David K. Wheeler : Contingency Plans: Poems

Contingency Plans: Poems

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Arts & Entertainment , Fiction & Literature

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Kevin Young, Mary Ruefle, Tony Hoagland

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T. S. Poetry Press

Publication Date

October 15, 2010



About the Book    About the Author

Contingency Plans maps the body, the land, and the hollows therein, eager to determine their dimensions, carried along by possibility, to find that what once made us anxious is out of the question, and what has kept us awake now sings us back to sleep.

Note to teachers: excellent for classroom use if you are teaching villanelles, pantoums, and sestinas.

I have nothing memorized


paper scraps tell me where I am supposed to be.

I have the answers written on my palm,

and the slick of my anxiety smears the ink,

maybe I’ll remember exactly what I meant later,

about how you cross your legs so close to the hip,

how you leave your lips split in the conversation lulls:

but I have nothing memorized.


ambition kills my ability to linger here.

I carry crumpled postcards

that explain where I’ve come from,

destinations divided by runway jets, shared armrests,

and me forgetting in-flight what I miss

about how you hold your head half-bowed before a meal

with answers in your folded fingers.


I have nothing memorized that I could recite for you

upon my arrival, I will forget everything like your birthday

and your favorite place, or to visit you on lunch breaks.

I won’t write you notes because I won’t remember

that you like those things I forget about you,

and I will spend every day getting to know you again

and never tire of it.


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Editorial Reviews

"These are poems of great spiritual crisis and consequence, where the dark night of the soul is a rugged rucksack shouldered by the poet. But the wilderness resounds with the voice of a choir and the wearying road can always beckon you home."

--Oliver de la Paz, author of Requiem for the Orchard

"A great poet confounds me; he uses the same materials I do -- words -- but where I've built a fort, he has erected a cathedral. Wheeler has "revealed the space behind our ribs," and I must remove my sandals."

--Susan Isaacs, author of Angry Conversations with God

"Simultaneously eloquent and potently raw; intimate reflections on spirituality and maturation, in harmony and conflict, that reverberate through every human journey."

--Carol Cassella, author of National Bestseller Oxygen

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