Sunday, February 21, 2016

Hoagland: Application for Release from the Dream

Tony Hoagland's Application for Release from the Dream is a soft and sad collection of poems, observing and reflecting on yearning and loss. I loved reading these. They were comforting in their beauty and their gentleness. There is wit and bitterness here, and there is also love, kindness, and regret. A wonderful book by a poet I very much admire.

From the last stanzas of "Crossing Water":

Each time I make the trip, I get the strange idea that this
is what is waiting at the end of life --

long stalks slanting in the breeze, then straightening --
flowers, loose-petaled as memory, grey

as the aftertaste of grief.

Tonight, I'll lie in bed and feel the day exhaling me
as part of its long sigh into the dark,

knowing that I have no plan,
knowing that I have no chance of getting there.

I will remember how those flowers swayed and then held still 
for me to look at them.

And here's some favorite lines from "Controlled Substances":

Like money,
         which teaches you to strangle time,

or the narcoleptic trance connected with a small lit screen?

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