Sunday, July 21, 2019

You Want to Be Here - Brent Martin and Ben Cutler at the Corner Coffee and Wine Shop Friday evening, 6:30 PM - Hayesville, NC



Review by Lawrence Holden
 
 of Brent Martin's poetry.

An old woman watches television in "her beat up house trailer/ the home old man Passmore built / next door sinking into the weeds" as the poet wanders her winter fields looking for pot shards - remnants of a lost past. In town a homeless man sells weeds, bouquets of common clover he's pulled from cracks in the sidewalk, holding out a bouquet "so delicately he could be holding a baby," saying "this one is called Everyday People."

Walking old Indian mounds, two friends recite together Robinson Jeffers' defiant poem "Shine, Perishing Republic," "his hand slapping my back for emphasis, / where water now flows in rivulets / down upon the abandoned rail lines..." Such poems take us lovingly to a place most of us already know within ourselves - the place where we struggle to come to terms with circumstances of loss, impending change, a world in the harsh throes of modernity, and yet, unaccountably, still nascent with hope.



Downriver
by Brent Martin
The Ferryman tells me to fish downriver,
the crusty bastard, standing on his porch
cursing everything upstream.
He curses the town a while,
then he curses its conservative
church going citizens,
and as he is waving like the Queen
as I depart in my little red boat,
he tells me that Jimmy Sang
has been catching redeyes in the evening,
smallmouth in the afternoon.
You gotta Fish them v's though, the spot where the water
funnels through them old fish weirs.
Old angry and happy ferryman
with your bright river rolling on
birthing your final somber days.
Downriver, he says again, downriver.
Fish them v's and to hell with upstream.

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