(some of) The Adventures of Carlyle, My Imaginary Friend
“Hazners’ Carlyle is an imagination made carnate, then given short-pants and free rein. The result is a rumbustious meta-poetic Mad Hatter’s tea party: appealing equally to the adult and child sides of the mind. ‘His biddy, his—here / comes a dream—.’”—Mary Jo Bang, author of Louise in Love
“‘We live in the mind. . . [and] if we live in the mind, we live with the imagination,’ says Stevens, naturally. Time spent with Dainis Hazners’ imaginary friend Mr. C goes beyond life-affirmation. This interior epic is so sonically—‘his song is like a forge / at full fire’—and conceptually animate that I feel augmented, awakened to a living that is simultaneously ‘many-shaded white’ and —sprung with darkness.’”—Ben Doyle, author of Radio, Radio
At first glance these poems (which read like one long odyssey) seem sweet and peaceful—like taking a walk in the woods. But then, things turn darker: a storm blows in—and with it some Aliens, Ghost and Ghoul, the Hanging Man. Luckily, Carlyle has a few good friends such as Ruth, the Hag, the Boy, who are staunch and true and faithful. A whistling-in-the-dark suspense alternately stimulates and enervates the witness.
“Carlyle is spore, and mild. / He is swoon &sherbet.” Endearing and kind, if not actually cruel, he is also cold and strange. He shapeshifts, transforming into Magician and Jester, Surgeon and Scientist, Cloud; he studies fire and mirrors and bores holes in his own skull, looking for heaven. Throughout his many adventures, which range from the ludicrous to the life-threatening, he flies into the light and carries the reader with him on his perplexing and fanciful journey.
In Carlyle's universe, the stars
are inured to speculation—
When Carlyle takes a stroll
through his universe
with his hands folded
behind his back—see
how they make an L
for love?—with his cheeks
puffed out he is whistling
in the dark a tune
nobody ever heard before,
but with which, after—all
will become enchanted.