Desire: Selected Poems, 1963-1987

David Bromige, Author Black Sparrow Press $10 (227p) ISBN 978-0-87685-723-6
The poems in this collection, winner of the 1988 Western States Book Award, are noticeably spontaneous. While this device occasionally works in the poet's favor (`` . . . a call girl/maybe, or beloved hurrying to her lover/a beginning? Or quite indifferent to/ his wounded maleness, his or anybody/ else's! the glass-&-wood wedge thrusts him/ into the street, on his shoulder/ the weight & force of those strange thighs.''), more often it becomes self-indulgent musing, without shape or clarity: ``There is only the kiss,/ your first, so absolute/ who would move on from it?/ Everything that follows/ only means to be what it meant,/ all you could tell it led to.'' Bromige ( Threads , etc.) is an observer of life's absurdities and ironies, and attempts here to tell about all he's seen. The result reads like an unedited journal that is too personal to be accessible or interesting. The poems, though divided into six titled sections, often overlap thematically, and many are indistinguishable. Bromige writes lyrics, as well as straight prose and word-play gimmicks, sacrificing consistency of rhythm and language for variety. A few provocative verses are overshadowed by many others that are banal, self-conscious and sentimental: ``As I asked/ What is going to become/ of us, one fact/ escaped me, you/ were listening for me/ to complete a meaning,/ and looking at me/ was the fact I overlooked,/ looking at you.'' (August)
Reviewed on: 08/05/1988
Release date: 08/01/1988
Hardcover - 230 pages - 978-0-87685-724-3
Hardcover - 227 pages - 978-0-87685-725-0
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