Poetry Book Review:
The Trinity: poetry and art
by David e. Patton
Ezra Pound would be proud of David e. Patton. His voice is unique and not easily cloned. If there is a contemporary poet with a knack for making it new, David e. Patton is the one and his latest chapbook, The Trinity: poetry and art
, proves it.
Throughout The Trinity: poetry and art
one can see the influence of Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, and a bit of Amiri Baraka. Though there are as many classic influences as well (Blake comes to mind). Aside from his abundance of alliteration, which I think he overplays, and Patton's garrulity, there isn't much not to like about The Trinity: poetry and art
. Its reverbs of jazz, hip-hip, and American surrealism rock like Jimi Hendrix playing the National Anthem with his teeth. If there is a Devil, he lives in David e. Patton's brain.
The Trinity: poetry and art
, first and foremost, is a worship of self. From his introduction, Patton says:
Body, soul, and mind, the trinity of the self. The three-fold holy entries submitted for the judgment of others, of whom we are, in the personal myth that we call our memories held tight in our space in the world, our skin taking up space in nature: my one holy and honored God glorious and grand. The narcissistic self, the grandiose self and the admired self of which we are made deep in the common thickness of our bones, we are all three. We are all the trinity of the self kept deep within our needs to breathe and feed and breed.
Fourteen poems and 11 accompanying artworks, all by David e. Patton, fill 40 pages of fire. The titles of the poems in The Trinity: poetry and art
say as much about Patton's creative work ethic as any of the lines themselves:
- Bully Birds Shy Away From Me
- One Black Man's Heart is Worthy
- The Universe of the Body
- The Cat's Curfew is Caught Like a Mouse
- Angels Are Painting Poems
- Written Among the Gods in the City of the Dead
- I Hid the Wind in the Weeping Water's Face
- On Jury Duty
- I'm Frightened By The Tone Of This Poem
- Let Me Be The Bard of Neutral Nature
- The American Killer
- Jazz Where As!
- The Trinity
Patton's shining attribute is his uncanny ability to turn a phrase. He often uses more adjectives than necessary, but the musical quality of his lines are such that this rarely detracts. It is most ostentatious when he couples the device with hyper-alliteration. When he uses the elements in moderation he shines like the North Star. His delicate taste for the sound of words is a fitting compliment to his imagination and it's easy to forgive him his weaknesses, one of which is a lack of versatility - but with his
strengths it's like criticizing Superman for an allergic reaction to Kryptonite.
While none of Patton's poems fall below average as a whole, he does have some lines, thankfully not often, that could use some tweaking. His penchant for redundancy is sometimes nerve wracking, but he recovers quickly and moves on to more brilliance.
The best poems in The Trinity: poetry and art
are toward the back of the chapbook. "I'm Frightened by the Tone of this Poem" relies on a Whitmanesque anaphora with surprising twists. "Let Me Be The Bard of Neutral Nature" contains some beautiful lines and a climactic ending. "The American Killer" ironically captures the spirit of American thirst for blood and its myriad incarnations; raspy and full of historic allusion, it too ends with a bang. "Jazz Where As!", one of the shortest poems in The Trinity: poetry and art
at 58 long lines harking back to the Beats, carries the spirit of St. Louis where Patton is from and the historic influence of an American genre of music, a fitting tribute to some of the best musicians of the 20th century.
The poem is too long to print in full, but enjoy these lines from "I'm Frightened by the Tone of this Poem". They truly illustrate the rich imagination and rhythmic voice of David e. Patton:
I'm frightened by a teaspoon of holy water
I'm frightened by the strings of the violin
I'm frightened by the birth of my darkest brother
I'm frightened by the death of my red headed lover
I'm frightened by the deep blue bluntness of a thin bold bent darkness
I'm frightened by the orders of marching men
I'm frightened by what I must witness
I'm frightened to let the Gods in
I'm frightened by the warmth within a body that bends
I'm frightened by the tone of poetry
I'm frightened but I keep asking, When will it begin?
I'm frightened by a war on the head of a pin
I'm frightened by man's heartfelt needs for sexual sin
I'm frightened by the motion of a misplaced notion
I'm frightened by the whisper of a begging prayer
I'm frightened and I just can't get out of there
If you're not frightened by a blue ball slap in the face or a reference to pagan deities in the midst of wild-eyed self love, invest an evening in the reading of David e. Patton's The Trinity: poetry and art
. Just be sure to make your confession.
Order your copy of
The Trinity by David e. Patton
by writing the author at
1500 Sagrimore Circle, Lafayette, CO 80026