cover image The Sky Contains the Plans

The Sky Contains the Plans

Matthew Rohrer. Wave, $16 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-1-950268-04-7

The latest from Rohrer (The Others) is a surreal experiment in which the poet conceived of each poem’s title and first line immediately upon waking, then crafted additional lines around the initial dream-state premise. In the afterword, Rohrer notes his surprise that these lines were often “extremely mundane,” but the poems themselves are anything but, a testament to his skill. The opening line, “Then he was thrown out of Espresso Royale” is upended by what follows: “for calling the devil up from a cup of tea.” Rohrer’s language and imagery are subtly evocative, “the wind that is like a moth’s cough in the universe,” and his concepts are occasionally humorous. In “Conserve-a-Lawyer,” he expresses bewilderment about an imagined organization protecting those in the legal profession. “Conserve-a-Lawyer?/ they don’t need/ to be saved/ they’re all over/ driving shiny cars/ down my street/ much too fast.” Elsewhere, dream-state Rohrer describes waking up beside a lover, “hungover, shredded cheese in the bedclothes.” The collection is imbued with a loving domesticity as the poet reflects on his life with his partner and children: “This home is the light I always dreamed there’d be.” Serene, odd, and quietly captivating, this is a celebration of the unconscious mind’s delights. (Apr.)