Notes and Splinters

Notes and Splinters is a chapbook-length set of poems that I wrote, with a few exceptions, between 1996 and 2000. The title is an amalgamation of the last and first pieces — Note to Self and splinters strewn across the hard wood floor, respectively — but it’s more than just a mildly clever manipulation of labels. Thematically, the poems in this volume may be categorized as either notes or splinters.

The splinters are painful pieces. They are the irritations that niggle, still, ten to fifteen years later. They are monuments to mistakes and missed opportunities. They are the slightly darker shade of the tooth you had to cap because you fell off your bike when you were twelve and hit your face on a rock, and now whenever you brush your teeth, you see that tooth and remember the fall, the fright, the pain, the bloody walk home as you balance your bike and cry mostly because you’re pissed at yourself for falling but also a little because you got hurt.

The notes are ruminations. They are the meanderings of a wanderlustful mind. They are the things I want to remember, in the way I want to remember them. They evoke the sight, smell, sound, taste, thoughts, emotions, sensations, colorings of tidbits of my life. Some of them are significant, some of them are not, but I’m not sure I’d be able to tell which are which.

The notes and the splinters are together because, in many cases, they are both.

The three that were written more recently are Your lover, my love, Excuses for the Dogs and Epiphany. I included them here because they just seemed to fit. There are reasons why they fit, thematically and stylistically, but I think they also fit because I have returned to a frame of mind that I had during the period when the bulk of these poems were written. I’ve been so far, but in some ways I’ve not gone anywhere. These three notes and splinters prove that.

  1. splinters strewn across the hard wood floor
  2. Cloak for the Mud
  3. Me, My Head
  4. Monday Night Gitsis
  5. Something
  6. Pew
  7. The News
  8. Thirsty
  9. Lesson of the Gray Blonde-Tailed Squirrel
  10. Near an old house
  11. From a Height
  12. On the Couch
  13. Homilies
  14. vii
  15. Catechism
  16. A Mid-Winter Night
  17. untitled
  18. Wind blows shadows on the floor
  19. Your lover, my love
  20. Yearbook
  21. While Nature Sleeps
  22. We are two men
  23. To Whomever’s Eyes Are Laid Here
  24. Little Boys
  25. One Afternoon
  26. Clowns
  27. The Game of Modern Snow Angels
  28. Postlude to a Prayer Book
  29. Excuses for the Dogs
  30. Epiphany
  31. Note to Self