David Dodd Lee


David Dodd Lee has published six previous full-length books of poems, including Orphan, Indiana (Akron, 2010), The Nervous Filaments (Four Way Books, 2010), Abrupt Rural (New Issues, 2004) and Arrow Pointing North (Four Way, 2002). Sky Booths in the Breath Somewhere, The Ashbery Erasure Poems (BlazeVox, 2010) appeared as well in 2010.

The Coldest Winter on Earth, a new manuscript, will appear in May, 2012, from Marick Press.

Recent poems are forthcoming or have appeared in The Nation, Zoland Poetry, POOL, Shampoo, Kestrel, Denver Quarterly, Court Green, Gulf Coast, Quarterly West, Field, Columbia Poetry Review, West Branch (fiction),Verse, Mississippi Review, Sixth Finch and The Hat.

Replacement Parts and the Soul

It wasn't that late: cattle stampeding in the
water of the mirror, the lower half's reflection of sunset,

the moon a U magnet, trees sinking under the
swamp grasses, an audience of two, one large knuckle along the

ridge of the spine, the loosening of plates
and bolts and braces . . . The framed glass made

a sort of white noise as each steel piece
emerged from the mud—slender rods, shields with

rivets, whole bone replacements—while on the wide
bed hidden deep in one corner of the indoor river her nipples

floated pinkly on the dark absorbent water, the smell of
crushed lilies on her thighs. I like it when I have cuts

on both arms, like the sun sinking down into blood,
the hands together, the stinging all the way there, the heartbeat a window.

‘Replacement Parts ’ is about stuff—it's molecular. And intimate. And it's about aging. The title probably came first—used auto parts etc.—and then of course the poem is an improvisational take on nature and ‘Man’ as bits of hardware, the man (or woman) with industrial-age knees amidst the cattails. Either way, the surging toothache of desire is erotic, the green pulse, the flesh still flesh, beauty still beauty, a loved one still the object of great desire. All that ‘pain’ implied, mentally, physically, in the first half of the poem. By the end pain is a requirement for exalted sensation, a kind of love that is particular and cosmic at the same time. There is no metaphysics . . . I wrote it in half an hour. I write every night. Many don't make it. This one did.