In a poetry world filled with structurally-experimental and opaque writing, Michael Waters’s voice is increasingly unique. He writes in a straight-forward, lyrically beautiful style while delving into risqué subject matter, particularly regarding sex. In Gospel Night, his 10th poetry collection, Waters tackles the dual (and dueling) natures of our humanity: sin and transgression; isolation and atrocity; love and darkness; and the desire for a language that can illuminate such ordinary yet disturbing spaces.
Pale novitiates flocked the bell tower
To shadow my wife one rooftop below.
Oiled, asleep, she remained unaware
Of cassock-clad boys pivoting the ledge
Until the priest appeared to knell their shame
The precise moment—punctual sinner—
I bumped open the rooftop door, bearing
In each fist a flute, orange fizz daubing
The blistered tar, the riotous mimosas
Two more slender flames expanding the near
Suburbs of hell where she sprawled, naked, stunned
Speechless on gaudy towels, below breathless
Boys, riding the pitch, not so far from God.