Laurie Doctor, Once and Future Dream (Map of Regrets Series), 2016, Oil on Paper and Wood,
5″ X 5″
The periodic crescendo into breaking The long loop a liquid timekeeper Rack line stinking on the sand Dismembered crabs deserted by a wave Mussels pried open by gulls above the rocky shore Algae baking in a sun-tangle My body is broken open freed from the regimen of minutes the tea- timers the calendar of days So much maintenance! So much fury and fire! I did it! I've got it down now! I accomplished the thing the maximum absolution the total purge the stripping down to the studs I'm purified by fire by discipline by my labors by the holiness of the task I'm cleansed! I'm cleaned out! I've scrubbed myself down whittled past scars My passion brought me to the marrow the meristem to my knees and now it's done and here I am the sun pours in I'm a hull of myself I'm free I'm sea glass from a passing ship
Review by Dennis Hinrichsen
“Maximum Absolution,” is the winning close to this three poem set as it marries the formal gestures of the previous two poems—the single line and the half line patterns—with a wonderful rush of imagery and music and shifting dynamics. And all of this mapped—depending on your tolerance for fracture and incompleteness—as a contrapuntal. What also holds his poem together for me is that is informed by music theory / circle of fifths in way , i.e., with time and ocean and release as the core (chordal) ideas. What I admire most about all three of Buchanan’s poems is the formal imagination at work in them. I had the good fortune of being Poet Laureate for my community a few years ago and what I found is that some of the most interesting people to talk to about poetic form were musicians. Form for them was tactile and three-dimensional and percussive. And an entry point for experimentation. I will certainly check out more of the writer’s work.