The Sliding Glass Door. Scott Poole. Colonus Publishing. Spokane, Washington. 2011.
Scott Poole's The Sliding Glass Door is George Carlin Steve Martin Jim Carrey funny, but he's no comedian. These poems were written by an adult Dr. Seuss, someone who sees and understands the poetic parallel universe.
It's obvious Scott Poole wasn't born at all but formed out of diverse parts in some strange laboratory at the hands of a literary Dr. Frankenstein. Luck for us.
I was in one of those Jiffy Lube
six-by-six waiting rooms,
picking at my crack, when
I noticed a bald man with a long white beard
staring at me while I tried
to relieve the itching
through persistently unwieldy layers
of denim, cotton and rain jacket material.
I thought: This guy looks just like Aristotle.
What if this is Aristotle,
a man who decided that everything
in the universe should be pigeon-holed,
cubbied, stuffed, and jammed into
its own singular definition
so that an average guy of average mind
may be able to understand the vagaries
of the universe through
the routine categorizations of daily life?
That was really nice of him to think of all that.
I hoped I wasn't insulting his theories
but instead proving them to be true somehow
by picking my butt in a Jiffy Lube.
Obviously, Aristotle is dead,
but at least it took my mind off
the itching for a moment.
"Thanks Aristotle." Scott Poole cracks me up.
Poole muses so clever it is impossible not be enthralled with where he is headed next.
These poems explode like carefully timed land-mines of joy and precise wit.
Poole is politely realigning the way the reader sees the universe by inviting them into his private party.
I want to hear what Poole has to say about everything under the sun, whatever he wants. Each and every poem in this collection is a damned monster. And Today's book of poetry loves monster poems.
By Way of Explanation
I was driving up the freeway exit ramp
and a cardboard sign
in a man's hand
read: "Please help, Scott."
First, I thought
you're kind of limiting your options.
I mean how many Scotts
could there possibly be
that might drive by?
What if your name
and you had raging case of altruism?
But then I thought
this man's name is Scott
and he just wants you to know
who you are giving to.
A personal touch.
This guy is a pro.
But then it occurred to me
he might be asking for help
for me, Scott.
And I thought
that's really, really nice of him.
Nobody's asked him to collect help for me.
And I suddenly realized
that maybe I could use a helping hand
and I didn't even know it.
I looked up to the heavens
and thanked them
for bringing this special soul
into my dismal day
when I accidentally
ran him over with my car.
What sort of surreal madness is this? The very best kind. The Sliding Glass Door is an open invitation to a Brave New World quite unlike any you've been to -- and shockingly familiar.
Scott Poole uses poetry the way Escher uses a pencil -- and to similar result, beautifully illustrated consternation.
How Good It Feels To Die
I was buried yesterday.
Yes, maybe I should have been more careful.
I was taking a stroll through the graveyard
and this coffin was just nestled there in the ground,
and you know it was one of those sleepy fall days
where the sun is soft and slants in
from the right on a cool carpet of air.
Maybe it's those leaves . . . the shuffling
through the graveyard . . . the whispering
that always turns me into a baby, says,
"Just take a nap here before dinner time."
Hey, I can't help it if somebody left the lid off.
You can't leave this fluffy softness just lying around
in a muddy graveyard.
I'd been writing poems all day and trying to
come up with new metaphors for clouds,
so many metaphors that if felt like
each cloud was sticking a thousand white asses at me.
And you'd be surprise how comfy a coffin is.
I mean, some dead people really have it made.
I imagined this is how lunchmeat feels
in between two pieces of soft white bread.
I don't know how long I was there but
I woke up in the dark trying to roll over.
I'm not that stupid. I had my cell phone. I knew where I was.
You'd be amazed what great reception the dead get.
"Hi, honey, it's me.
Yes, I'm at Lone Fir."
"Oh, not again," she always says.
"Yep, I'm calling from the grave.
It's the fresh dirt by the big oak near the road.
Call me back if you can't find it."
And then I wait
and the best part is always the wait,
snuggled inside the dark,
listening for shovel taps,
knowing those who love you
are on their way to bring your back.
Today's book of poetry almost always loves his job, my job. Books like Scott Poole's The Sliding Glass Door move me to generous glee.
I gave everyone in the office a bonus, the rest of the day off and a big kiss when they left.
Everyone except Dave, the new intern, he has to sit in the corner reading The Sliding Glass Door until he smiles, or the wine runs out, whichever comes first.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Please note: this Bio is lifted, without permission, directly from Scott Poole's Facebook page.Scott Poole is the author of three books of poetry, The Sliding Glass Door, The Cheap Seats and Hiding from Salesmen. He's the "house poet" of Oregon Public Broadcasting's show Live Wire!. He is also the founding director of both the Spokane Book Festival (Get Lit!) and the Portland, OR bookfestival (Wordstock). Currently, he is a software developer in Portland, OR.
With an irresistibly zany and vaudevillean energy, these poems begin in an anecdotal mode fully suited to recounting a 2,523 banjo hootenanny or a party at which the host serves 800 scrambled eggs -- enough to fill a plate the size of a hot tub. That mode gains depth and resonance, turning toward the elegaic, the poignantly surreal. In one poem, the speaker alternately smears and cleans a sliding glass door until he can look through it and see those "...animals on the edges of time, performing / the rituals from which they were born." Each of Scott Pooles' artfully colloquial poems visits "...places / we never thought / we would go for love / or the loss of it."
- Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate, author of The Voluptuary, Blood-Silk, and The Wild Awake
I've walked smack into a sliding glass door on more than one occasion. They look left open, or somehow you just don't notice. They're tricky that way. Scott Poole's poems are like that, too: clear
and wide and inviting, with a crazy fun party going on inside, then wham -- you've smacked into something you didn't know was there, some sorrow, or wisdom, or rearrangement of the way you see the world. So go ahead and laugh your ass off because lots of these poems are hilarious. But be prepared to crash headfirst, too, into truths you may have overlooked and into moments of daily beauty you didn't know were there.
- Rob Carney, author of Story Problems; Weather Report; and Boasts, Toasts, and Ghosts
Like most of us you probably crave a world where men sit around listening to tape recordings of their deceased wives doing the dishes; a world where there are deeply disturbed fish that move slowly through cold, dark water kissing the asses of other deeply disturbed fish; a world where an old man can still destroy his whole village simply by owning an elegant elephant billy goat. If this is you, then you have come to the right place. Scott Poole's The Sliding Glass Door is, among other things, sometimes very strange and always very funny -- it puts a reader under its immediate spell. What are you waiting for? It is time to read The Sliding Glass Door.
- Michael Earl Craig, author of Thin Kimono; Yes, Master; and Can You Relax in My House.
Reads on Live Wire Radio
January 2, 2009
Please note that Colonus Publishing sponsors a number of poetry contests/prizes. Follow their link.
Poems cited here are assumed to be under copyright by the poet and/or publisher. They are shown here for publicity and review purposes. For any other kind of re-use of these poems, please contact the listed publishers for permission.