with the patience of monuments –

20 Jul

With the patience of monuments, Jack Henry takes his unique style and propels it skywards. To read him, is to read a life lived with all its softness and all its brutalities. Raging truth in verse that steeps is a hallmark, as is the casually epic:

a single note destroyed me
As easily as Hitler destroyed Europe

from Em or F# on a slide trombone

His descriptions can be lush and seductive as in N’orleans mornings:

Spanish moss plays
gentle tricks
on my thoughts
you, me velvet kisses
stolen before gargoyle
eyes where my hands rest
gentle upon supple curve
linger through moments …

But suddenly we are pushed out of the doors of a seducing dreamscape:

she’s alive and screaming

As the author acknowledges in the forward, the struggle with religious-spiritualism is a linchpin of the collection. In sublimation he explores historic social stereotypes and landmark discrimination in describing a 50’s suburban housewife, a black man working as a porter, circa 1963, and a gay man cuffed at Stonewall, there is one more ‘sublimation’:

i am Christ on the cross, wind in my hair
women at my feet, crying and chanting, waiting on a spear of
a Roman soldier, watching the sun drift across the sky, waiting
for eternity, wondering if returning might not be an option,
wishing I had taken more time, but knowing that destiny is not mine

nor will it be.

This may well be the quintessential image of this stunning collection. Beautiful verse philosophically ruminations on meaning as seen through the eyes of a knowing, weathered self. This is a richness that pours like aged bourbon, burning and coating as it slides down into your very core.

Constance Stadler is the Review Editor for Calliope Nerve and the author of two chaps, Tinted Steam (Shadow Archer Press), Sublunary Curse (Erbacce) and a full-length eBook Paper Cuts (Calliope Nerve Media).


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