Tag Archives: Mark Johnson

Connie Deanovich’s Essence of Saint

the poem, then a brief essay

Requirements for a Saint

think of a saint
and you think
of the incredibly dull clothing of a saint
perhaps extreme temperatures
or the difficult terrain they travel
(everything about a saint draws attention to itself)
think of a saint
and your thought is not
of a train thrusting through lightning
but of wind that smells of wood
or a wet disease
(saint world is the world of the empty hand)
breath is sometimes banged out of copper
and so is a saint
often with bell attachments
I’ll make you a saint
from an unblemished code book
that must be read
in a German restaurant
where beer is served in glasses
wrapped in brown leather
when the cuckoo strikes twelve
this will be the moment
of ascension

Connie Deanovich, from Watusi Titanic (New York: Timken, 1996)

        When I think of Connie Deanovich’s “Requirements for a Saint,” I think of chairs—or rather, the chair, the mental image of the one that can reasonably represent the entire category of chairs. I see in my mind’s eye Van Gogh’s straw chair or my idea of a generic dining room chair. Actually, there’s no such thing as a completely generic chair (a visualization has to look like some kind of chair), but rather chairs of our quotidian experience. What I don’t automatically see is a lounge chair, an antique commode chair, or Lily Tomlin’s giant rocking chair. Continue reading