John Fitzgerald's Favorite Bedtime Stories. A Review.

Favorite Bedtime Stories by John Fitzgerald (Salmon Poetry, 2014) is a book of poetry that grabs the reader with the sinuosity of a leopard. It has a subtle way of penetrating in the pores and, much like the poet himself states, “I am poet and cannot explain” what makes this “voice like dirt” so intoxicating.

“Where I am men hide, seems to me the perfect key to understanding the subtleness at play. And no, it’s not up a tree with the leopard, but in the leaf that we are turning, in the traces Fitzgerald so skillfully disseminates along the pages.

“I am coiner of words, he says, and of tales I shall add. Reading this collection one moves swiftly from apes and wild beasts, to the fifteen poems of The Charter of Effects, an almost philosophical journey in the footsteps of a poet named Likeness (or the Likeness of the Universe) whose Muses are in no way ordinary:

Presence is the muse who says she is this very moment.
Every night I close the blinds she every morning opens.
I perform CPR but can never save her.
She dies in my arms, I can still taste her.

My favorite section of this collection is Chess. Following the King, the Queen and the Pawn along the Board, the poet invites us to revisit the game of chess, to put ourselves at play and to adhere to rules. Indeed, because even poetry has its strict rules, but with Fitzgerald

 the board morphs into countless situations,
I cannot say for certain if it’s finite
though the plane itself has edges.

There are infinite stories and as many poems in each of these poems, where the dark ultimately “reveals itself” from “being light. They remind me of C.M. Escher’s mesmerizing painting Metamorphosis III, where the chess boards leads us to explore always new and fascinating worlds to end up back where we have begun.


C.M. Escher, Metamorphosis III 

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