After watching “Being Flynn” tonight–a terrific adaptation of his memoir, Another Bullsh*t Night in Suck City, with great acting from Paul Dano, Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore–I’ve found rekindled in me the very real urge to devour Nick Flynn’s precise and potent verse. The first place I went back to, the place I also go to first when wanting to read Flynn, is his poem “fire” from The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands. These are the opening stanzas:

“more the idea of the flame than the flame,
as in: the flame

of the rose petal, the flame of the thorn
the sun is a flame, the dog’s teeth

flames

~

to be clear: with the body,

captain, we can do as we wish, we can do
as we wish with the body

but we cannot leave marks—capt’n I’m
trying to get this right” . . .

fire by Nick Flynn : The Poetry Foundation.

Jump on that link and take in the rest of the poem. A remarkable poem, one of my favorites of all time. The almost incantatory language bounces around the mind for quite awhile, the images and movements are vivid and stick to your bones. I also love his bee-centric cycle of poems in his collection Blind Huber, so I heartily recommend basically all things Flynn. It’s good for you, I’m convinced.

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