LIBIDO DREAMS, NEW AND SELECTED POEMS by GLENNA LUSCHEIHUGH FOX Reviews
Libido Dreams, New and Selected Poems by Glenna Luschei
(Artamo Press, Santa Barbara, CA, 2007)
Reading Glenna Luschei’s latest book Libido Dreams, the words that kept flowing through my mind were evanescence, ephemeralness, transience, loss, because the whole book is in essence one vast lamentation for the loss of time, life, the precious, transcendentally romantic NOW. At the same time, though, it’s not a message printed out in large letters on the living room wall, but hidden, subtle, artistically difficult.
Take “Kestrel,” for example:
Dammit! I couldn’t send you a Val-
entine this year; I drove you....I mean
your ashes to Yosemite.
When I saw you in your mask
I swerved into the fence post
but you perched again and
again, kestrel beside crow on the high
tension wire, everywhere along the Grapevine.
In the Lodge, too, the Kachina figure
of the kestrel said endurance.
The turtle on your garment said energy
from underground. In your codicil
you requested Delphi, the navel of the world.
Sure, I would chew those laurel
leaves for you, shimmy down the crevice
and screech my prophecy, “You’ll fry in Hell
for leaving me!” Fat lot of good that would do.
So I hike...unstead on the ice to
Bridal Veil Falls, throw a fist full of you
into the mist. My nostrils catch grit
flying back. Not bad.
Kestrel’s message from underground:
Endurance. I couldn’t get rid
of you if I tried.
On the surface it seems to be about a kind of falcon dying and being incinerated, turned into ashes, the ashes thrown into a waterfall....but there are levels and levels inside the poem. Fifty pages later and I could be still speculating about the multiple meanings. Why Delphi, the shrine of Apollo, the site of the Delphi oracle....a word that comes through the centuries to us (delphic) meaning ambiguous, multi-leveled.
That Luschei is!
And always the sense of evanescent time next to permanent eternity/death. Like in the poem “Amber,” which on level one is about a boat-trip to Copenhagen. The other passengers are off to tourist, but not Glenna. She finds amber ,” ...Resin locked in trees/for 53 million years. A mosquito’s/pinned down, wings back. Not a bad way to spend eternity.” (p.49). Life, touristing, versus the eternity of death.
The message keeps coming back over and over again: While you have it, enjoy it, when it vanishes, it vanishes forever.
Like in “Rain Dance,” one of her sons marrying a Mexican beauty, meeting her former husband at the wedding, dancing with him: “...we danced in the rain until dawn/until all the roses fell upon our path.” (p.25).
Always endowed with a powerful sense of the beauty of the Now, and the most arful, delicately delicious ways of portraying it, the message never escapes us, “Expand into what you have....while you (evanescently) have it!”
Hugh Fox, born in Chicago in 1932, has some 86 books published, BUT HIS MOST IMPORTANT WORK STILL REMAINS UNPUBLISHED, ESPECIALLY HIS MAJOR NOVELS. A book of his plays is coming out in 2007, as is his fantasy novel Voyage to the House of Yama and a book of poetry from Higganum Hill Press. His autobiography, Way, Way Off the Road was published by Ibbetson Street Press in Somerville, Massachusetts.