I know that some parts of this country have been rocked tremendously by the recent weather. I know that all parts of this country will soon be rocked by the election, whatever the results.
But I’m not going to write about that now. We all know about it and don’t have control over very much. Some people still don’t have power. We have been trying to call relatives for a week with no success. I am not unaware.
But I want to talk about a book of poetry, “Seasons in Love”, by Dave Malone. The first couple sentences of the Acknowledgements say “The essence of these poems emanates from a singular feeling of love I have for Jenni Wichern – and poems certainly don’t do justice. A sincere thank you to Jenni for her many gifts to me”.
Those gifts include a gorgeous cover.
What is so lovely about this book is that these are not all love poems and yet they are. Dave is right when he says “essence”. There are poems about baseball, about food, about seasons (as the book is arrayed), but they are all love poems. One of my favorites is in the “Summer” section of the book.
Twig and Leaf Diner
Tom Waits sidled up to the bar
at the beat-up diner. His face younger,
less traveled. He didn’t say much,
and I was glad of it, for I haunted a booth
in the back with you.
The waitress slung great hips
and didn’t pencil our order as if we’d
bunked regularly in her section
for decades beneath neon life.
The young cook knocked
grease off the griddle
to “baby, baby”,
his girlfriend sprawled behind us.
You talked too much
and laughed too much
and pushed your hair
behind your ears too much,
and you and I drank too much
of that hard coffee until we stopped
in this piazza of silence.
And that’s when I felt
Tom on us, his face all wrinkled up
in the crashing lights by the grill.
His cigarette ash dangled midair
like a gray kite.
A pen along the register
slunk toward his fingers
as if the next song
would write itself.
Well first of all damn! I wish I could write an ending like that! But this is not about me. There are poems that brim with the sublime beauty of nature. There are some wildly personal and beautiful poems – I love “Parallelogram (Sleep Disturbance)”, “Love Story” and “Symphony Steals Future” for example, but I’m not going to post them because you need to read them for yourself.
There are poems with everyday language about everyday places in this book, and even though I’ve never been to the Ozarks, or hiked at Hawksbill Crag, and I know nothing about the Current River, Oak Street or Mt.Pisgah it doesn’t matter. Malone treats his readers as if they are part of his life, and part of his poetry. He invites you in and blesses you.
I would urge you to get “Seasons in Love”, open it to any page, and read the poem you find there out loud. 116 pages of love letters disguised in a way that opens your heart without making you blush.
…You can run to the arms
of other men, women, of red giants and telescopes,
but I will always remain in some abandoned
part of Texas – at an observatory where I plot
our love in the sky and predict
against a lonely atmosphere
the paths of stars not yet seen.
From “Stars Not Seen”
“Seasons in Love”
ISBN – 13: 978-0615608426
West Plains, MO
Dave Malone is a poet, playwright, and fiction writer from the Missouri Ozarks. He is the author of three other poetry collections: Under the Sycamore, Poems to Love & the Body, and 23 Sonnets. Most of his work is also available as ebooks. To connect with Dave online, please visit davemalone.net.
Tobi Cogswell is a two-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net Nominee. She is the co-editor of San Pedro River Review (www.sprreview.com). When not writing or working on SPRR she does what she suggests every poet do – read, read and read some more. That’s how she came to read Seasons in Love.