18 November 2008

Please, Please, Please

Congratulations to a real sweetheart, Jericho Brown, on the publication of his extraordinary and heartbreaking first collection, Please (New Issues Press). An interview with him recently appeared on the National Book Critics Circle blog, and IMHO he's right on the verge of 'blowing up' into a very well deserved major success.

Here's the opening poem, which originally appeared on Post Road:

Track 1: Lush Life
The woman with the microphone sings to hurt you,
To see you shake your head. The mic may as well
Be a leather belt. You drive to the center of town
To be whipped by a woman’s voice. You can’t tell
The difference between a leather belt and a lover’s
Tongue. A lover’s tongue might call you bitch,
A term of endearment where you come from, a kind
Of compliment preceded by the word sing
In certain nightclubs. A lush little tongue
You have: you can yell, Sing bitch, and, I love you,
With a shot of PatrĂ³n at the end of each phrase
From the same barstool every Saturday night, but you can’t
Remember your father’s leather belt without shaking
Your head. That’s what satisfies her, the woman
With the microphone. She does not mean to entertain
You, and neither do I. Speak to me in a lover’s tongue—
Call me your bitch, and I’ll sing the whole night long.

Run, don't walk, to your local bookseller and get this fine and moving book.

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