Star Journal- Selected Poems by Christopher Buckley

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By g emil reutter

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There is the constant “I”, “me” and “we” throughout this collection of poems as well as the dated references to popular culture that have passed decades ago. Star Journal – Selected Poems of Christopher Buckley spans 36 years of poetry.

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There is a quietness to these poems and breakouts of lyrical intensity that define Buckley as a master of the art. This is reflected in the poem, Dust Light, Leaves.

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Soon, stars will draw analogies/in the dark, but now the world is simple as dead leaves/glowing in this late hour/simple as our desire/ to rise as lucent as clouds/ in their camisoles of dust

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Buckley delights with images such as this from Prima Facie

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A wafer of sun/cut across the clouds’ grey scroll, the black edges/ of night bleeding in until bright specks floated up/on the blank plate of space with all our unsupported paradigms for science and for art—the dark ocean.

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There is the dated references to pop culture such as in the poem There & Then as well to old music, dated vehicles and the constant need to reference his youth in other poems. He even has Antiques Roadshow covered.

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Buckley is at his best when writing with raw emotion as in this opening stanza of a beautiful poem for his mother, Scattering My Mother’s Ashes: Santa Barbara, CA

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City of my green sea days and dreams/ I wondered about everything, suspended/before me invisibly beneath the sky/in back of the pearl-colored breakers/the blue cliffs of air…

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He again shines with an understanding of the human condition in the last stanza of the poem, In Memory of the Winos at the Moreton Bay Fig Tree, Santa Barbara, CA

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Gently peeling back the bag from the sea-/ green throat, he unscrewed the cap, lifted his head/ sunward and reverently sipped, slowly swallowing/ the burning light, and was thus illuminated before/ recapping the mouth, folding back the bag and passing it/to his neighbor, so that peace would settle over them/ as they did all they could to save their lives.

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And from the poem Travel

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Dreamers/ walkers in our easy sleep, we unfolded our arms and/ filled them with lost destinations/the local outskirts of the air, with the last image of the sea/which compares us to clouds under sail/in transit to who knows where.

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You can find the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Star-Journal-Selected-Poems-Poetry/dp/0822964309

 

g emil reutter is a writer of poems and stories. He can be found here: https://gereutter.wordpress.com/about/

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