“Perhaps you could loosen your self within your skin”, Michael Bazzett suggests in his collection of poems entitled You Must Remember This. “There is no need to talk,” he says because there’s something too uncertain. “It ends as it begins” he writes and, working through his pages, allows us to peer through riddles, jokes and puzzles that reveal our inner lack of sense.
“Beehives that replaced my heart,” he writes “make honey from the loss.” He knows we’re far too complicated to simplify existence. Try though we may, Bazzett notes we’re fighting to make progress. “September picnics” can be peaceful or by “happily eating an orange” we might find some keen relief. Beware though, for “spotty fruits” draw in “wasps” and from “damp brown bags” the lurking danger rises
Is it true there are no simple joys? No greater, hidden pleasures?
Maybe Bazzett knows the way. As tour guide and smarter eye we peer into a world where riddles become answers. “We share some version of the same bones,” he writes, “this is not a new form of perversity, but an old one.”
In section one of You Must Remember This, we’re kindly kept in confidence. Bazzett writes of knowing and recalling and smartly deploys his poetic senses of perception. He’s seeing truth and hearing reality. Do our senses have the needed tricks? Clocks are silly, faces “sag” like “curtains beneath the eyes.” We see “crepe-paper crink of the skin” and “tired” “clay of face.” I see poetry of knowing.
“When I open my mouth,” he writes, “it also fills with something called sky.” We’re delving deep into reality. Bazzett knows there’s something more. “No one got it or if they did,” he says, “no one cares.” In section two the question marks become a warning and we find in what we thought were tools for knowing, eyes and ears and sights and sounds, are distortions of the truth. We’ve reached some sort of trouble. What was clear in section one becomes “the silence of truth unspoken.” Scenes of understanding are “too clear for memory.” Can we never trust ourselves?
In his image of an empty birdbath “waiting for rain” Bazzett shows a chilling sense of dread.
Will it ever start to rain?
We cannot know because the world is too deceitful. The “Orangutan was electric” and our houses, which we so much loved, are “most effective prison.” What chaos comes in section three? “They were out there, weaving drunkenly”.
There’s no more knowledge in section three of You Must Remember This. We spiral, lost and cursed with knowing we’re not capable. We simply can’t be trusted.
“The earth is” “boar broken,” lamb snagged” and “hoove churned.” Nature takes her form, “red in tooth and claw,” the trees “gave it away.” The Earth we thought we knew instead makes games of all our searching. “The line of black cars”? Call it anaconda or some lurking, source of fear. “Fur flecked,” “among the puddles,” we can make it whatever we want.
“Take me for my assemblage” he writes and recalling as his mind “wanders to the cabinet” see the logic in the riddle. Make it scary, make it funny or just turn the other cheek. Is this Bazzett showing us the way?
We cannot know for certain but control lies in our hearts. Existence, while a mystery, lies locked in our control. See as we do and hear it as we can, we’ve only left the tools at our disposal. What we make of life is our decision. Assemble life as you see fit and when reading Michael Bazzett know You Must Remember This becomes a document to living and testament to life. This poet is a guide.
JW Mark is a poet living in Ohio. His work has appeared in numerous national and international publications. His current goals are to secure a publisher for a collection of his work. He is the author of a novel, entitled Artifice, as well as a book of poems entitled Patched Collective and can be contacted at jwmarkmail [at] gmail.com or via his website http://jwmark.wordpress.com/