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Consolation Miracle

Chad Davidson

Publication Year: 2003

Consolation Miracle is a book of visceral, image-driven poems that search for the miraculous in the seemingly ordinary. This collection fashions art out of artless objects as a consolation, or perhaps compensation, for their smallness. Yawns and pears, cockroaches and crows resonate against historically conflated backdrops, while our own hands seem suddenly strange as they hide themselves in our pockets, balance a burning cigarette between two fingers, or grip the gun that shot Lincoln. Other poems address the destruction of empire, the end of old Hollywood, and the hyperbolic fizzling out of entire centuries. Here, consolation miracles are rarely the ones sought after, yet they radiate in their neglect. Davidson’s poems help us understand the inner life of cows, imagine the plight of a banished Kama Sutra illustrator, speculate about Cleopatra’s lingerie. With a title borrowed from Gabriel García Márquez, Consolation Miracle contains a magical realism for the twenty-first century.

Published by: Southern Illinois University Press

Series: Crab Orchard Series in Poetry


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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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p. 4-4


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pp. 5-9


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pp. 10-11

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pp. xi-xiv

Grateful acknowledgment is made to the editors of the following publications, in which poems from this book originally appeared, though sometimes in slightly different form...


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pp. 5-6

Such brilliant boredom under the sun. How they carve shadows in the moondust of the ocean floor, each arm radiant, excruciating...

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p. 7-7

Under the lazy lip of the oyster coated in loam, the porcino, or lowly morel, laymushroom...

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The Yawn

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p. 8-8

Boredom. Yet science does nothing for me. No consolation. I’m tired of poetry, though I know the fear a yawn once inspired, like the swan...

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A Hand

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p. 9-9

Still I trust enough, would give it away to anyone who asks. To a cellist, say, whose own hand is proof the mind still loves its animals flitting about...

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The Contents of Abraham Lincoln’s Pockets

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pp. 10-11

As calmly as a hand will shake another after shooting a gun, a Skylark bends around a pole. As spectator, you can’t remember...

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To My Left Ear Canal, Deformed at Birth

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pp. 12-14

Flitting like a coal bird in a kiddie pool in a blocked-off cul de sac, this is my heart questioning...


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The Match

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p. 17-17

The burner and the blackout crave you: pilot of heat, purveyor of the innocent candle and cigarette, light we tame...

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p. 18-18

hammered out a love affair with you in New Orleans. Your name was Lydia. We bedded in Algiers and staggered through...

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The Floating World

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p. 19-19

In a movie on the floating world, I watch the way the Japanese drew union: swan-legged, the exclamatic O...

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The Kama Sutra’s Banished Illustrator

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p. 20-20

I only drew the woman. Raised cheekbones curving impossibly in my hand, the slender neck, hair pulled back like rope: all...

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Almost Ending with a Troubadour Line

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p. 21-21

You call and, almost singing, say Manet is on TV, his lewd Olympia. And without words we fall synchronized...

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The Pear

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p. 22-22

The constancy of flesh will drive us, how this pome ascends the stairs to its origin. A boy shakes...

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Cleopatra’s Bra

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pp. 23-24

It is one thing to uphold one’s passions, another to retain them. That thin seam between impassioned and fashion: it could be...


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This Is the Cow

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pp. 27-28

Imagine the years being sucked out of you, the losses so numerous you count gains instead: the shiver...

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Bite Your Tongue

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pp. 29-30

Bullets are for movie stars and going cold turkey. Nails are for something close to fear. Though I’ve felt teeth kick up...

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p. 31-31

I invent a boy who plays with boxes down the street. He grieves, and I can’t help but think of Lazarus whom he coaxes...

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Cockroaches: Ars Poetica

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p. 32-32

They know that death is merely of the body not the species, know their putrid chitin is always memorable. We call them ugly...

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Two Crows

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pp. 33-34

Three crows huddling between telephone wires is not a metaphor. Depravity is exquisite...

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The Scarecrow Odes

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pp. 35-37

I live at the corner of Beethoven and Schubert. This is an aesthetic impossibility...

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Scratched Retina: Memento Mori

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p. 38-38

Dear coffee grounds, ground pepper, memorial crumbs floor-fallen and pinned there. Dear last night’s doors to heavier sleep through which...


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pp. 41-48

In the beginning, when the great mother ship lands and dishes out its aliens, who could resist the earthy music, its double...


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All the Ashtrays in Rome

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pp. 51-53

Call it the end of an empire, consumed, turned by English into a verb: to be always in the image of the ancient pilgrimage. You approach the walls, the basin...

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The Last Decade of the Fifteenth Century

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pp. 54-55

Meriting slight praise alongside frescoes still beading perspiration from the hand laboring there, a century dies...

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Virtus Dormitiva

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pp. 56-57

Coffee-drunk at a staging of The Miser, I watch him bridge the moat between the blank stage and first row of chairs with a plank...

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People Who Jump off Cliffs

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p. 58-58

Distant buoys shimmer in the ocean or lake over which they stand. If there is no water, there is no shimmer. Everything remains the same. Some grief is pain. Some the lack of it....

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Consolation Miracle

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pp. 59-60

In the pewless church of San Juan Chamula, a neo-Catholic Tzotzil Indian wrings a chicken’s neck. Through piñoned air, stars from tourist flashbulbs...

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pp. 61-62

My favorite first lines come —Camus, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky— despite translation. Living near Dallas...

Other Books in the Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry

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p. 63-63

E-ISBN-13: 9780809388905
Print-ISBN-13: 9780809325412

Page Count: 80
Publication Year: 2003

Series Title: Crab Orchard Series in Poetry

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