So I just bought the pdf version of Robert Okaji’s chapbook of poetry, If Your Matter Could Reform, and as my southern friends would say, y’all should too. Look at the elegant sparseness of his verses, as in this example from “Wind”:
that it moves, that it blends,
that it withdraws and returns without
remorse, without forethought, that it
increases, expands, subtracts,
Or the important comment on our current racist moment in America from “If We Burn”:
change I can’t breathe from epitaph
to actuated plea for help?
Are words ever enough?
Can we stack our indifference and fear
into a mile-high pyre, and torching it
watch them rise to nothingness,
Or the quiet confidence that sets up an image and lets it do what it needs to, as in the end of “Ashes”:
Today the rain spells forgive
and every idea becomes form, every shadow a symptom,
each gesture a word, a naming in silence.
Scatter me in air I’ve never breathed.
I mean, fuck, people! I have seen the rain spell forgive, a very long time ago, to be sure, but I have seen it. And he just lays out this beautiful little impossible thing for us, a gift like a tiny origami crane in your open hand and walks quietly away.
The way I look at it, a man who can say, “In the marrowbone of night,/your song parts the fog” deserves your two or six bucks (pdf/paper). And as you know by now, that is a professional opinion.