Poetry 365

December 28, 2013

Poet Diane Raptosh

This month for Poetry 365 we’re highlighting Diane Raptosh’s remarkable new volume American Amnesiac.  Longlisted for the 2013 National Book Award, this fourth collection from the Boise Poet Laureate follows “the manic journey of a man stripped of memory” and forced to “confront the complexities of being American in an age of corruption, corporations, and global conflict.”  Mixing confession and prophesy, history and myth, these 65 haunting poems cast a linguistic spell that “compels and rewards slow reading.”  So check out this riveting new book, enjoying the opening poem below, and make sure to stop back next month for Poetry 365.

The name Rinehart bangs no gongs

The name Rinehart bangs no gongs, but, man, this photo does:
the handlebar mustache, that wrecked blond wing slung across the brow.
It’s who I think myself to be but please keep calling me John Doe; the name
is calm, a truth, the meaning of itself. It fits me like a velvet movie seat.
I fear someday my recall may come back: Will I want it? Will it want in
like water always does? I sit here reading my own mind, widower to all
but wonder’s worn down ear. . . . John Doe AKA Cal Rinehart:
Calvin J. Ex sous chef. Favorite recipe: Fort Adams Fried Okra.
Think-tanker in Singapore. Financial consultant. Art historian.
Husband. Apprentice in P.R. NGO pundit. The doctors say I am
my kid sister’s sibling (I’ve lost her name). We had a falling out.
Low winds blew wide all blood-trust at once. I flagged an orange bus
and woke in Civic Center Park three states away, four hundred bucks
stuffed in my right sleeve. My life has always been a flock of mishaps
waiting to take flight. The accident of life works no wonders
for the nervous system. Six docs have ruled out epilepsy and delirium.

American Amnesiac

Russell J. (Readers’ Services)

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