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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Quinton Duval - We lost him this week. One of the great ones.

Quinton Duval died this week of a quick cancer that stole him from us within three weeks. He was one of the best American poets writing today. An insightful, eloquent, elegant poet who was always perfect with his words. The above photo is Quinton with his wife Nancy. I cribbed two of the poems from Medusa's Kitchen. Thank you Kathy. Please take the time to read Quinton's work. Joe's Rain is the title poem from his last book. Cedar House Books, 610 East Delano Street, Suite 104, Tucson, Arizona 85705; ISBN# 0-9635727-9-2, $12.00

Joe’s Rain

This late rain drives
into the dry soil
silent through the windows
that look out back.
One big robin bathes
in a saucer left out,
but that doesn’t mean much.
Two weeks ago a man stood
where the rain is falling,
frail, stooped, but standing,
forming words and making sense
about plants and birds and
what a garden does for your soul.
All the daylight is nearly burned,
smoke and ash of evening.
Lights from the house shine
back from wet concrete
this late rain has darkened.
The moon, we learn, reflects
the sun, so that’s what’s real.
I swear I hear a mockingbird
sound just like an alarm clock
mornings when I don’t have to
get up. So that is real too.
And today, wet streets
under the overpass, trucks above
barreling somewhere hurried,
a shower of cherries, shaken
from their crates around a curve
rained down in front of me
and adorned the roadway.
Farmers don’t like rain
when their crop is on the tree.
But I like rain almost always.
Bury us all near water,
scatter us all on water.
If it can rain cherries, it can rain
anything. Does this help?
Have a glass of rain on me.


How can you stay so beautiful?

At once so pale and broken

into blossoming scraps, then

the dark, smooth branches,

I mean black, that give up

an odd petal to the spring wind.

How do you seem to know

where to set yourself down?

You have all kinds of wild ideas.

I know redbud sees your play

of dark and light, and starts,

brushy, stubborn, with impossible seed.

All the right and fine things

derive from you, or something like you.

All the veined white blossoms

hold against the black branch, the alarm,

the thug of winter light, the whip

that arrives with such beauty.


Sometimes the longing begins early,

mornings steering the tractor through

uniform lines of grapes. The mist

settles between the rows, down where

the sulphur grabs hold of the leaves

and workers get that little cough

and surprising yellow in the kerchief.

But you are riding higher, inside the cab

no outer noise can seep into.

Bored, you decide the noise of the motor

is the noise it takes to make the whole

dark engine run, what it costs to play.

And all you see are unchanging rows,

occasional returns, like a ship

on a stage, afloat by simple optical

illusion. What others would see

as lucky, you write off as lonely

vistas, the same old same old thing.

Today you had bologna in your sandwich.

Today is Thursday. You can't remember

if that's what Thursdays always bring.

You long for a highway, a free-for-all

white line of constant change. The hands

that fold the lunch meat, lubricate the bread,

are hands you have watched for years.

Are they yours or hers? Does she wonder

where those lonely vistas will lead you?

Does she know how separate we are?


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