Poetry. Paper, perfect bound, 66 pp
$14.95 plus s&h
2009, ISBN 978-0932412-805
Chris Green is a poet who writes with wings. His clear-cut honesty embraces his subject matter. Epiphany School, penned with all the wonder and curiosity of a wise child, is not a book for the timid, the slack-minded, the duped or sleeping. These are poems that hold us in their headlights and tap our backs in the dark, that beg us to notice life and death, the big and small moments of illumination in our lives. The poems range from gut-wrenching to heart-breaking, but, throughout the book, a sense of humor prevails. Each turn of thought and phrase arrives unexpectedly with a poignancy that touches on the revelatory. This is the Green movement we’ve been waiting for.
New Recruit at the Zoo
by Chris Green
I tell my toddler the Afghan leopard
is sleeping and not dead. I don’t know why
I say it that way.
Parents with a son in military dress
ask me to take their photo. They pose
before the pen’s fresco of mountains and blue sky
where a painted river dreams through a painted canyon—
Afghanistan as eternal summer day
made for sleeping by.
lifts him and his parents
and with a little
wise adjustment on my part,
the whole world focuses on the boy’s beret.
“Death, I’m coming,” his little hat calls.
The leopard waits for whatever,
his coat the dark and his spots the patient stars.
I ask the soldier and his parents to stand closer
(I thought they would touch), but they stay
separate and unsmiling, as if staring into fire.
Chris Green is the author of The Sky Over Walgreens (Mayapple Press, 2007) and Epiphany School (Mayapple Press, 2009). His poetry has appeared in such journals as Poetry, Verse, Black Clock, North American Review, RATTLE, Court Green, and 5 AM. He edited the anthology, A Writers’ Congress: Chicago Poets on Barack Obama’s Inauguration (DePaul Poetry Institute, 2009). He is a Visiting Fellow at DePaul University’s Humanities Center, teaches poetry at DePaul, and is Director of New Programs for DePaul’s Continuing and Professional Education.