Ed Block (Apr 17, 2017)

Author of the acclaimed collection, Anno Domini, Ed Block now returns with Seasons of Change, a collection of “nature and neighborhood” poems that will take the reader from the Midwest to Africa and the Florida Keys and back again, with unique perspectives on a variety of places, and everyday experiences along the way.

Ed Block IMG_0770

Following the seasons from spring through the end of the year, Seasons of Change includes unusual takes on things like ladders, flowers, streets, and neighborhoods, as well as places like the a native African bar and the Florida Keys, all of which it looks at with insight, humor, and not a little pathos. With tributes to Ted Kooser, Charles Simic, Elizabeth Bishop, and Federico Garcia Lorca, and titles like “Rummage Sale,” “October Farewell, “In the Keys with Maggie,” and “Hotel Malawi,” this small collection will reward reading and rereading, as well as recommending to friends.

Ed Block has published dozens of poems in a variety of journals, received commendations for his poems, and been interviewed on both “Lake Effect,” a regional public radio station show, and “The Lydia Lococo Show,” which airs on a local Catholic station. He writes from Greendale, Wisconsin, where he gardens, does water colors, and contributes reviews and occasional essays to various publications.

Casida
after Federico Garcia Lorca

To see you nude is to see the truth
the smooth truth, clear of cats.
The truth without a bloom, a naked shape
forgetful of the past, a place of coal.

To see you nude is to know desire
like lightning that would break forth
or the self-devouring sea, whose maw
cannot but swallow all it meets.

My bile will surge through bedrooms
and descend with unsheathed blade
but you will ignore the army
and its fragile flower power,

your mons, a prize to scale,
your mouth a hazy evening.
Under your spreading branches
prior lovers moan, remembering you.

The Ampersand

I wish that I could make an ampersand
by hand. In notes and letters,
when I need an “and,” how much
more elegant and grand if I could make
that small, pot-bellied symbol with the tail
and well-turned foot and hand.
How clever and sophisticated, scarcely bland;
attention that my letters would demand.

A flourish, then the bow a Cyrano might
make, his nose to ground, that stuck-up feather
and his cape, that final gesture of command.

Cinzano White, and Red

A gaudy restaurant poster for vermouth;
the grapes, the swirls of color, edged
in black, around a supine model
whose flying hair obscures her face.

The flavor of the sight is sweet, astringent,
with just a hint of wormwood;
passion over ice, enjoyed
before and after meals
or sex.

Years ago, it was a favorite
drink in Central Africa.

Pungent midnight, the southern stars so near;
ex-pat passengers, female and male;
lovers and friends on the open upper deck;
a packet, anchored in the bay.

Faint lights from the shore, reflected on the water,
mix with the stars. Below,
the sounds of Bantu passengers
embarking noisily; the thrumming
of the diesel, surging, surging to push off.

Now the present takes possession
of the past again. But the past
refuses to dissolve.

A ship sets out for Mozambique, the north;
a steamy Greene adventure, freighted
with passion and memories.

So now, a farewell sip,
a final toast. You ghosts
of yesteryear, adieu.
Return, remain; so far
away, so near, so dear.

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