaring eye?

--Paula Sergi.  from Black Forest Love Songs.  Forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

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