My Last Love Poem for a Crackhead, #23
some nights I hear my father’s long romance
with drugs echoed in the skeletal choir
of crickets. At each approach, a silence
cuts in. And I wonder which part speaks more
to this dance with addiction: the frailty of concord
or the hard certainty of the coda’s chain?
I know these are only insects being insects,
merely a strumming of lust into the heavy,
summer air. still, something in me asks for
a new piece of music to yoke to his cravings—
perhaps just the need to shuffle off and sing
my own restlessness back to sleep.
I want him to be beautiful again.
He fucked us over—he did, but breakdown
diminishes everyone. Let me decide
that he never lied or stole more than necessary.
–Excerpt from Revising the Storm by Geffrey Davis.
Late Night Library: Summarize your book in 10 words or fewer.
Geffrey Davis: A search for language to survive and reclaim difficult loves.
LNL: If this book were the lovechild of two others, who are its parents?
GD: This literary lovechild’s parents would be Stanley Plumly’s Now That My Father Lies Down Beside Me and Li-Young Lee’s Rose: them then this.
LNL: What ingredients go into the recipe of your writing style?
GD: 1½ oz Image, ¼ oz Questions, ¼ oz Time.
(Add more parts Time and/or Questions and/or Image to taste.)
Shake well inside a form. Add 2-3 gazillion dashes of revision. Strain with title, garnish with good ear, and serve.
(Retreat rethink reread remeasure retry.)
LNL: Name one book you wish you could read again for the first time.
GD: Sherman Alexie’s The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, which was the first book I felt like I’d found right when I needed it. I had recently switched my undergrad major to English (in part, because I was on my way to failing out of college as a Zoology major), and I was floundering inside the canon and struggling to find solid traction in this new field, when I stumbled upon this collection. Though I have yet to successfully write fiction, it stunned me into staying in the game.
LNL: Answer a question you wish people would ask you about writing.
GD: I owe the exact moment to one of my best high school friends, Michael Ailep. During the summer between our graduation and my first year of college, we were hanging out together, and he asked why I’d never written poetry (he was a writer then). When I didn’t have a good answer, he handed me a pen and paper. After a silent half-hour or so, his reaction to what I’d written was the beginning of my relationship with the page as it exists today.
Get a copy of Revising the Storm at IndieBound.
Geffrey Davis teaches in the MFA program at The University of Arkansas. Revising the Storm (BOA Editions, 2014) won the annual A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize. Davis’s other distinctions include the Anne Halley Poetry Prize, the Dogwood Prize in Poetry, the Wabash Prize for Poetry, the Leonard Steinberg Memorial/Academy of American Poets Prize, nominations for the Pushcart, and fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation and Penn State’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities.