Ive struggled through the final section of James Galvins Resurrection Update, the poems published in 1995 and 1996. Some of that is probably due to a cold, but Ive done some of my best reading while home in bed with a cold. I suspect it has more to do with a shift in the style of poems.
Although there has often been a touch of surrealism in Galvins poetry, that style becomes dominant in the last two sections, as suggested by the title poem of this volume:
And then it happened.
Amidst cosmic busting and booming
That galactic rack and pinion.
Trees took off like rockets.
The living and the dead
Flew straight up together.
Only up was gone. Up was away.
Earth still spun
As it stalled and drifted darkward,
An aspirin in a glass of water.
While the poem offers an interesting interpretation of Resurrection, with a physical miracle taking the place of a spiritual one, somehow it holds very little appeal to me, at least not enough appeal that I care to go to the work of interpreting it. Why an aspirin in a glass of water?
Fortunately, there are still a few gems interspersed even in this section. Theres a long poem called Stories Are Made of Mistakes that describes the narrators experience with a black mare that is delightful, and more reminiscent of the earlier poems in the book. Another of my favorites is called The Giants of History:
THE GIANTS OF HISTORY
The little people behind the scenes are getting ugly.
They are seizing their own destiny.
They are plotting
crimes against the big people in the scenes.
the holy and the hoi polloi alike.
They've had enough
The little people behind the scenes become tourists.
They want to meet other little people behind other scenes,
but their only friends are the giants of history, who are
no good to them now, in their hour of need.
While Im not sure I actually believe the poems message, at the very least it reminds me of what I would like to see happen. It is the promise of democracy, after all. Id love to believe that the little people are finally getting fed up with the lies theyre being fed by the Bush administration and are plotting how to get even with the Enron executives.
Of course, as the last stanza suggests, the little people right now only know how to act through the giants of history, the Washingtons, Lincolns, and the Roosevelts. Learning how to connect with the rest of the people will take something new. If I were a Cluetrain devotee, I might suggest that the web offers that opportunity. At the very least, though, the internet offers new possibilities.