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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Poem-a-Day DBF countdown: Chad Davidson

The Aug. 26 cover story “Monsters of Poetry” puts the spotlight on the poet’s art to preview the fourth annual Decatur Book Festival, running through Sep. 6. This blog will count down the days to the festival – and through the festival — by posting a poem each day by a different writer, to let the verse speak for itself. For Sep. 5, “Target” by Chad Davidson.


Dear Arrowhead water, dear feather boa, dear father

and mother with the toddler and cartful of candles:

I wanted to tell you the sky swished open its doors

this morning, the whole shebang slid by on felt,

and I entered the mythic fires of stoicism,

bore my nakedness in the manner of Shackleton,

defiantly ignorant. For I know that Target, centerless

like new pedagogies, loves the good good,

loves punishment somehow instructing

a niche audience. That’s me. I love to finger

the Milano-style whatnot, bend the necks

of five-headed floor lamps. Yes, I love you dearly,

dear church of the cherished storage bin,

dear Cheerios and the bowl to drown you in,

dear warehouse sky, dear reindeer aiming the beads

of your eyes at my impulse buys. Once, I shot a gun

in the desert, laid it down in the sand, and said

a small prayer to prayers of small sizes.

Years later, we navigated the marked-downs

and Doritos safe in their Mylar pillows,

thought we’d stripped ourselves clean

of desire’s burrs and foxtails, even as popcorn

[stanza break]

promised low-sodium transubstantiation.

We were registering, the word itself green and bearded,

so aimed our fantastic machines at the crock

pot and bath rug, at the iPod snug in its skin.

We dressed ourselves in the warmth of that small space

heater, fed the nuisance of class consciousness

little biscuits. How cloudless, how terrible and lucid

the distances we traveled for our dear wedding guests—

dear, which my Italian friend uses in that foreign way,

as in, That pair of pants is too dear. And how dear, how shear

the night, we thought, dearly beloved, outside the Target,

the headlights of all those cars trained on us.

Chad Davidson is the author of The Last Predicta (2008) and Consolation Miracle (2003), both on Southern Illinois UP, as well as co-author with Gregory Fraser of Writing Poetry: Creative and Critical Approaches, (Palgrave Macmillan 2009). He has work forthcoming or recently appearing in DoubleTake, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Virginia Quarterly Review, and others. He is an associate professor of literature and creative writing at the University of West Georgia near Atlanta.

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