Medicine Show

From Veritas : Imagining Heaven as Istanbul, or a beach south of Istanbul, Where your friends are preparing an apartment for you. And your Beloved. And sleeping fathers, babies plump. And shining as good faith, memory in the faithful heat. You and she in the fastening-unfastenings of heat. And poetry. Just capers in the leafy thoughts above. Just Orpheus exhausted. Now but coughing little plaints. Just memory rewritten, Honey, just like Louis Armstrong's voice, like some. Big happy face. Just living, living, Honey, just believe, Don't understand so much. Just come to bed, she says. In Medicine Show , inner conflict is wonderfully realized in the clash of down-home plain speech and European high culture utterances. Freely translating and adapting Catullus (Latin), Villon (Middle French), Corbiere (French), Hikmet (Turkish), and Orpheus (Greek), and placing them alongside Jagger and Richards, skinheads, and psalms, Tom Yuill's book mirrors an old-style hawking of wares, with all the charm and absurdity that results when high culture meets pop, when city meets small town, and when provincialism confronts urbanity. Here, the poems talk to one another, one poem nudging the cusps of many others, those poems touching still others' circumferences. Yuill, by invoking the Rolling Stones as muses and as background music, offers cover versions of Shakespeare, Keats, and Dylan Thomas, ultimately giving us a new kind of verse, funneled through the languages and rhythms of his masters' voices.