The Dirty Knees of Prayer

By Timothy Shay

Categories: Poetry
Imprint: Caitlin Press
Paperback : 9781987915082, 104 pages, March 2016


The poems in The Dirty Knees of Prayer are hot and dark as night rain. The new Honeywell fan blows whips of simmered air against Shay's glistening back. He suspects a dystopian future and apparently it has arrived. These poems shrug at death. A tide of smoke rises and hovers over the city. Shay's picture is taken for his collection of grief and apocalyptic love. These poems speak of sadness and self-fated things, how the heat blurs everything, the clouds send shrouds of water down. Here a thin gruel of hope is celebrated and dark elegies are showcased against the former truculence and lying promises of history, the placebo of mythology. The wry humour of mourning in an age of grief. Here is a picture of Shay against a green hedge. The poems do a rain dance. A five-step tango is executed with the ghost of Kubler-Ross. Songs of ruined breakfast are sung. Rags of pressed roses rise up from an old brittle Bible, its ochre pages ashen by exposure to the sudden light, become the dust on the roads of many summers.