David Robert Books
Chapbook, 75 pages
Link to Purchase
Reviewed by Martin Abramson
My brain is on a shopping spree,
The birthday of my life has come!
Because my love is such a jerk
And finally I’ve dumped the bum.
Friends, I’m no longer saying this for fun.
Road rage has made me rampage through the town.
I’m out of Prozac, and I have a gun.
So would you kindly put your cell phone down?
I’m here beside you, but it’s not the same.
I’m out of time, although I’m still in space.
If only you would call me by my name,
I’d step out like a portrait from its frame
And we could look each other in the face.
A recurring theme treats of the poet’s mother’s disappointment at her daughter’s plainness paired with the preference of not-too-bright men for big bosoms. Both complaints are included in “My Personal Recollections of Not Being Asked to the Prom”; a neat little sonnet with the sestet:
And my poor mom who never bought a fluffy
ball gown or showed me how to dress my hair—
she must have wondered where she got this stuffy
daughter. She didn’t say it, but her stare
asked whether genes or nurture were to blame.
(But I got married, Mother, all the same.)
Ms.White often makes her highly personalized points through fairy tales. Because she loves animals, Beauty likes the Beast, who is “kindly natured though his face is grim” and “won’t risk children who might look like him.” “Snow White at Fifty”” realizes that “ever after” goes by sooner than we think. These and many other dark streaks of pigment tinge the procession of portraits presented by Ms. White, so I would not leave the impression that Easy Marks is sheer comedy. But the overall tone of the book is upbeat as is Fra Angelica who turns from a panorama of horrors in his masterpiece, The Last Judgment, “to paint the angel whose bare, shapely foot / begins the dance that keeps eternal time.”
And in a defining note from “Christmas on Rhodes”:
But tides recede: I know this moment’s worth.
If love of beauty were the same as faith,
I’d walk in heaven with my feet on earth.