From the title, a reader already knows that Zachari Logan’s A Eulogy for the Buoyant will be a book about death. It is a little book in a black paper bag, on the front of which has been stenciled the title. Modestly covered with a blank sheet of Mylar, hand bound in a thick black paper cover, inscribed, ‘for Dad’ in red pencil crayon, the book is a sandwich of drawing paper and thin rice paper with text that shows through to the studious graphite illustrations of branches and flowers.
There is an elegy for a lover, a self, and a home. In a voice directed to the dead, which makes it seem more personal, less introspective, Logan explores grief in a numbered exploration called “Burgundy: 1-17” :
2People here amuse themselves, to deal with the loneliness
of obscurity. Debating the timeliness of winter how breath loses
contagion when February catches it. Christmas presents,
tombs housing the memories of Christmas two months dead.
Philosophising loss until it is little more than apprehension—
and the assumption is, normality follows.
Rich in language and depth of communication, in only a few lines this stanza views other humans as if they were a study, noting that it gets so cold for so long that one feels disinfected by the air. It also uses the Christmas holiday to represent passage of time, and how things are not getting better. Reading this, I see someone standing limp armed, in front of a dead Christmas tree, because to clean up is to move on.
Is this poet, in a sense, amusing himself? Is Logan writing this as a distraction from a real death, attempting to get over all deaths, sentimentalities, or the ends and the beginnings? There must be some catharsis. I have to say, that “Burgundy” is my favorite. From the same poem:
6One full moon and I’m still at your deathbed
gazing at a burgundy rose in a bouquet you received.
The unconscious beauty aware of how it’s frail petals bend
This provides a well done sense of how time lengthens, slows, and stretches when one is lost. Though time can seem to stand still in grief, natural processes continue. I view this rose as a symbol of how life is not circular, but linear. One can never go back.
For such a dark subject, the title is apt; A Eulogy for the Buoyant by Zachari Logan is a surprisingly light body of observations about life and death. The illustrations—ghosts behind the writing that tie the poems together, branches and roses that stand behind – providing a framework of support for these poems.
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