[So far, all of my books have taken their titles from one of the poems in the book. Here is the title poem for this book:]
The events surrounding this poem don’t need to be described; the poem is pretty thorough in that regard. I only want to add that Rob was a very dear, very straight friend–for whom I’d travel half-way around the world if he asked.
Two-Ply and Extra Sensitive
I don’t remember why we fought in 1979.
I didn’t even know you knew Lord Byron
(Who does these days?); but I wrote:
So we’ll go no more a-roving
So late into the night?
and taped it to your door.
Late the following evening,
I found your reply folded and lodged in my door jamb:
Though the heart be still as loving
And the moon be still as bright.
Eight years later,
when you called and asked me to come to Poland,
I thought you were insane so I did it.
You told me to bring a large suitcase
full of toilet paper and condoms. Abrupty,
the matronly Polish operator broke in and barked,
“Change the subject of your conversation,
On Christmas Eve,
you greeted me at the Warsaw Airport
with kolady, flowers, wrapped in cellophane,
and we took the train back to your
unheated dorm in Krakow.
I gave you a suitcase full of two-ply and extra sensitive
and you gave me the Black Madonna of Czestochowa
and six fragrant tangerines.
Two-Ply and Extra Sensitive, Published Poems 2000-2005 (Sheltering Pines Press, 2007, 49 pp., $10)
Abraham and Jacob
I argue with poems
the way Abraham argued with God:
fearless in the face of my own destruction.
(The good ones always argue back.)
And if, like Jacob,
I limp away from the match,
at least I know the poem will remember me
the way that wrestling angel
still remembers him.
The emotional and geographical range of Albert’s poems, from Texas, to World War II France, to the Mideast, the South, and Poland, and the particulars of the seasons in New England, is sweeping and exciting. I was caught up in every story, every scene. I like the mixture of “looking back” poems and ones vividly set in the present, with the “poetry” poems providing just the right contrast–not too much or too little. His deft handling of many settings and themes, with a frequent, welcome leavening of humor, marks a mature poet who has read and written a lot. Albert is obviously in love with words and knows how to bend them to his purpose.
Alice Persons, editor, Moon Pie Press.
A review by Rebecca Rule: