Facts About the Moon: Poems
Dorianne Laux
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Buy *Facts About the Moon: Poems* online

Facts About the Moon: Poems

Dorianne Laux
W.W. Norton
96 pages
November 2005
rated 4 of 5 possible stars
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This collection is familiar and immediately accessible, the poet's trenchant observations sitting like pearls upon the tongue - not precious, but flawed ones left for others to find.

A democratic attitude requires open eyes, a willingness to suffer discomfort for its own sake and the burr of memory kept sharp:

"... the woman with her purse clutched

to her breasts like a dead child, the boy, pimpled, morose, his head
shorn, a swastika carved in the stubble,
staring you down...

"You can feel it now: why people become Republicans: Get that dog
off the street. Remove that spit and graffiti. Arrest those people huddled
on the steps of the church
." (Democracy)
Laux spares nothing in her observations, not nature, others or self, alert to sea changes, monitoring the world around her:
"Go on, he beseeches, Get going, but the lone elk
stands her ground, their noses less than a yard apart.

One stubborn creature staring down another.
This is how I know the marriage will last." (The Crossing)
The title poem is a subtle wake-up call, reflecting that the moon is receding from the earth an inch and a half each year, that one day in the distant future it will finally spiral out of orbit and "all land based life will die". The moon is our regulator, our constant companion, the mother we have treated badly, defied and scorned:
"... a mother
who's lost a child, a bad child,
a greedy child or maybe a grown boy
who's murdered and raped, a mother
can't help it, she loves that boy
anyway, and in spite of herself
, she misses him...

... and you know she's only
romanticizing, that she's conveniently
forgotten the bruises and the booze...
and you want... to slap her back to sanity...

... and then, you can't help it
either, you know love when you see it,
you can feel its lunar strength, its brutal pull." (Facts About the Moon)
Making peace with the years, Laux appreciates the value of the struggle, the small slivers that drive us from place to place for survival, leaving behind people, places, parts of ourselves. With the ring of truth, this collection offers a view of the world from the street, within nature's embrace, beneath the eye of the watching moon. Dissecting feelings, offering images that inform and transform, the power of language is enhanced by the poet’s unflinching honesty, a woman who isn't afraid to get her hands dirty or her heart broken, a survivor of life's brutality and bounty.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Luan Gaines, 2005

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