Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Don Winter: On The Line

Reviewed by: Christopher Robin

Christopher has not met Don. Ergo, Don has not met Christopher---in this universe or dimension.

$4. Available through: Bone World Publishing, 3700 County RT 24, Russell, NY 13684

Don Winter has spent many years in the small press establishing himself as a bard of the working-class. Think of empty beer cans, dreary clothes lines, cold winters and forlorn diners. Though I have to say the forward to this chap, written by Anne Caston, is poetry in itself: “I want the corner mechanic shop back, its heat and smell of grease and oil and the man who owned it who took a break every afternoon to sit out back in a tipped chair with his old bag-of-bones hound. I want the corner service station where a boy in “overhauls” pumps the gasoline…”

Indeed, the America of the plastic-sheen, convenience driven Wal-Mart is actually deserted city centers, closed schools and crumbling rooftops. This is the America that gives birth to Winter’s poems. In ‘Roofing,” a brief quote from the foreman in this three stanza piece sheds light on the world of dispensable labor: “I’d get monkeys/to do your jobs/if I could teach them not to shit/on the roof,” boss yelled. In “Cleaning Up At The Hamtrack Burger Chef,’ the monotonous, workaday life is transcended, albeit briefly: “most nights I turn up/the radio/and sing my own words/Something about being in this business to stay alive/Something like that.”

This is poetry for the real America, as Winter dwells in its shell, as drained and irrelevant as a beer can on a dead lawn.

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