THE BOOK OF KNOWLEDGE BY CHAD FARIES

ISBN 978-0982007792

(TEMPORARILY OUT OF STOCK)

 DESCRIPTION: A marvelous gallimaufry of coming-of-age poetry that takes its title(s)...and questions...from the seminal 1912 children's encyclopedia The Book of Knowledge, and answers them with its own verse. Alive with birds, bees, bikers, lovely neglected things, fishnets, strawberry Mickey Mouse cakes, and the ambiguity of red vaginal lights atop forested hills, this collection is a trip through Disney through the eyes of Woody Guthrie through the eyes of Ezra Pound, like an ever-overlapping pair of bifocals. And then some. 

 

 PRAISE FOR THE BOOK OF KNOWLEDGE

“In the easy narrative mess that many poets are now making out of the mystery of their lives, Chad Faries keeps the mystery of his intact, even as he unrolls wicked and breathless stories. I commend him for standing upright by the light of his torch, and not assuming he recognizes everything he sees.“ 

-Andrei Codrescu, author of Jealous Witness: New Poems 

“Chad Faries’ new poems are passionately rendered and good food for both head and heart. This poetry rolls me back to why I fell for poems in the first place: to be taught to pay attention, to see the world through worlds in a way that I could never see with my eyes, to be awake now before I wake up dead.”
-Tim Seibles, author of Buffalo Head Solos

“From memory, Faries writes about coming of age, discovering community, and the exquisite and sublime love that saves us all from wretched ignorance. This poetry/poet is our relative. He is a child of the Great Lakes Region and he belongs by heart.“ 
-Denise Sweet, Anishinaabeg and Poet Laureate of Wisconsin 2004-2008

"Through most of these little vignettes I see blow-flies swarming around my cheesecake after copulation." 
-Gabor Gyukics, Hungarian prophet/madman

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From The Book of Knowledge

WHY IS IT BAD TO SLEEP WITH FLOWERS IN YOUR ROOM

The reason is a very good one. They may
no longer be as beautiful as they once
were, and they are constantly exposing
their beautiful genitals which makes the world
envy and creates war and destruction, 
makes magazines like Barely Legal 
and Young Dumb and Full of Cum. Their Tiresian
ambi-sexuality is worthy of wonder as well.
They are cunning reconcilers. When you sleep with flowers
in your room, you are sick with ecstasy
as they spoil the air, which, if not changed, can hurt
you. You see, flowers breathe like you, 
though very much less, so they spoil everything.
Also, cut flowers are slowly dying, 
like us, and as they die they are changed
and things are given off from them
which are probably not good for you. I have
some ideas but it is best that I keep this
information from you. Neither cut flowers
nor living plants are good to sleep with, 
for both of them in the dark do nothing
but help to poison the air in the room. 
I do not say that this is very important. 
I would much rather you slept with your window
open and had a few flowers in the room, 
than with the window shut and no flowers; 
but still, it is worth remembering. Be
skeptical of delivery. This is for you.


THE WONDERFUL THINGS THAT HAPPEN WHEN YOU HURT YOUR FINGER

Soldiers, or should I say sailors, these
little white cell blood boys are. Wandering
around the bars and brothels of the circulatory
system in white dress, but tattooless, bone clean
and courteous, converting the diseased. They even
have families that are neat and clean and wash
before dinner. If any finger
is ever in trouble, like for instance stuck
up a bull’s ass, or in the exposed chassis
in the back of a rusty Chevy van, 
as was little Amy’s when driving back
in an ice storm from Athens, Texas, 
the sailors are there to listen deeply.

The least little injury…a little dirt
or the tearing of the fingernail-
and the whole body seems to know at once. 
Or there may be the head of the hammer
and an impure thought that passes through before
driving a nail into a cross section
of wood and we miss, of course; and then
the familiar purple throb. The rush
and voices that drift in and out of order. 
Could it be different at this juncture? 

The spleen, which is far away inside
the body, tiny little glands lying
under the skin of the neck and armpit-
all these are made aware, so to say, 
probably by means of chemical
messengers sent to them from the injured part, 
and at once they begin to double
and treble their activities and produce
millions of white cells, all because the tip
of a finger is in trouble. All because
they want to catch a glimpse of the drift
of voice and who is speaking and not.

Yes, 
we should discuss Amy and the drive.
We had slipped off the road and got stuck.
And she, in her four-year-old boredom, presented
her finger to a hole, slightly smaller. 
And my mother, lovingly, amidst
the argument of Amy’s parents, Brian
and Faith, spit all over Amy’s hand in or-
der to free the tiny digit. And all
the while the little sailors were busy
at work on the inside, pulling wires,
mixing strange concoctions, throwing salt
over their shoulders, and preaching, preaching, and no
one ever paid them much attention, ever, 
until sort-of-uncle Shane contracted
Lymphoma years later and then all any-
one had to say was that the white blood cells
were no good. But her body was abso-
lutely perfect at four. Everything was
in order. You could hear a delightful
droning from her sanguine glow and imagine
a scene full of sequins. You forgot
about time and yearning and infatuation, 
Brian bashing the round face of Faith, 
blaming her for not keeping him up
when he fell asleep at the wheel. 

We hope
that someday nations may be as beautiful
and unselfishly ordered as the human
body
is.

Chad Faries was raised mostly in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is the author of Drive Me Out of My Mind and The Border Will be Soon (Emergency Press).  His work has appeared in Exquisite CorpseMudfishNew American WritingBarrow Street, The Hawaii ReviewAfterimagePost RoadCourt Green, and others. He has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and was a Fulbright Fellow in Budapest. He is an Assistant Professor at Savannah State University.  Visit him here.