Eternal Patrol by Russell Dillon
106 pages, soft cover, perfect-bound
There will be no return, and you’ve not said goodbye.
We dive, and break surface, just as juniper
breaks into gin, just as wine haunts on as its former
grape. Often, everything, on one unending course.
But I know that’s untrue. And you know our maps
extend to the edges of unthorough imagination.
It is romantic to be beneath the sea in a time of war,
yet these hopes are overdue, presumed lost.
Stern-rigid difficulties and an imagined apology
for things we’ve submerged beyond seeing.
The air, and its oceans, they want to break into you.
I’m bringing this, and my ignorant translation of light.
It is Christmas morning. Your mother is crying,
and so are you, both trapped or dead beneath this ice,
within these pressures, these peekings, these tiny bits of glass.
PRAISE FOR ETERNAL PATROL
If I were a sailor lost at sea, Eternal Patrol would be my lullaby, my dreamed-of rescue. I’d listen to Russell Dillon’s warning: “Living terrified of the sea, I had no way to keep / myself from drowning inland, truncated,” and I’d know that if I weren’t lost at sea, I’d be lost somewhere else instead. These poems ask us, according to myriad adventures, Who are we/you/I/they? But answering this question would be like pinning a butterfly to a museum wall, real morbid. So, in Dillon’s world, we’re shifters—monster images cast upon ourselves, the empty box living in “somethingtude,” holding congress with the mighty wind.
The difference between being lost and wandering is what you find, and what these elegant, heart-rending, fuckall funny and smart poems find again and again is deep shining truths and their own stellar vitality. Russell Dillon is a perpetually wandering poet with a keen eye for local glories and an ear for strange outbursts of song, a tender guide through the terrors, lurches, and sudden exultations of life.
“remember: / you are not in charge,” writes Russell Dillon in his gorgeous debut collection, where every line sutures the romance of recklessness with the fragility of glass. These poems feel like the deep-pile lining of a secret hideout—feathers, twine, glittering detritus in the tree’s highest, most improbable branch. This is what gets said after the breakdown has diffused, after the rash act has been committed, when the speaker finds himself in the afterglow, almost alone, advancing a kind of perpetual exchange. Eternal Patrol welcomes the reader into the charged dilation between fight and flight—a heavy, soaring, totalizing space that is not the answer to anything, but is thrilling, magnetic, and relentlessly beautiful.
—Mary Austin Speaker
ABOUT THE AUTHORRussell Dillon is co-editor of Big Bell and author of the chapbook, Secret Damage. He began life in New York, continued it in San Francisco, and now continues it further in New York.