New Jersey poet Jack Wiler died last month.
I knew him slightly through the Dodge Foundation's Poetry Program, and heard him read at one of their festivals.
He was edgy, with his cool exterminator's t-shirt. And real -- the t-shirt doubled as advertisement for Jack's day job. His poetry found the music in every day people working and living their lives. No ivory tower here.
Here is a poem by Jack Wiler:
Love Poem at the Beginning of Summer
This is a love poem about empty places.
About blank walls.
About light in the night and noises on the street.
This is a love poem where no one is there.
This is a love poem for you.
This is your house.
This is the light you make.
The soft light of a summer night.
The noises from the bars down the block.
The girls screaming at their lovers.
Your clothes spread across the bed.
You spread across the bed.
The sun in the afternoon. Too hot sometimes to bear.
The smell of your skin.
You mixed carrots and soda for tanning cream.
That taste is in this poem.
This is a love poem without you in it.
Like every love poem should be.
I love the insistence of "This is a love poem without you in it./ Like every love poem should be." A true love poem can't capture its object. The beloved has to live and breathe in the spaces between the words, where language can't go.
I'm thankful for poets like Jack Wiler, the non-MFAs who all of us meet in our regular day -- exterminators and public school teachers and dry cleaners. I'm sad that we've lost one of those voices in Jack.
Today's Poetry Friday round up is at the Drift Record.