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MEAN THE WORLD
Redbat Books/Pacific Northwest Writers Series
November 1, 2022
Paperback, 6 X 9, 80 pgs.
$16.00, plus $4 shipping
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Often David Memmott's poems course like a "river of wind" to take us where the world of the everyday meets the startling world of the strange with all its dangers. Allying himself with natural forces and animal spirits, he fashions a bridge between these two worlds to achieve a hard-won communion. A sturdy, detailed observer, and a faithful guide to the reader, Memmott becomes, in his own words, a sound bowl of pure gold rung by thunder.
--John Morrison, author of Monkey Island
In Small Matters Mean the World, David Memmott takes us on a journey through the liminal spaces in our lives--the space between the natural world and the human, the ephemeral and the familiar. "The evergreens lean to whisper/ in your ear. Lines that hold you together/ in a taut web..." Memmott creates that web with the tautness of his vision, holding us in it. His lyricism carries us on "A river of wind...toward the light" as the precision of his language reminds us, "The ancient/ world lies all around us with lessons to be relearned." But his greatest gift is that of the true seer, the one willing to summon those spaces, "Come finch, come flicker, come sundown, I track your workmanship over a high wire" and ultimately take the journey for us, "I stand alone, bent to the scent of your blood/ in black tracks in a field of white fire." In the end, this treasure of a book reminds us the answer to the secrets of the world around us have always been within.
--Peter Grandbois, author of Last Night I Aged a Hundred Years
David Memmott wants his readers to understand just how large the world is, and largely mysterious, even scary, perhaps even a shade crazy. This is why he uses the particularities of his backyard and neighborhood to illustrate his point. These poems about the comings and goings of birds and neighbors are some of my favorites in the collection. But as unwitting prophet, in other poems Memmott describes the sense of a wider world surreally encroaching suggesting it may be about to end whether under a hinted at dreamlike metaphysical threat or something as mundanely real as weather, man-generated wildfires, migrating birds or even the glimpse of a penitent traveler lugging a heavy wooden cross down the highway. The particularity of these poems keep us grounded and tethered and perhaps even comforted that Memmott is there to keep us informed about the true state of things under the surface of everyday life.
--David Mehler, editor of Triggerfish Critical Review and author of Roadworthy
They gather this day, your neighbors,
to bless the hunt,
to consecrate the traps,
make stronger the chains,
thicker the walls between us.
In a world no more than man
mere man becomes a beast
who runs through the streets
wild nature looking for a reason,
following a dream that slays
the earth inch by inch
and sinks like a stone
into still water.
My rheumy eyes smolder
in the dark. Should their light find me here,
the good folk will call their dogs.
I upset the balance.
What’s down there should never come up.
What’s up here will never go down voluntarily.
The noise sometimes hurts my ears,
drives me from the den
out of my body.
I am the beast unmade by man,
sadly dreaming, lost in the margins
where bad blood congeals
in hearts hardened by degrees.
Once released to drink the moon
I cannot be called back.
In every encounter
where mere man the beast
leaves more than man
flayed for a bounty,
our territory violated
for another boom and bust,
only disorder can follow.
They know this.
They cannot stand for long
on failing foundations.
Shining even a weak beam
into our homes catches us
blinking with blame.
You lie in cold sweat on a hot night
and hear me howling.
I’m the bedtime story that keeps you awake,
chasing little girls over the plains,
devouring grandmothers and assuming their shape.
I curl into a ball in a warm den,
warm in winter with fierce love,
tight in a ball in a space that cries
for fewer people
and more humanity.
#624, digital painting, 30 X 24
#604, digital painting, 24 X 30
David Memmott's sense of place extends from his piece of ground in northeastern Oregon to the space-time continuum of the universe itself. By turns prophetic, polemical, sensual, and humorous, [he speaks] in stalwart witness to the outer and inner landscapes that he calls home."
-- John Daniel, author of The Far Corner and Of Earth: Poems