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Immaculate Fuel
Mary Jane Nealon

Four Way
2004 • 68 pp. 6 x 9"

$14.95 Paperback, 978-1-884800-53-5

Of Immaculate Fuel, Sandra Alcosser writes, "What holds a reader and keeps that reader returning to the poems of Mary Jane Nealon is the keen-edged and tensile strength of her compassion. At once longing to be priest, saint, caregiver, to become the lake that holds and suspends her, she is never far from a woman who wishes only to discover a way to lay my hand/on the spinning blade of a heart. Walt Whitman's genius found its path as Whitman attended wounded soldiers of the Civil War, and Nealon, as a traveling nurse and poet, becomes an attendant as well beside the beds of train jumpers, transients, streetwalkers, and police captains. Her vision is telescopic, sliding in and out, overlapping, allowing the polyphony of voices to unfold and become fully articulated. Dialogic, kaleidoscopic, her mirrors reflect intense layers of culture, of love and family, of hope and collapse. I'll be missed and will have to huddle with all says a thirteen-year-old narrator in the opening poem, as she stands in the rain, poised between the mundane and the extraordinary, watching for a landing of her own distant species on the moon."

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From the Book:


We are speeding through Georgia, your hand
between my legs in an orange VW Rabbit.

I am ashamed of the car and nothing else.
A black snake swims in the mirage of steam

over the tar road . If I let go my body
will plummet, so I am shifting in the seat

trying to hold onto your hand, to all of it.
My fingers are in your hair, we are

suspended like taht when the frogs in the swamp
start their murderous squeals. I am mud.

I am lifting out of the car, the smell of pulp
from the mill like the smell of roaches all around us

and yet, I inhale, and lift, and hold the dashboard
like I am in a skiff, rising against the river.

Snake of my spine shimmers, splits the bones.
I loved you for that. For my dissolution, for my slither.

MARY JANE NEALON was raised in Jersey City, New Jersey. She is the author of one previous collection, Rogue Apostle, published by Four Way Books in 2000. She received her MFA from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina. She is the recipient of two fellowships from The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and awards from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, and the Poetry Society of America. She lives in Missoula, Montana.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 11:53:17 -0500