Jane Rosenberg LaForge’s poems in her full length collection With Apologies to Mick Jagger, Other Gods, And All Women, are published by Aldrick Press and are layered with meaning. Reading through her poems I was able to appreciate more nuances with a second look and her poems are beautiful, cynical at times, and contemplative. If you enjoy dark, rich words, soil, and/or chocolate, this is the collection for you. Below I am happy to share a sample:
Comparing Mythologies in Paris
At Notre Dame, my husband says
the devil is always more interesting
than the acolytes and their enthusiasms
assembled to receive the disbelievers
in reason and fate. My husband is here
with his beats and falsehoods but I
prefer to imagine you instead, suited
in the garb of the other side’s religion.
I wonder if you would still be recognizable
as that fey creation, too gentle at the
shins and forearms, bleached copper
on your eyebrows and on your chest.
Your body should never have been
the object of such humbling; your
mouth never so open for song should
it be mistaken for the call of death.
You should have a Cheshire
expression, sans teeth and their cruelty,
of course, for there are neither stages
nor stations before gospel is written.
Lastly, I should have liked to have
known you in retirement,
an emeritus position, to act as a sage
for your replacement. Sage burns, but
rarely do wishes; they are our most
enduring belief: in what might be made
possible but cannot exist, like the reign
of pumice your skin has become, and
the stars I wish I could pierce through it.
I love the spiritual and contemplative nature of this poem. While the poet’s husband “is here/with his beats and falsehoods” Ms. LaForge imagines the religious figure (who I assume to be Jesus) being in “an emeritus position,” which would make his teachings take on a different gravity and outlet with a different group of students. I picture the religious figure here standing in a lecture hall instead of a mountain top, how different might that be to receive such wisdom? Lovely poem.
Doctor Appleman’s Rest
Just after my parents told me Doctor
and Mrs. Appleman would be getting
a divorce, I saw the doctor sleeping
in his bed. It was at the day’s pool
party in his backyard, and one of his
careless offspring had left open the
sliding glass door separating him
from the froth and corruption of one
thousand idiot children. The doctor’s
mouth was open too, his skin like
the chlorinated foam we children
drank like ignoramuses. It would
clean out our systems, sure, and
it tasted like the dead part of sleep
that we tried to deprive ourselves.
The sheets puckered under him as
if they were sour candy wrappers
and some of us might have thought
he looked like a retard, someone who
rightfully belonged chained to the
bed post and yet still too loose with
his grooming and neglect. The doctor
wore the same striped pajamas my father
sometimes spent all day in, although
the doctor was said to be consumed
by something different, his own brilliance;
it separated him permanently from
his own wife and children. My mother
explained this with a certain resignation,
just as she had begun to use words like
aver and damage, demur and unconscious.
Everyone appears as if they are children
when sleeping, she must have told me,
not in the denouement of the dreams
they are watching, but in their destinations.
As I watched the doctor sleep I wondered
how could he sleep through this divorce,
if through sleep it was possible to stop it,
before his middle daughter would be left
to marry a biker; his youngest booted from
the Hebrew school we were shipped off to,
together, and his oldest, the one who was
my age, into a mentally ill draft dodger
moonlighting as a mathematical genius.
I love the children’s perspective of this poem. A child watching the Doctor, a name that connotes a large degree of importance, sleeping in such a way as to make him look much more human. I also grin when she describes the scene as “one/thousand idiot children” and that she and the others are “ignoramuses” drinking the pool water in their play. It’s her perspective of what the Doctor would think of them, and in turn, she as a child is looking at him as a “retard” because of the way he looks when he’s asleep and therefore has no control of his posture, demeanor, etc. that reflect his importance. I also wonder if the doctor’s children truly end up the way they are described at the end of the poem or if that is what the poet and her family assume will happen as a result of the impending divorce. The poem is a wonderful child’s perspective, free of politically correct language just like that of a child.
Jane Rosenberg LaForge lives in New York City with her family. Among her works there are also two chapbooks, After Voices (Burning River Press) and Half Life (Big Table Publishing). Her newest chapbook, The Navigation of Loss, is published by Red Ochre Press. She also writes short fiction and critical and personal essays. To learn more about Ms. LaForge and her work please visit her website at:
If you enjoyed this review, you may pick up a copy of With Apologies to Mick Jagger, Other Gods, And All Women by Jane Rosenberg LaForge for $14.00 at:
Thanks always for reading, please click in tomorrow for more Poems Found by Poet Hound…