Author’s Note: For the first time in 20-plus years, the act of writing just didn’t seem important enough. Meredith was climbing her single digits, with Emmett dogging close behind, and the cycle of writing, submitting, and publishing had lost any of the allure it may once have held. They are, my children, exactly what a poem dreams to be, so I stopped, focused on being a father and a husband, and I read. One person I was looking at closely was philosopher/ecologist David Abram. His primary concern is in forming a direct, reciprocal relationship with nature, of recognizing it not only as a living bio-entity, but as a living being, with a consciousness, and a will. Really. His are books with a backbone of strung molars, not some neo post-hippie retro feel-good boogie-woogie, books which clearly elucidate the repercussions of our willful ignorance in our interactions with the natural world.
So I listened a little bit to what he was saying, and started to really try to pay attention to this planet that’s all around me, and after a while, strangely enough, I felt that twinge again, the writing one. I told myself, however, that if I did do this it would be on my terms, just write and don’t even consider the ancillary baggage; “nature” poems coming out of poetry’s left wing, Huelsenbeck, Huidobro, Arp, Peret, Mayakovsky, Stein, et al, the criminally neglected Out to Lunch Bunch. It was a slow slog, but at some point when I realized that I was amassing a number of poems, I started to think about grouping, which inevitably begged the question, grouping for whom? Well, for me, the first, best answer was Mudlark. I didn’t want to send them out on their own, didn’t want to even think about getting back into that game. The poems were trying to be a whole and work as one, and thankfully they are presented as such here. Please make of them what you will.
For the Smith Brothers
Because In Mapping Becomes Them Growing Up Perhapsatron The Hook Dog Blues The Portable Alone Jump Hots in Ocean Torn Witches & Devils Gone Crux the Alcove Geocentric Bone Salad The House of the Cross-Eyed Curve Karoline Wolf-Desert Sunset In Pinch Absolute, the Bigger Empty Black Rubber Birds Take Time Fail-Shine and the What Nothing Today The Nicaean Stomp How Wheat Thinks If Book in Sun and All Then Some Wheeling into Crisco Khalid, Lifted of Sleep Dogon A.D. and the Hard Blues Most Things Just Haven’t Worked Out
Jeffrey Little is the author of a number of poetry collections, including Five & Dime (Rank Stranger Press), The Book of Arcana and The Hotel Sterno (Spout Press, both), as well as two previous Mudlarks, crayola in arcana and Biography As In Syntax: The Babble Poems, Issue Nos. 15 and 22. His poetry pedals to the office on a stationary bike, and Delmore Schwartz has said of it, well, nothing. It is required here to divulge the fact that it is the winner of a 2001 Delaware Division of the Arts Established Professional Poetry Fellowship; other than that, it’s stonewalling, Chester. Jeffrey, on the other hand, is the proud father of two lovely children, Meredith and Emmett, and is the husband of the lovely-in-her-own-right fine artist Karoline Wileczek. In this, at least, he knows how truly lucky he is.
The cover image, Pineapple Landing, is an oil on canvas painting, 44 x 48 inches, done by Karoline Wileczek who has an MFA in Painting from the University of Minnesota and a BFA from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. Her work has been shown at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, The Soap Factory in Minneapolis, The Delaware Center for The Contemporary Arts, and is held in private collections across the country. She was a Delaware Division of the Arts Fellow in Painting for the year 2002 and a 2006 recipient of an Opportunity grant, also from the DDOA. She is currently working on a series of paintings exploring specific flora found in Delaware such as the skunk cabbage, the may apple, jack-in-the-pulpit, and Osage oranges. She continues to show with the Mamacita cooperative and is finishing up a commission for Einstein Hospital’s new Women’s Center in Montgomery County, PA.