Trip to Tipton and Other Compulsions


by Louis Daniel Brodsky


Peace Talks  

The wasting bones
Of unknown souls in flight
Float by me through early-morning light
Like chalky residue coming loose
From the hide night uses
To protect herself from complete nudity.

Incorrigible demons, dressed in dreaming,
Are clouds of costumed queens and bishops
Held in awkward hovering above nothing
Save the endless darkness. Lightning is
A crippled Hitler, hurling anathemas
At statues capable of committing suicide,

Or a kamikaze pilot on fire, diving at me
As I drive through three hours of a century
Besieged by the roar of war’s gadgetry.
I am the storm’s nonsensical target; it’s

The secret enemy assigned to destroy me.

Maybe if I stop for coffee, we can discuss peace.



Trip to Tipton and Other Compulsions, a volume of sixty-eight poems, records the unfolding events from one year of the author’s life, capturing special highlights (a trip to Europe with his wife, the celebration of their second wedding anniversary, their mystical visits to Wisconsin and Illinois) as well as daily routines (his first experiences as an outlet-store manager and as a traveling salesman, his journeys to St. Louis and to small Midwestern towns, his home life in Farmington, Missouri), revealing his struggle to incorporate the idealistic, romantic world of the artist into his realistic, pragmatic existence as a young, newly married businessman, left wondering if life is more than "the sum of seasons leaving and arrived."

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