Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Taken With

I am so taken with John Marshall's new chapook, Taken With, a fine letterpress chapbook produced by Seattle's own Paul Hunter and Wood Works Press. Taken With is an amazing 26 part poem sequence, recounting the author's mother's stroke, time in a neighborhood nursing home, where he had many interesting visits with her, and her eventual passing. The poems are poignant and funny, and it was a delight to hear John read them in sequence in their entirety at Elliott Bay the other night.

Here is an exerpt from section 14:

. . .

I was set to leave.
Where are you going Mother asked.
I'm going home.

Take me with you she said
and laughed a kind of wreck.
The woman to the left

said take me too
then the six or seven of them all
took the sentence on

like hail taking on a garbage can.
Take me with you haw haw haw.
Take me with you laugh laugh laugh.

Like a headache made of starlings.
I can't I said I have a wife and dog.
A dog haw haw haw.

A wife laugh laugh laugh.
Take me with you take me with you.
Haw haw laugh laugh laugh.

I zippered my coat closed
with a ferocity that shut them up.
Unbalanced silence in the room. Mom

knocked it over saying
you should go.
Saying I've been where you're going.

Anyway go walk your dog.

. . . from Taken With, by J. W. Marshall, section 14


jenni said...

Yes, there's this mixture of pain/humor. on the one hand, there's something very sad, painful about the women asking him, "take me with you" --but followed by the haw haw haw, it becomes funny--yet not quite "funny" --there's an aphorism that says, "No man is more serious than when he is joking." i think that type of seriousness applies here.

Peter said...

Jenni: I agree. I think John would, too.