The Land of Give and Take
Page Count: 98
Publication Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Cover Artwork: Untitled, mixed media on paper by Kyle Fitzpatrick – kylefitzpatrick.com
About this Book
In The Land of Give and Take, Tyler Farrell’s second collection of poems, a variety of characters appear as on a stage: teenagers and grandparents, priests and poets, the wise and the foolish, professors and proles. Their stories are told by an acute narrator, or often by the characters themselves, and as one poem says, “someone buys the story.” The reader buys these stories for their authenticity and pathos. Shadowing many of the poems is a conflicted Catholicism, sometimes resentful of the churches claims, but recognizing that nothing else gives weight and meaning to the lives of these transient personalities.
Tyler Farrell was born in Illinois, grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was educated by the Jesuits at Marquette High School and Creighton University, and by layfolk at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He has published poems, essays, and reviews in many periodicals, and a biographical essay for James Liddy’s Selected Poems (Arlen House, 2011). He teaches writing and literature at Marquette University and currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife Joan and their two sons. His first collection of poems Tethered to the Earth was published by Salmon Poetry in 2008.
The Truth of Angels and Ravens
If you have ever read an autobiography
of an Angel you know
they first kiss every page, then let
them float bound with white hair
in the morning mist of sunshine
until they drop
into the mailbox of God.
If God rejects the submission
(for he gets far more
than he can possibly publish)
he summons a raven
to collect the words - the small
symbols for mankind to decipher - and ties
them to a black feathered back
with golden string made from
stolen ingots confiscated from wall street
embezzlers and big business
brokers. Then the raven swoops down
to earth and drops the manuscript
at a bus stop, or train depot,
or alley way in Brooklyn to watch
the words blow like wind waves
of everyday lives.
And that is how we know
Angels write quite exaggerated
prose about the possibility of their existence.
Three Poems for Joyce and Beckett
Thoughts for James Joyce on Bloomsday, 2009
The heart is a son
made from a world of whispered names.
He makes us beg for secrets
in dark forests.
Trees peak still like Ireland
lit by a century of new slogans.
We are clothed in ancient flesh
borrowed like God’s candles
burnt down for cracks in wooden faces.
We make out lilies by the sea
faint white avenues in air
pavements where canes step down
coat sleeves beat a gesture from light.
Easter with Samuel Beckett (Born on Good Friday)
Upstairs my wife’s family is having house church.
Downstairs I’m waiting for Godot.
Poem Written on James Joyce’s Birthday, Feb 2, 2010
Clear glass eye-patch,
Mass card labyrinth.
I can see your sugar of roses
foul pleasures in the spring
emblazoned on a bench
pipe smell of burn.
A long letter
costs half a crown,
parchment caresses the skin.
Tremble now, say yes.
Copyright Tyler Farrell 2012