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Almanac: poems by Austin Smith

By Austin Smith

Almanac is a set of lyrical and narrative poems that remember, and mourn the passing of, the realm of the small family members farm. yet whereas the poems are all excited by a way with the agricultural Midwest, rather with the folk and land of the northwestern Illinois dairy farm the place Austin Smith used to be born and raised, they're something yet in simple terms local. because the poems give some thought to farm lifestyles, they open out to discuss adolescence and demise, the lack of culture, the destruction of the flora and fauna, and the severing of connections among humans and the land.

This assortment additionally displays on an extended poetic apprenticeship. Smith's father is a poet himself, and Almanac is partially a meditation concerning the accountability of the poet, in particular the younger poet, while it falls to him to talk for what's vanishing. to cite one other Illinois poet, Thomas James, Smith has tried during this e-book to put in writing poems "clear because the glass of wine / on [his] father's desk each Christmas Eve." by way of turns exhilarating and disquieting, it is a striking debut from a particular new voice in American poetry.

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Sample text

34 Romeo and Juliet in the Tomb After, in the darkness of the tomb, after the fathers of the two families had passed one another in the street and exchanged condolences, after but before the first ravages of death undid their beauty, as when, unthinking, a poor woman reaches back and unties her apron, before anything could be said to be over but after the playwright had moved on to his next play, after the actors had gone to the tavern still slightly not themselves, still moving and speaking in the ways of their characters, after the actor who’d played him and the actor who’d played her had stood for a moment embarrassed on the terrace outside the Globe before the Globe burned, wondering if what they felt was real love or just a common and deep belief in the power of becoming another, after they decided they didn’t know, weren’t sure, and went on walking together without touching through London, in no particular direction, over the bridges that vault the Thames like horses, the real Romeo and the real Juliet, lying finally in the peace of the forgotten, turned towards 35 one another, and because their god had left them nothing to say, said nothing.

The next time he huddles over her he may be a grown man with a bad haircut in the pain of orgasm. They cannot rest forever. They must rise against nightfall and as the dark ebbs its ignorant water into everything, Nancy and Dwayne must hose blades of grass off each other’s bodies, shivering as if afraid. 34 Romeo and Juliet in the Tomb After, in the darkness of the tomb, after the fathers of the two families had passed one another in the street and exchanged condolences, after but before the first ravages of death undid their beauty, as when, unthinking, a poor woman reaches back and unties her apron, before anything could be said to be over but after the playwright had moved on to his next play, after the actors had gone to the tavern still slightly not themselves, still moving and speaking in the ways of their characters, after the actor who’d played him and the actor who’d played her had stood for a moment embarrassed on the terrace outside the Globe before the Globe burned, wondering if what they felt was real love or just a common and deep belief in the power of becoming another, after they decided they didn’t know, weren’t sure, and went on walking together without touching through London, in no particular direction, over the bridges that vault the Thames like horses, the real Romeo and the real Juliet, lying finally in the peace of the forgotten, turned towards 35 one another, and because their god had left them nothing to say, said nothing.

At first he thought it was the old man kicking his boot-­soles, come to bust his balls. “Want to come up from under there a second, Dean? ” “Your dad, he’s dead. Had a heart attack. ” “Sorry, Dean,” Jim said. ” “Now why don’t you go on home? ” It was really clogged and the wrench he had in his hand wasn’t the right size 22 to loosen the bolts but he pretended it fit, knocking it around so it would sound like he was making progress, just so he could lie under there awhile, his eyes closed, in the cool, bruised hay.

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