Maurya Simon’s The Wilderness: New and Selected Poems 1980-2016 (Red Hen Press 2018, 218 pages) represents a life of questioning and perception, whether the scene is a backyard or a street in Bangalore or the ekphrastic poems of The Weavers or reflections on sinners and saints.
I climbed another mountain and spat on a boulder / because climbing a mountain means nothing. To fish / from the middle of the stream, fresh catch flailing / breathlessly on the shore, gasping frivolous moonlight, / their widened eyes confused: that is my percussion
of temptation, the drum I’d rather follow through the rain
When I arose the petals of the pink / were strewn on the table, / debris of glossy tongues.
The third line on my brow— / arrived last night.
She prefers the psych ward. Her blue / nurse-gloves check restraints, flit like the furtive
Seeking out sugar but settling for deer shit / my mother leans against the side / an old Babylonian cigarette machine
Back when I taught English in Japan, the worst thing that happened to me was being denied entrance to a few restaurants. Kelly Luce, author of Pull Me Under (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux), wasn’t so lucky.
In the chemical light of afternoon, / bodies curl over phones, / slightly toward windows, / empty forms, / if it’s test day.