Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Adrian Manning's All This I See Before Me, All This I Cannot Resist

Adrian Manning’s chapbook, All This I See Before Me, All This I Cannot Resist, is published by Alternating Current’s press. Adrian Manning is on my list of poets I always enjoy reading for being straightforward and visually appealing in his imagery. His poems can be lively or melancholy in this collection which provides an ebb and flow in its intensity. Below I will share a few poems:


Night music

On the rooftop
rain drums wildly
like some crazy
ornette coleman
freeform rhythm
dark shadows
dance like mad
jazz women
around tiny cigarette
flashes of light
trying to break
the dense darkness
it is a murderous and
suicidal night
a cop car wails its
saxophone
accompaniment
someone has gone
with the flow
let loose their mind
danced to the beat
of a wild abandoned score
written in
rain soaked streets
bringing it all to an
eventual climactic
crescendo

Don’t you love the visuals of “tiny cigarette/flashes of light/trying to break/the dense darkness” and “suicidal night/a cop car wails its/saxophone?” The reference to jazz and the words “jazz women,” “cop car wails” and “danced to the beat” lend me to believe he is either reminiscing the roaring 1920’s jazz movement or a wild city night. If only he could include which city he is referring to, New York comes to my mind right away. I like the short lines that lend the air of quick movements of dancing women in a smoky bar.



Sunlight in motion

sunlight is your motif
you pour it over m
you are sunlight in motion

you are so good for me
you don’t know how this feels
you kick away my darkness
make me shine again

I breathe in your black hair
the raven’s splintered wings
my fingers run through
your voracious rivers

you move around me
engulfing and swallowing
my being

you have moved from the edges
into the center of me
become the very core
the beating heart
of me

that once was stilled
and closed down to a
bloodless drip.

This poem is a nice contrast to the one above, the poet refers himself as being lifeless and finds someone who pours life back into him. The stanza of “I breathe in your black hair/the raven’s splintered wings” are lovely in their lines. We can all relate to finding someone whose energy picks us up out of our “funk” and Manning does a wonderful job of portraying happiness and hope without ever using the actual words.



This beautiful line

many years ago
I read a book of
leonard cohen poems,
and I have been
fascinated ever since
by the line
‘let us compare mythologies’

I’ve wanted to drop
this beautiful line
into many a conversation

just as it gets
monotonous
tiresome
or dull

I long to say
“let us compare mythologies”
and watch the response

I know it would work
like a stun gun
stemming the flow
immediately

I would get many strange looks
an uncomfortable silence
and confusion would reign

they may assume
I am crazy
they may not understand
what I mean
and I may not, either,
for we have nothing to
compare

but at least
despite the rest of it
the end of the conversation
would be memorable
and that would be something
worth holding onto

This is one of my favorite poems simply because I think all of us want to write at least one great line to be remembered by and Manning has found one in Leonard Cohen’s poems and expounded on what it means to him. I love that he would like to use the line as a way to “stun gun” conversations that have turned drab. What more could a poet ask like Leonard Cohen ask for as a compliment in his work? What does a great line in a poem do for you?



If you enjoyed this short sample of poems, you may purchase a copy of All This I See Before Me, All This I Cannot Resist for your very own for $6.00 (plus $2 US or $3 out-of-US shipping) at:
http://alt-current.com
and you may also e-mail for more details at:
alt.currentATgmailDOTcom

Thanks always for reading, please click in tomorrow for more Poems Found by Poet Hound…

3 comments:

christopher cunningham said...

enjoyed it, will be purchasing it. AM is a damn fine writer and a good guy...

Poet Hound said...

Chris,
I agree with you wholeheartedly!

daniellemcadams said...

this is nice