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Skenographia / David Gardiner

Skenographia

By: David Gardiner

€12.00
David Gardiner is an astute observer of the architecture of the ordinary; the unobtrusive details of the physical worlds he inhabits – the natural and manmade backdrop of American cities or of Irish vistas. He recreates each locale precisely, then renders it new, layered with depths of human emotion conjured from a deliberately understated perspective that allows no room for flourishes or false notes. By imbuing his physical...
ISBN 978-1-915022-30-1
Pub Date Monday, February 26, 2024
Cover Image The cover photograph is owned by the author and features his great-grandfather Maryanowski and family in front of the family store / speakeasy in Chicago. Cover Design: Judy Gilats
Page Count 84
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David Gardiner is an astute observer of the architecture of the ordinary; the unobtrusive details of the physical worlds he inhabits – the natural and manmade backdrop of American cities or of Irish vistas. He recreates each locale precisely, then renders it new, layered with depths of human emotion conjured from a deliberately understated perspective that allows no room for flourishes or false notes. By imbuing his physical environments with such emotive intensity, these poems evoke a unique landscape where the living and dead, the past and present can co-exist; where certain poems quietly brim with pain or regret and others with an immensity of love. Gardiner’s work is marked by a humane compassion and unflinching integrity, deftly conjuring unforgettable excursions into the soul from ordinary daily cameos. His poems seep into your consciousness to lodge forever. 

Dermot Bolger

David Gardiner

Dr. David Gardiner is a poet, editor and professor who was born and raised in Chicago. From 2006 to 2010, he was the founder & editor of the international arts journal, An Sionnach, which published Van Morrison, Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland, Paula Meehan and Eamonn Wall, among others. He attended the first Writers’ Workshop at University College Galway under the direction of Gerald Dawe and was taught there by Thomas Kilroy, John McGahern, Richard Murphy, and others. For over ten years, he directed the Creighton summer program at Trinity College Dublin. He has authored over sixty journal publications, edited over twenty five journals and volumes, and written five books, including the Salmon poetry collections Downstate (2009) and The Chivalry of Crime (2015). He is currently Director of the Center for Irish Studies and Editor of The New Hibernia Review at the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN).

Night Reading


Awake reading

nearly all night

when you are near.


You’re in my room.

I'm on the couch.

You both under


the best blankets

I have left. Hoping

that your sleep &


my wakefulness

might mend & remember

when I'd crack doors 


to the hall light

& watch you both—


mouths half open & beautiful 

as only childrens’ are 


& hope one day you might know

I’m forever awake for you.


* * *


Imaginary Mazurkas


Diversy and Mobile Streets


At night, I look for the big-kettled kitchens. Turn full from the parkway, 

stare through windows, & try to lift a view from the gone beat cop.


Through a broken blind, I see the women running the home,

catch glimpses of their mute dresses passing open bedrooms,

casting shadows across the front hallway.


Dzia dzias sit in red-orange lumpy chairs, unread newspapers folded,

antimacassars crumpled everywhere.


These shadows box tonight with the radiator hiss of wind through dead elms, 

the sound of truck breaks on the tollway overhead.


Sophie will wake up at four & cook dinner for Chrissy to warm.

Len will come home laughing & sleepy, toss a heavy lunch box on the table.

Adam & his granddaughter will fall asleep watching Gorgeous George.


The whole picture fades in miniature as I squint past my collar.

Windows steam & blue light creeps out. Through snowflakes the size of mothballs

The metal blinds are giving way back to those same lace curtains.


Turning the corner, I see the snow & petals of glass down the alley—

a sparkling, broken river of milk bottles from a tomorrow morning 


that has yet to happen again. It reaches west beyond Harlem Avenue,

away from this small square of light & rattle of the past.


* * *


Biopsy: The Stay


I’m at your bedside & you’re the only 

one now who doesn't know that you're dying.


You’re asleep but wave to me at one point.

I want to talk to you about everything now,

right now, before the doctor comes in late & then

tells you that you're dying.


We will never have a normal conversation again.

I’m wondering now if we ever did & why I hold this.


I want to stay this moment of execution.

I want you to truly wake. I want you to talk 

to me & to be like it was two hours ago.


I want so many things but only for you to live.

For now, I settle for holding your hand & praying


That the doctor not come & please grant us just that—

an absent walking away of this bad angel.


You wake briefly & open & close your eyes to me.


I want to talk to you about everything now, right now, now

before the doctor comes in, tells you you're leaving,

dying & we’ll never have a normal conversation again after that. 


We never really did. I just want that moment.

I want you to talk to me & it to be like it was two hours ago. 


But I know you’ve been hurting for too long a time.


The above poems are Copyright © David M. Gardiner, 2024

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