Even The Skies Are Blue


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The poems in this affecting debut collection are populated by characters living in a world without forgiveness. Entertaining and visceral, Even The Skies Are Blue displays Daniel R. Phen’s gift for expressing modern-day melancholy with unflinching emotion.

While the freight trains cross the Big Sioux River carrying crushed red granite to destinations south, the nighthawks, daydreamers and down-and-out live button-down lives teetering between despair and anticipation. Desire presents itself as a woman dangling a cigarette before disappearing into the night in “Red.” Life in the fast lane gives way to deep burning scars and earth-shattering regret in “invulnerable youth.” A street corner fight goes from bad to worse when a police badge is pulled from a bloodied victim in “stompin’ the john.”

Delivered with arresting intimacy, Phen’s lyrical insights bring to life the anguish, fascination and revelation of the everyday.

Poem Example: Baby

Baby gonna light you up
walk away unconcerned
if she pulls down it’s X’s
you’re going home
horizontal
severely tested
bested
busted
Babysized
w/ coins on eyes
She always packing
lethal heat
baby’s pulse
is the heartbeat of the street
cut down 12 streetsweeper
Mac-10
or nines
she’ll mow you like a Bowie Knife
she got
a chrome hardballer .45
with a crosscut rubber grip handle
she gonna light you up son
then blow out your candle