Compassion Will Kill You

I’ve read other poetry books by Adrian Bouvier before, (though apparently I never wrote something on Drown, whoops). But anyway, when I saw he had another book on Amazon I had to buy it.

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This one was a lot harder to get through than the last ones, since this deals more with parental abuse, guilt, mental health, drug use, and death. Bouvier has both a detached and a striking way of approaching these subjects, and it hits painfully.

Stag:

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I think Stag was my favorite. Reading it, it has a rhythm evocative of being chased, of an inescapable feeling of running from something, running from everything you’ve screwed up.

Sweet Things:

 

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Sunsea:

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(And, without pics)

Don’t Come Home:

“they say that good men go to war and don’t ever

come back. they say good men go to war.
they say that good men don’t come home from war.
they say good men go to war, and while they’re there
one of two things will happen:

1. that good man will die, or
2. a different man will come back home in a body
3. that once belonged to a good man.

you came back, if you can come back from home,
in a hollow thing. with a hollow thing. as a hollow thing
like a skin you can’t get rid of. the war found a place inside
you to hide and now it’s wearing the good man’s face
you used to own. and you are the hollow thing. you are hollow.

good men do not come home from war.

they say good men go to war. they say bad men
start wars and good men go to them, because it is right.
because that’s where they need to be. you never went.
you never went. you just got born right here. you were born
with a gunshot splintering you out of the womb. you
were born like a bomb out of the belly of a jet. you’ve
been at war your whole life. you’ve been a war
you’re whole life.

you are not the good man who came to this war. he died there.
he died somewhere in between not being able to cry anymore
and that third month in the trench when he shot a man rather than
let him linger. when you learned what mercy is when mustard gas
is involved and he learned he wasn’t good anymore.

they say good men in love go to war and one of three things
will happen:

1. that good man in love will die, or
2. that man in love will die, or
3. that love will die.

and they’re right. nothing stays the same in war.
nothing survives the men’s slaughterhouse that ground
becomes, and especially not love. it gets twisted up,
gets all strange when you sleep on it, creases folded in,
memories faux-gilded in light of all that gore. even
sinning love. even love illegally gained and kept.

you can put that sinning love in your mouth and chew it
into a different shape, a new kind of awful: nobody cares
in a trench. nobody goddamn cares in a trench.

no good man comes back from a war. nothing good
comes back from a war.

good men start wars and good men die in wars and
good men get lost.”

If this sounds like your kind of thing, check it out on Amazon.

Check out the rest of my posts about poetry here.

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