COMMENTARIES ON RON BLANTON ď‚¨
Some poets have a knack for capturing just the precise moment when enlightenment occurs and the lights come on â€“ or go out, as the case may be. In these moments their words transcend any visual; such an ability makes them accessible and down to earth, but since they are poets, their messages are unique. Ron Blanton is this kind of poet. In Breathe, Blanton's voice is crisp, smooth, and most of all, alert. His fluid, easy language zeros in on an exquisite fall moment, "the fecund scent of leaves" and "Cirrus clouds cloisonne" signaling in a knowing, serene way the coming of the cold. Sniffing like a hound might do in his native Georgia, he senses that he'll store up this perfection; it is, as he says, "vitality/banking me for winter.â€œ Blanton applies his acute observations to Last Smoke; when he writes that he "watched the caffeine cracks/trace her porcelain profile" we instantly know this woman; we know her ravages, but his deft pen keeps her beautiful in the reader's eyes, and his. This poem, a loving, hope-abandoned portrait, could be an anti-smoking advert. It is more powerful than statistics, and more despairing than any fearsome propaganda could possibly be. It is love turned inside-out, and nothing left to lose, nothing, that is, but "a grip which is stronger/a trip which is longer" but still, he sees reality, what is inevitable in the "hammerlock" of addiction. So too do his future-tense senses remember "grey pruned hands" fluttering before death arrives, and "A casual touch to see/if I am still here" in Becoming a Corpse. One must wonder about the carelessness of caregivers, constantly checking extremities, to gauge when the end will come, for here, Blanton's voice chastens the crass intrusion of those whose time has not yet arrived. Do they not see him "drowning slowly like a fish/whose gills have forgotten how to work"? Blanton writes of end and transitions, not necessarily easy, happy subjects, especially when illness and human choice trump any other happenstance. But the vitality of his writing, his wit and compassion make his work universal. At the close of Becoming a Corpse he writes, "If you happen to think of it/pull me up./I am out of air." I really don't think so; this poet will live and breathe to continue creating these common, insightful vignettes that all of us can comprehend.
- WREXIE BARDAGLIO