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Parthenopi: New and Selected Poems

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Parthenopi: New and Selected Poems

By: Michael Waters

Availability: In Stock

Regular price $ 15.95

About This Title

In the title poem of this collection, the speaker declares that “the common measure of love is loss,” a signature motif of the work of Michael Waters, one of the finest poets of his generation. Parthenopi: New and Selected Poems blends the best of Waters’ vivid and sensual poems from his previous collections with new work. Like Whitman, Waters challenges us to embrace humanity’s imperfections while, at the same time, urging us toward new spiritual realities. Riding the confluence of idea and metaphor, these poems maintain their psychological intensity even as they evoke sharp memories and the various dynamics of emotional aftermath.

Scotch and Sun

Home from night shift, my father
was too wired from fighting warehouse fires
to sleep--so he'd sip several Dewar's,
then rouse me for a morning at the beach.
There the combination of scotch and sun
would knock him out for a couple hours
while I invented tasks near the breakage--
skimming clam shells, counting one-legged gulls--
till he woke to hoist me onto his shoulders
and march into the sea, deeper with each step.
He'd look down to find a boy propped there,
his blazing, acceptable burden, his crown, almost
an abstraction shimmering from his skull,
some image of himself he once believed he'd been.
Then arch his neck to shut away the glare.
That noon I leaned too far back, back until my head
dipped into the combers, then below...
I struggled, thrashing my legs,
but my father clasped them tighter, closer
to his chest, oblivious, and went on
breasting the rollers, teasing the undertow.
Those broad shoulders eclipsed the sun.
Then hands grasped my hair--I was choking--
while my startled father stammered excuses
to the impromptu chorus of gawking bathers.
He was more surprised than I, more scared.
He shook when he told my furious mother.
He simply had no idea, he said. Jesus,
that boy almost drowned
though I held him in my arms.

© BOA Editions, Ltd 2000

Available editions:
Cloth ISBN: 1-880238-96-9
Price: $25.00
Publishing Date: December 2000
Paperback ISBN: 1-880238-95-5
Price: $15.95
Publishing Date: December 2000