The Light in Our Houses by Al Maginnes

The Light in Our Houses won the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Series award this year.  I just got it in the mail yesterday.  It's great!  For those of us with connections to small towns and the South, we'll recognize the people landscaping these poems.  Marines writes about common poetry/life topics such as lost youth, passage of time, music and poetry, but his treatment of them feel real, and a little gritty.  He's able to connect the stories he's telling to a larger experience.  In short, they connect to the reader.  Buy here.


From "The Lost Child"

I have no idea what has become of Gary Fox or any of that line / of boys under the dam. My family moved, then moved again; / those boys have gone wherever they have gone. / They surface attached to incident, faces struggling for names, / then slip back into the swift-moving water / whose one bank is forgetfulness, whose other is time.


From "Chasing Johnny Armstrong"

Even the windows are painted over, / as if to hold in the hundreds of hours // worn to dust there . . .


From "The Room Below the River"

In one of my childhood books, a boy dived / to the bottom of the river to find a chamber / where some treasure needed for his journey home / was hidden. His return to the realm / of light and air was meant to be a rebirth, / but let's believe those boys who never surface // learn to outlast the need for air, . . . 


From "Calling It Home"

Beginning a new life must be like that. / Something small and wild moves / on the edge of your vision. You call it / and sometimes it comes close enough / you believe you can give it a name.