Absolutely what needs to be done isn't my endorsement of the praise draped and prize nominated Sleeping and Waking by Michael O'Brien, but whoa. It's a terrific book of poems, real poems. Thank you Joe Massey for the alert. Before the hooplah! It's taken me this long. Johnny come lamely.
When you read a terrific book of real poems, it's like people are interesting again, and their caws. Orange paint on the fuse box. Even the protesters of that bad thing.
You don't need Greek mythology to read this book. Or even the mythology of the current poetry scene, which is maybe just as bad. Maybe all you need to be is on the wet-ish side of lip appreciation. Henk says "The pipes have been snoring all day." Or Kendra asks "Is it weird to think that eventually, your name will be ironic?" No one would have said those things if I hadn't been reading this book. That's how the work of hearing goes, the alert work, stepping lightly off the skids to receive our days without the goals of "traction."
Like every good book of poetry, S&W is easily abbreviated and features at least one stanza ripe for stealing and turning into a country song chorus:
on the street she
yawns, her jeans
yawn, her knees
rhyme with her eyes
Oh just buy it. Don't make me dump a bucket of water on you.
at 12:54 PM