Excerpts from Lying in the River's Dark Bed: The Confluence of the Deadman and the Mad Angler
“I say water is better than money,”
— Mike Delp, “Mad Angler Speaks Truth to Power,” from Lying in the River’s Dark Bed: The Confluence of the Deadman and the Mad Angler. (Wayne State University Press, 2016).
Mike Delp, the water poet, has shared his poems at readings and on the electronic pages of our webpages in support of FLOW’s work “For Love of Water.” His poems are a testament to water, life, soul, his own personal search over for meaning through a lifetime of waking, fishing, and floating the currents of rivers. It is an honor to acclaim the release of his new book of poems published this past Spring by Wayne State University’s Press Michigan Writers Series. The title of the work is itself enough to provoke anyone to pick up the book and start reading: Lying in the River’s Dark Bed: The Confluence of the Deadman and the Mad Angler.
If you haven’t already met the Mad Angler or Deadman at one of Mike Delp’s readings, you are in for a ride, as if he’s talking to you from behind as you sit in front watching King Fisher or Blue Heron take flight or a fish rise and disappear in front of you while he guides the float boat down the river. If you have heard him read or read one of these poems rising out of mudflats and riffles in the past several years, this collection is your chance to do so. Let these poems skew your compass and shake loose the sediments in your heart and mind. Here are a few lines from just a few of the poems in this new collection.
“You pray for a second coming, the sky to open,
for people to be carried off, raptured.
I pray each morning for entire counties to vanish,
the boardrooms of Big Water and Big Oil to warp out of existence.”
–” Psalms of the Mad Angler”
“Deadman treats words like road kill,
runs them down, stops,
rolls backward and forward,
over and over.
After he flattens thousands of words,
he thinks he has invented a new language.
He writes a book,
‘Here read this
it will kill you.'”
— “Deadman as Writer”
“I trust only the sweet smell of rotting cedar,
the scent of mudbanks festering with nymphs,
rivers rising in my blood like an illness,
a fever sent by the god of desire to make his presence known,
something jolting through the veins to replace
the done deal, the raise with the corner office,
the soul trader you most likely have become.”
— “The Mad Angler’s Manifesto”
Take the plunge, float the rapids, swirl in the eddy, join the confluence where Deadman meets the Mad Angler in this collection of poems.