Clearer by Mark Shackleton
Reviewed by Gabriel Constans
I don’t pick up too many poetry collections, but am glad I did this time. Clearer is formatted to throw you off the usual reading pattern, with sentences split, separated, and spaced all over the page. It jars you into paying attention.
This short work by Mr. Schakleton supplies a cornucopia of opportunities to look at the dramas, roles, illusions, and so-called existence, we all share, with a different view. There is no denying the darkness, the “hellish” aspects of living, the depressing events that take place, but there is also something within which it is all contained.
Here is the one that touched me the most and helped me remember to not get caught in my own play. To pay attention to the script I’m writing, and realize it is all coming and going, and holding onto anything is impossible. Better to give it away moment to moment.
Don’t Buy It
Don’t buy into your own publicity,
everything is passing.
This thing you’ve found is not yours to keep,
it was given to be given away.
You may not be here tomorrow but tomorrow is another day.
You will never get away until you give it away.
You will never know the stars if you’re afraid to lose your way.
Don’t believe your own publicity.
Whether good or bad,
happy or sad,
sane or mad,
from start to finish it was someone else’s idea.
Our young man from my hometown Santa Cruz, James Durbin, is rocking American Idol week after week and as of today, is in the top 7. That is out of over 100,000 people that tried out for the show this season. Quite amazing, considering the odds.
Not only has James continued to stay true to his interests, style and background, but he’s also been able to be quite authentic and not get too caught up in all the hype, publicity and judgments from the show, media and public.
Everyone talks about what he’s been through (father died young from overdose) and what he lives with (autism and Tourette Syndrome) and his supportive and affirmation producing girlfriend and their child, but what is most important and should be the quality that is most desired, is the music that comes through him (heart and soul).
James seems to be a natural performer and in some ways like Lady Gaga, is able to actualize what he sees in his head on stage. Combine that with a good voice and musicianship and it looks like he’s got it all.
Regardless of whether he ends up “winning” this season or not (as voted by the same people who voted off the best singer of the lot – Pia Toscano), James will have a long career doing what he loves and continuing to bring people to their feet.
American Idol has never had someone quite like James. Season eights runner-up Adam Lambert was probably the closest in temperament and musical variety. Adam has an amazing voice, which is more nuanced than James, but James is also James and when you hear him and see him, you know who it is right away… a big time winner against all odds on America’s most watched television show.