Ten Poems from Clearings in the Throat

by David Bromige
20 pp, Saddle-stitched
D Press 2005 Sebastopol

Preface by Bouvard Pécuchet

The classic California bungalow on High Street was awash with afternoon
sunshine. The poet laureate, an aged Apollo in bronzed splendor, was sorting
through an accumulation of paperwork in anticipation of selling his library.
 I reached into the pile of detritus at his feet and extracted the manuscript
for the book of poems that you have in your hands from between a torn copy
of a N.E.A. grant application and the guest directory of a Best Western Inn.
 Bromige's eyesight has been failing for some time, but he caught my slight
of hand movement, as I secreted the papers inside my coat. “What's that?”
he inquired.
 “Finder's keepers,” I replied, and then played deaf and dumb. I felt a little
bit like Herman Hesse, stumbling onto the trunk that contained the pages of
Steppenwolf . Well, maybe not that grand. But a windfall is still a windfall,
and I knew just the man to set these poems up.
 So, here we go—a few more words thrown into the void. Beautiful words.

Open wide

The last time i went to the dentist
there was nowhere to spit
Not simply that they inserted the saliva-sucker
but once they took that thing back out
He saw me looking frantically around
Cost accounting showed us each time a patient spits
we're losing time so we removed those bowls
he told me as i swallowed to show i understood

Might be right

Rawls' test of justice says
Pretend you're not born yet
So you might be born a millionaire
or you might be born a pauper
Now what social system do you choose

I saw myself sitting here saying this
with no small degree of smugness
assured of its success
I might be rawls himself

for we share the same reason
Except that a man began to shout
that he had a gun
We looked up then
It was an expensive one, more accurate

Reality, of continuing interest

The highway patrol often overestimate
the speed of a car painted red

Persons subject to leadfoot
often buy red-colored cars


Being a superstitious person
accords wisdom to old ways
There's no control so who can say
Better safe than sorry
and not somehow mean it
We are nonetheless civilized
with a touching faith in reason
and so a sense of contradiction
goes with me all my days
around ladders and over cracks
and when night comes
in dreams and violent rites
attacks the vacant space
while thinking twice