The Falcon Waiting by Gregg Glory is a collection of poetry dedicated to self and observations. Glory delivers poems questioning mortality, self, emotions, love and existence. Throughout the collection the reader is bombarded by stunningly descriptive lines. In The Falcon Waiting, we get a chance to look into the emotional soul of Glory’s, either stated in the first person or veiled in metaphor. I have only outlined some of what I consider highlights in this review.
Glory makes use of ‘sleep’ as a device throughout the collection. In “Insomnia,” Glory bears to the reader that he suffers from sleeplessness. “Better off dead/I keep poking my pillow with my elbow,/Looking for sleep–….” He compares this feeling to “An apricot kept at the back of the fridge” basically waiting for morning to come in a “sudden click of dawn.” We continue in a dreamscape of Glory’s in “In Quiet Light” which is given in a very stream of consciousness, describing “A starving coyote, new to the neighborhood,” presumably (possibly) Glory. We’re given a narrative of the coyote who has not the strength to even tip over garbage cans, so resorts to eating “left-out cat food, dry….” In the end of “In Quiet Light” the coyote lays down to sleep “…to dream/and goes running all night long.” Both “Insomnia” and “In Quiet Light” could be tied together with Glory’s desire to sleep, dream and but to also live, the living the coyote does and the living Glory desires. “When Sleep Comes” is another example of Glory’s ‘sleep’ theme, but in it, like in “In Quiet Light“, Glory questions mortality (the tired old coyote, devoid of strength). “When Sleep Comes” we’re given the picture of winter, a symbol of death. In “Dreaming of Sleep, This is What I Get Instead” Glory describes sleep/going to bed as being akin to “…bed/As to a grave”, another example of his sleep, dreamlessness/insomnia, dealing with mortality but also introduces the ‘nightmare’, further in the piece.
Aside from the metaphor of the coyote from “In Quiet Light” Glory makes use of other animate creatures as a possible description of self, and if not of self, good descriptions of humanity in general. In “The Sea Urchin” we’re given the picture of the urchin with “a hard shell/and it traverses along its spines. Yet, for all that shell,/those spines loaded with goading poison…” but he continues in the same breath to also describe the urchin as “it is delicate,/delicate.” However, the poison urchin is in fact “in a world/full of fast monsters. Barracuda….” This description shows the human element that runs through all people. As poisonous as one thing (person) may be, they are just as delicate, surrounded by monsters as the next thing (person).
Two poems in succession are “Far, Far Away….” and “Born Soaking.” These poems are possible (undoubtedly the former is) translations of poems by Shide and Hanshan, respectfully. Hanshan and Shide were monks of the Cold Mountain Temple. Hanshan was the ‘master’ or teacher/poet and Shide was the student/disciple. “Far, Far Away….” can be looked at as Glory’s translation/interpretation of Shide’s “Poem 45.” The line “A single crane will arrive.” in “Far, Far Away….” is a direct reference to Shide’s “Poem 45” it is important to point out that Shide, the literal translation of his name means ‘foundling’ (an infant found after it’s unknown parents abandon it). This use of Shide and Hanshan in Glory’s work could be a possible reference to Glory of today finding the Glory of yesterday…looking back as the master upon his past state of being a ‘foundling.’ The use of the ‘crane’ could be a deliberation of self bringing Glory from the ‘foundling’ (Shide) to the master (Hanshan), all of this following a hike up a mountain (from both “Far, Far Away….” and “Poem 45“). The poem “Born Soaking” following “Far, Far Away….” makes the direct reference to Hanshan, however a more explicit reference of the work, linking it directly to Hanshan could not be found. Following the theme of the former piece, there should to be a translation/interpretation, I just could not find it.
Glory’s The Falcon Waiting is chock full of metaphor, existential ideas and symbolism. This chapbook is loaded with 45 poems, delivering to the astute and casual reader alike. His work is accessible and not out of touch with reality. Many would find The Falcon Waiting to be a candid glimpse into the world of Gregg Glory. He exposes himself to us, the readers and also leaves plenty for one’s imagination/meditation. The Falcon Waiting, published by Blast Press is available from Glory direct by emailing [email protected] or visit him on the web at www.gregglory.com.
*** Throughout the review, I put the titles of poems in italics in order to separate quotations citing titles or works, and quotations citing examples from within the works (i.e. “Far, Far Away….” the title, and “A single crane will arrive” the words from the poem)
About the author:
John Petrolino is the author of two collections of poetry; Galleria and his forthcoming (Spring 2009) book Congo Lights. Petrolino’s poetry has been featured in The Idiom Magazine, Eviscerator Heaven, The Bradstock Journal, Write On!! Magazette, The Working Tools Magazine, The Storm Generation Magazine, The New Jersey Freemason, WestWard Quarterly, Exit 13 (forthcoming Spring/Summer 09 issue) and on poetryvlog.com, identitytheory.com and wordriot.org. John was also featured on the newly released World Spirit film Greenwich Village. John continues to work on his poetry and other works while aboard ship, traveling or at home. For more information about John, his work and contact information, be sure to visit him on the web at www.johnpetrolino.com