Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thomas Lux

I would like to put up sections of a wonderful Thomas Lux poem—from his new book God Particles—even though doing so puts me in great personal danger:

Eyes Scooped Out and Replaced by Hot Coals

The above-the-punishment, the mild-
but-just punishment, symbolic,
the great advance our planet
most needs.
and binding, this: that the eyes shall be gouged out
and replaced by hot coals
in the head, the blockhead,
of each citizen who,
upon reaching his/her majority,
has yet to read
Moby-Dick, by Herman Melville (1819 - 1891), American novelist
and poet.

I await my hot coals. I'm sorry. I know I deserve them. (This year, though. I promise. This is my year to read Moby-Dick. Really.)

I have a copy of an old Thomas Lux book and I swear he looks like a member of the Rolling Stones on the cover. Here, look:

There's a wonderfully dark edge to the poems of Thomas Lux. The author photo (from 1979) seems to me to speak volumes about his work. His work is smart, a little formal—but the top button is unbuttoned under the tie.

He doesn't look like he suffers fools gladly, and he doesn't look like he suffers lazy poems gladly, either. So he simply doesn't write them.

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