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Skirts and Slacks
Skirts and Slacks

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Skirts and Slacks, my seventh book of poems, took me over five years to write, though I wasn't aware of writing a book. I was just writing poems which, in time, disclosed to me their themes of devastation and desired restoration. The poems swing coast to coast and are mostly set in cityscapes (the Port Authority; Haight Street; Boston's South End; South Philadelphia) and in distressed interiors (saloon, hospital room, airplane, kitchen, church, train). The materials are all personal, of course, but I'm not really interested in the personal or the confessional. I wanted Skirts and Slacks to enact - in the mixed tones of actual experience - truths of feeling about sexual love, civic disorder, personal and public saneness. I wanted poems which, in the way they sound and taste, play out what it feels like to live in the world as a field of troubled relatedness. I write mostly about hungers and wants, not satisfactions or resolutions.

Useful phrases from the book? In "Oregon Avenue on a Good Day. " I'm looking for "our common deam of the all / and the only this, that's exactly / what I can't find." And in "Add Salt," I'm "still looking / for the invisible life of things."