Amor Fati

by Jack Mueller

These poems embody Jack Mueller’s lifelong obsession with language. Personal, universal, heartbreaking, and with a coyote running throughout, from childhood and family life, to philosophical musings into deep time, big space, old history, and the origin of words. This book is Jack---continuing the argument and conversation he has carried on with everything and everyone, forever. This book contains new work as well as poems culled from the past thirty years.

"Amor Fati, a thick volume of new and selected poems from Beat affiliate and once San Francisco fixture Jack Mueller, truly lives up to its name (Lithic Press; 177 pages). "Love of fate," as the title translates, appears in these pages in many forms: as contemplative acceptance, surly fatalism, awed joy. One moment pondering the nature of death, the next exuberantly describing a bird, Mueller vacillates between optimism and resignation as he moves between the registers of philosophical abstraction and concrete observation. Distinctly the wok of an older writer, Amor Fati tackles almost exclusively cosmic questions- about mortality, love, and our relationship to language." 
- Maggie Millner, ZYZZYVA


 

Excerpt from Amor Fati:

What I can’t change-changes me.
A solar flare opens a small room inside me
And burns it up.

Though without ambition, and with
Best intentions, a full moon
Knocks me off track…

A war distempers me
An overheard remark
Makes it impossible to sleep.

The slow combat of classes in peacetime
Edges me out of the restaurant,
An insect invades my diet.

A poem I didn’t ask for
Writes a year off my life,
A virus stops a hot work cold.

Banks charge me for making money
Off my money. A volcano trashes
My favorite sleeping lake.

A woman I have never seen
Seduces me. What I can’t change
Montages me

Thickens my ear, contradicts my eye
Forces me to make
This reply-small fight

Against a brute, unanswerable tide.
Men are not free-my neighbor is poor
And impoverishes me.

Earth, I volunteer my fate to your position.
I am subject to the dictatorship
Of your yellow dwarf,

A slave making a battle song
To forces greater than myself,
For what I cannot change.

 
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