poet david kozinski

Regarding the Shelves by David P. Kozinski


Regarding the Shelves
There are folded letters on air mail paper, slighter
than skin, and lists
tucked in as place marks – ice melt, oil, lighter fluid.
I can only take in so much dust and sit back
to decipher what you scrawled,  Suzanne,
about the hard life of a carver of stone
and what Chris put down
about letting rejection fall away like dead leaves.
Then there is what you noted, Patti, to stand me up
in 1993, and again in ’94
as the decade that started with a noose around its neck
became a countdown to a strange and hoped-for frontier.
Oh brother, Chris, the Protestant ethic
chafed me like tweed, clashed
with your dark secret and my own
we held tight to as boys. Yours turned out bigger
and badder than mine – only to see itself whittled down
slowly, and gradually faster, collapsing
finally from the gravity of hate.
Far too often returns the image of caged wolves
pacing frantically in the late afternoon, Philadelphia July heat,
but mother wanted us to see everything a zoo was about;
and too often, the memory of my impatience
with my brother’s phone calls, placed
between one and two a.m.
the way I demanded
and how even with that I sometimes
didn’t pick up, let him ramble until the machine timed out;
then, the hush of hospital corridors and stairwells
when, hung-over and hypoglycemic, I couldn’t find
a doctor to stall the march of pestilence
in my mother’s brain.
All this from old messages
pressed between poems
I still admire, even as so many of their authors
die or retire, lose their edge or just their will.
All this as the sculptor chisels free the core
trapped in the slab, while sparks of marble 
ignite the surrounding cloud of dust,
leaving me waiting
to see what grainy god emerges,
what monster begins to uncoil.
DPK Headshot
David P. Kozinski’s first full-length book of poems, Tripping Over Memorial Day  (Kelsay Books) came out in January. He won the Delaware Literary Connection’s 2015 spring poetry contest and the Seventh Annual Dogfish Head Poetry Prize, which included publication of his chapbook, Loopholes (The Broadkill Press). Publications include Apiary, Cheat River Review, Fox Chase Review, Philadelphia StoriesSchuylkill Valley Journal & Rasputin.

Tripping Over Memorial Day by David P. Kozinski

kozinski book
Review by g emil reutter
David Kozinski’s Tripping Over Memorial Day is a unique collection of poems combining urban grit and nature, of looking back and looking forward. In the poem Christmas 2010 Kozinski pens gentle realist imagery such as Half an hour before dark/there is no sailor’s delight on the horizon to The balm of forgetfulness/mutes the clang of language and in the last stanza, my father-in-law recites the gentlest hymn. /For him the most recent past dims/or disappears altogether/Our shaping moments/filtered, re-emerge into focus—His voice is quiet yet his observations are not sugar coated in this poem on aging.
In the poem First Christmas in Philadelphia Kozinski in the first three stanzas brings us into the grit of the city:  
Cut firs stood
in green fatigued
ranks on the corner
of the parking lot by the grocery
where gypsies hustled in the cold.
Every night the fire engines
roared down 44th Street
and teased
the news.
Forgotten are the reasons for this lullaby lush
with strings and sung clearly is paired
with finality of an abandoned
well, with the street smarted
calico I put to sleep
years later.
In a dark region
we are reunited, her white
fur gray with Sansom Street soot.
Into a Dark Land brings the reader face to face with immigration where only reflected light reaches corners/ baffled voices seep/through windowpanes and doorframes…the weight of sunrise and dusk/is an overcoat thrown off/and wings once dropped like sere leaves/unfold in a wakening field.
From the second stanza of Bailing:
my ancestors slip
in and out of trunks and portholes,
between the ribs and around the pipes;
            step on my tubes
of cobalt blue and mars black
with clodhoppers and grind
my bloodiest pencils into mud:
What Happened In Europe.
In Tripping Over Memorial Day he brings us into the muck in the last stanza with vivid images: It was swampy as Delaware/gets– dark, rubbery snakes/along the embankment, the river backing up like a clogged drain/birds restless in the dead air/under clouds that wouldn’t rain—a sermon proper for the abattoir.
Kozinski is an artist as well as a poet. He has given us a collection poems of not just words but of word painted from the palette of poet who has lived a full life and has keenly developed images such as this from the second stanza of Visitor:
Into the woods on a searing
summer morning it played
with reflections of overhanging boughs
and with my numbing hands
cupped so long in the slow motion water;
trailed across the sloppy stones
onto the mossy little island
I claimed as my own.
g emil reutter is a writer of poems and stories. You can find him here:About g emil reutter