Light is a frequent presence in Gerry Cambridge’s first collection in nine years. Notes begins and ends with light’s variation—fire: the winter fire in the grate, the fire of the sun at the world’s edge. Between these two poles are poems of desire, possession and memory. Clear-eyed and grave, this is the author’s most mature book to date. This paperback edition contains five new poems not in its hard backed predecessor.
Gerry Cambridge edits the Scottish-American journal, The Dark Horse.
Shaving your head is to go bare
under the full hot press of sun
frying your baldy scalp; to stop
ducking and feinting behind your hair;
to buzzingly shear all adornment, all
ornament and frippery, present
straightforward you to the world.
It is to feel the caress of the sexy air, and see
your father staring back at you
from out in the winter night
in a travelling train’s window. It is to aspire
to the plainness of nouns, to stop
time by pre-empting time, and the instant
absurdity of combs. It is to bow
your head like an old dog
for a lover to dome your brow
in her cool palms, knowing the bloody
pulsing brain beneath. It is
an attempt at honesty, a minor
variety of courage; to be
a hot thin soil for rain.