Lemon Bars of Parnassus
With an eye trained on the curious, often quixotic details of a world in which “the only gods left are bandaged and wear glasses / because the old gods are all locked behind / the Lemon Bars of Parnassus” Lee Kisling shows us lives lived after the bad choices, the accidents and catastrophes. Sorrow and comedy make comfortable companions in poems that wonder where picnic rain comes from and how the moon can “make magnets of hands and lips / when the world / is so full of care?” This is not a world of conventional beauty, but one where stars “sparkle with irony” and the telltale signs of a town’s ordinary human tragedies are witnessed by owls. Taken as a whole, this collection invokes a certain disquiet but also the unmistakable majesty of the human journey.
Lee Kisling, an Iowa native, is an engineer, writer, husband, and father of two who has lived in Hudson, Wisconsin for twenty-five years. In 1992, his first juvenile fiction novel, The Fools’ War, was published by Harper Collins. He has written many songs and poems, plays the piano, and in 2008 had a series of cartoons published in the Wisconsin poetry journal, Free Verse. The poems in this collection are from 2006–2010. He is currently enrolled in the Creative Writing Department at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The Lemon Bars of Parnassus
The god of electric guitars is behind bars
and the god of dancing naked is behind bars
and the chocolate divinities have been detained
and the purple painters and the hollyhock men
are wanted by the law again.
The god of singing songs is behind bars
and the pillow talk gods are all behind bars
and the lords of comedy have disappeared.
And the man who is shot from a canon went up
and up and never came down.
The bumper car gods and the candy bar gods
and the yellow kangaroo cookie jar gods
are all behind bars and the skeleton key
has been dropped to the bottom of the Vinegar Sea.
And the only gods left are bandaged and wear glasses
because the old gods are all locked behind
the Lemon Bars of Parnassus.