David Shaddock

Shostakovich

Liver spots on both our hands, your ring barely

stays on your finger.  KDFC after 

dinner, something fragile but complex, turns out

it’s a Shostakovich quartet.  An email

 

this morning from Jack Foley, John Simon died.

He gave me this eleven syllable line

sonnet form.  I loved him, but just from afar

as my habit is to manage loss by keeping

 

some distance.  But no more of that with you, my love.

You have grown thin with age like your mother did.

Toward the end it seemed that a slight breeze could

 

blow her down.  But you are much stronger, outwalk

me, eat right, follow things up with your doctor.

The cello, almost human-voiced, picks up the theme.


Calculus with Analytic Geometry

I can’t be the only one who has this much

trouble throwing books away. The good karma

of library sales or the cute birdhouses

for books people put by their sidewalks are no


help whatsoever. It’s my fate, not the book’s

that throws me. Every book’s potential

exit starts a little “you should have” story

going in my head, in counterpoint with “now


you’ll never.” I remember the day I walked

up the stairs in Dwinelle Hall to go switch my

major from math to English.  I told myself I 


was in love with Blake, not flunking algebra.


David Shaddock’s poems have won the Ruah Magazine Power of Poetry Award for a collection of spiritual poems, and the International Peace Poem Prize, among other honors. His poems have appeared in such journals as Tikkun, Earth First! Journal and Mother Jones. His books include In This Place Where Something’s Missing Lives with an afterword by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Dreams Are Another Set of Muscles, with an introduction by Denise Levertov, Vernal Pool and The Book of Splendor: New and Selected Poems on Spiritual Themes. His play, “In A Company of Seekers,” was performed at the 2012 Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. He holds a PhD in psychoanalytic research from Middlesex University London and is the author of several nonfiction books, including Poetry and Psychoanalysis: The Opening of the Field. He maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Berkeley.