Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Art of the Lathe

Here are two grown men discussing "beauty"
seriously and with dignity as if they and the topic
were as normal as normal topics of discussion
between men such as soybean prices or why
the commodities market was a sucker's game
or Oklahoma football or Gimpy Neiderland
almost dying from his hemorrhoid operation.
They were discussing beauty and tossing around
allusions to Plato and Aristotle and someone
named Pater, and they might be homosexuals.
That would be a natural conclusion, of course,
since here were two grown men talking about "beauty"
instead of scratching their crotches and cursing
the goddamned government trying to run everybody's
I'm intensely in love with this book. I'm re-reading it for the third time and it still feels fresh and new to me. But before I continue I had a fight with myself

I fought with myself and wondered if I should add a poem from the book. Maybe just have one part of a poem, or the first part of a poem, or even a whole poem; I fought with myself and decided to just have one part of one of the poems. I decided on Beauty and you'll read why. 

I highly recommend you click on the link I have, Beauty (up top below the image), and read the entire poem before you continue reading. Beauty is one of many B.H. Fairchild's masterpieces in The Art of the Lathe.

Back, alright.

If you read the poem, you can pick up what type of people Fairchild is talking about. The type of people who've always worked with their hands and known almost nothing else. The type of people who don't open up didn't talk a lot, didn't have time to philosophize, just do and kept to themselves. Some are content with where they are, some are not, but they're all doing their best to make a living. The type of people that if the plant or mine or anything like it were to disappear, they would be ruined for generations. The type of people who wish they could live out their dreams, but because of their situation, social and economical, they can never can and have to make the best with what they have, find their own little niche in life.

They remind me of the people I came across and worked with in Cincinnati. They shaped who I am. They, for better or worse, made in guarded, making it hard for me to be vulnerable, to open up. Though that culture may have dampened me a bit, it also made me strong and able to stand anything to come my way; it's a give and take, like everything else in life.

Then there's the beautiful, rugged landscape of the Midwest. And like any good writer, the landscape, and its inhabitants are inextricably tied together. They reflect each other, each influencing each until they both look like each other.

As you can tell, I'm a sucker for books that bring me back home and its inhabitants. That's because, even though I've lived in California for five years, I will always be a Midwesterner. I'm so inextricably tied it.

And this is why I'm intensely in love with this book. Not because it opened my eyes to poetry but because it transports me back to that culture, those people, and that landscape. 

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