arrived in my mailbox yesterday. And I mean that literally.
It’s the title (taken from Voltaire’s Candide) of Michael Odom’s most recent chapbook.
Here’s a stunning image from his poem titled “Boredom Poem #9:”
“…in the chasm between life and life, philosophies breed and cannot help but swarm like bees with the queen on the move, alighting on lamp posts, forming masses, until some competent hand with calming smoke lifts her to a fresh hive; a salvation she & I cannot expect.”
And the poem, “Without Power:”
Let’s burn the computer for fuel and use The TV for a hearth. Tonight I feel Like a Zealot on Jerusalem’s wall. The banks are closed now. And see, the sky Has opened starry eyes. Look at my face (In waning evening, clouds across the moon Seem worry lines): no blemish, no wrinkle. Our cards are maxed. There’s nothing we can buy. But let’s not sleep. Touch. Feel for glass and trace The wet rim. Let a deep note guide your pour.
Odom’s poems cover love, sex, death—oh yes, and boredom, vice, and poverty, those subjects that only this poet can illuminate so effectively by the light of the moon or a flickering TV screen. Lest you think it’s a depressing read, please know that Odom has a wicked sense of humor. How’s it feel to be a poet? He has an answer for you.
Boredom Poem #3
It’s a competition: surfing. I grab a wave as it strides, poses, turns, and recedes. Then the next. Oh it’s so hard to choose one from the pageant, to say this one is the best one for this year’s monogamy. Or is this a workshop, with bulges and stubs called and deleted until I have chiseled the perfect long-legged poem. Or fifty of them. Each new, each year, and each I could love, generically, as they lap on me, gently. Or I could wet a hand shooting the tubes. Oh I could level the ocean with embraces like Jesus. Or I could masturbate in the pool.
Just know that at any given moment, that answer will change.