Poetry Dispatch No.94 | August 2, 2006
This is the second or third appearance of Ron Offen in Poetry Dispatch, but today we celebrate his new collection of poems OFF-TARGET, with drawings by William Anthony “…hilarious and often profound,” says the New York Times.
A perfect match. Offen’s pensive lines, and Anthony’s sharp/sad pen which pull both word and image together on the page, leaving us somewhere in a Woody Allen world, talking in the dark, trying to convince himself life is okay and he will live another day. Maybe. There are many funny poems written, but not many that make us smile, wince, and think at the same time. Then linger around awhile, days later. Ron Offen is one of those rare poets who reinvents the language of the human comedy in each of these poems.
Definitely, on-target. Norbert Blei
The rain had stopped, the wind had stilled.
Across a distance of wet warmth
the gonging of the bells
uncertain of a destination.
Announcing what? he wondered.
Summer had tossed a salad
of its greens into the air.
“Isn’t this where we belong?” he asked.
“I guess not,” she almost thought
“It makes you feel like you’re going to be lost forever.”
—Mark, an autistic man, describing his favorite Disneyland ride, which he couldn’t name.
Unlike you, some can name the ride—
sex, sunsets, or some odd obsession,
like poetry—that can roller coaster them
up, up, then down, a whoosh to where
there is no them, except a take-
Yet, we do share your oblique
perspective on the paradox of why
we seek what fills us most
with life in order to escape it.
It seems the “lost forever” that we long
for, can’t be there until we’re gone.
Uncle Jack Recollects
When life was black and white
as the snapshots we’d exchange,
when romance was as serious
as one’s first Monopoly game,
when kisses were sweet questions
and tomorrows sure as breath,
then time replayed like a movie
in which only losers met death.
from OFF-TARGET, poems by Ron Offen, drawings by William Anthony, d’cypher Press, 2006, $10.