Saturday, October 15, 2016

David McIntire's No One Will Believe You: Songs of the Aftermath

“Poets are, in fact, the only real  time travelers that our culture has ever managed to produce.” - David McIntire/No One Will Believe You: Songs of the Aftermath

I’m sure the above quote has been written/will be a thousand different ways by poets past/present/future, but there is truth in these words, just as there is truth in all good writing - it takes the Reader (universal) into a place and time where they’ve not previously occupied. Poetry brings the reader into the truth of the moment, sometimes euphemistically, other times approximately, but the poems in McIntire’s new chapbook, No One WIll Believe You: Songs of the Aftermath (copyright 2016 International Word Bank Press), put the reader square into the savage, instant, raw pain of death and loss.

According to McIntire, No One is centered around two simultaneous incidents: the death of his marriage, and the death of his ex-wife, poet, Cat Angelique McIntire. McIntire states that these poems do not need to be read in a linear fashion, and he’s correct, as death and loss are not a linear experience. Open any page in No One, and the theme of death and loss, the grief that binds them together, is also the fuel that powers McIntire’s passionate poems. This is not an easy chapbook to sink into, and it’s not supposed to be, but the strong and unvarnished tone of McIntire’s words makes it an unforgettable experience, as in the poem “Dark Wind,” which expresses loss that is happening in the moment, and the loss that is yet to come:

the loosened threads should not be pulled
and yet
we pull
we think we know better this time

we do not know better this time

the tatters we call memory
are cruel and sharp
the dregs we call love
are bitter

we simply do not know any better
than the last time we stood
on the edge of this strange darkness
this mourning that ruffles our hair
and loosened threads
and the tatters…

and we pull
and watch as our world flutters to the ground
wet with our regrets

No One is not just about death and loss, but it also answers the question, at least for McIntire, and more likely, for the reader, how/ what the person becomes as grief shapes them into something, or someone else. In a sense, the poems in No One document the rebirth of McIntire as a poet, as he, and the reader, rediscover that part of us which cannot be overcome - our humanity - which, in the end, is all that’s really needed to keep moving forward in life, as in the poem “Death Poem #9”:

i have been instructed
to weep
to wail
to tear the skies
from the broken willows
upon which they drape so sadly
so darkly
i have been instructed
to lean into the grief
to roll the confusion into balls
and learn to juggle
i smile at strangers
and talk to seagulls

this is how I know I am still alive

No One Will Believe You: Songs of the Aftermath, leaves me with only one question. Who will McIntire become, ultimately, as a poet, and as a human being, a question that we all must ask ourselves, if we are to become better than what we are, at any given moment. I look forward to reading more of McIntire’s work in the future.   

No One Will Believe You: Songs of the Aftermath, © 2016 David McIntire, Baxter Daniels Ink Press International Word Bank,, ISBN 9781537236490, 99 pages, $10.00    

© 2016 marie c lecrivain

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