Ironically, I only now notice the sections unintentionally are divided into an awkward mixed chronology: section one details the current decade, section two falls back to the middle Nineties, and the closing section presents a rushed account of observations from the Twenty-Naughts to the Twenty-Tens.
the same moment as when I held Brendan for the first time—the sweet, light heft of weight in both hands, my wriggling fish of a child.
In hindsight, double irony, this manuscript was the book I thought which would never be published. The middle poems generate a sonnet sequence, snapping the traditional formula into abstractions and fragments of thought, sometimes producing a wounded, embittered persona—some of which exhibit an overtly sexual, blunt interpretation of desire between men. So easy to deconstruct an already malleable form, a form which over the centuries reshapes itself to suit new generations of writers.
—and this is the point where a strong loss for words emerges into the scene. It is difficult pinning down the exact germination of intent for this manuscript. Or what memory acts as catalyst for the book’s controlling metaphor—usually at these times I focus on the instant I first felt the desire for words, when at four years old, living with my family in Nederland, Texas. Lying in the afternoon halfdark, scrawling crayon letters into an Indian Chief notebook. Wanting my own particular voice to be recorded on the coarse paper.
My young son may never understand my self-inflicted frustration for wanting to build the perfect phrase, the elaborate rhythm within a series of lines. I watch his actions carefully, expecting him to mirror my intentions and desires as he practices recognizing a word on a piece of cardboard. As of now, he seems more content to build structures, towers, or run with invisible wings in the back yard. He is a wildly active child, with a weaker sense of hesitation than I remember owning. I recall always pausing in doorways. Seeking permission from authority figures. More often, he runs across hallways without looking back or pausing for clarification.
In the end, this moment almost echoes the same moment as when I held Brendan for the first time—the sweet, light heft of weight in both hands, my wriggling fish of a child. In this case, I hold the recording of my trembling voice on fluttering pages: a long-awaited presence.