The dedication to Darren C. Demaree’s latest poetry collection, a child walks in the dark, reads simply, “For my family – ” and family, particularly fatherhood, is woven into every single poem in the book. Each work is a retelling of something Demaree’s speaker tells his children, whether his daughter, his son, or both at the same time. It would be easy to resort to vague lessons or aphorisms, but the speaker brings a moving vulnerability to every message, and turns those fragments of parenthood over to the reader.
Since the dawn of ‘Western’ civilization, it’s been customary for aging pop-intellectuals (or whatever the equivalent role was at a given time) to point to a dichotomy between the East and West. Today, and excuse my polemics, mediocre faux-intellectuals point to a regressive, ecclesiastical East dominated by Imams and oligarchs, and contrast it with a progressive, technocratic, civilized West. WJD, a collection of poetry from Khashyar Mohammadi, is an ethnography of the margins of the Islamicate world, and, in my eyes, a scathing critique of Euro-American reductionism and today’s incarnation of orientalism.
May You Breathe Easy My Daffodil,
For If There Be A Will Of The Winds
Let That Will Find Itself Governed
By An Authority Totalitarian In Its
Desire To Match The Serenities Of
The Sky With Your Liberated Nose
I must admit to you Darling; I am everafraid;
That my age passes and that my Being has little’been made.
In the brightness and goldenshimmer of summer,
I thought I’d find my heart mimicking; finding; peaceful slumber.
With his sorrow scattered;
and his jigsaw broken;
The Egotistic Lunatic collects pieces off the ground…
His back breaks under expense
Which cannot be outweighed by peace,
Or (tragically) repentance…