‘Til Death poetry collection now available
In December of 2015 Jim and Janice attended our first writing retreat at Bourbon Ridge. We discussed many things included a potential poetry collection. Today we’re celebrating the release of that book as our first poetry collection of the year, ’Til Death: Marriage Poems. This collection is a true collaboration. A quick glance at these poems will show this is a work many years in the making, just like their marriage. Also like marriage it has moments of transcendent beauty and times of overwhelming despair, there is brutal honesty here and many layers to explore.
Here’s what on blurber had to say about the collection:
“There is a phrase in one of their poems, the ‘mad Poetry of listening, which stuck with me as the feeling I had the entire time I was reading this collection. There is a terrible beauty to their verses, like an unsettling mirror. Their words make you ache for something ephemeral and fleeting. Long to capture and hold it…” –Maurice Broaddus, Buffalo Soldier
In that spirit we’ve excerpted two poems a sample for your reading enjoyment.
“If it was a snake it would have jumped out and bit you.”
Although fang-pricked a thousand times,
this peppered heart doesn’t learn, can’t detect
the threat; or fear the sudden mouse-trap snap
of a creature grown so common
it coils amid a drawer of balled socks,
curls like foil lurking inside a lunch sack.
Its venom blends like cream in morning coffee,
so obvious, it hides. I limp, wounded
yet oblivious to that jumping, biting love.
When digging hearts, spade carefully
to exhume them whole, unbloodied.
Brush away their dirt,
caress them in warm water.
A sharp knife and surgical precision
—aim an inch above the aortic crown—
avoids carnage, the permanent stain.
A clean bisection yields two treats:
I choose the tender leaves
sautéed with a vinegar spritz.
My lover prefers the red flesh.
For him, I simmer these hidden meats,
until their thick skins relax, loosen.
When cool, I undress them by hand
until the taproot slips out naked.
He devours them, these ruby organs,
sinking teeth into gore-colored fruits.
This tonic wakes the blood.
My reward: a kiss from his red, red lips.