A Catch in the Throat of Allah

Lynn Shoemaker

In the most recent chapbook from Parallel Press, Lynn Shoemaker examines the stages of grief, anger, and frustration in the wake of 9/11; “I admit that at first we wanted to kill you.  You and you / and you.  What is your word for it?  Payback.”

Through the prose poems in A Catch in the Throat of Allah, Shoemaker analyzes the way in which humans cope with catastrophe, redemption and the strong need to try and push back the darkness; how we must “care” our way to a better world.

Lynn Shoemaker grew up in a small South Dakota town and moved to Wisconsin after spending time as a student, an activist, and a journeyman teacher.  He is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he was a professor in the Department of Languages and Literatures.  He has been writing and publishing poetry for nearly half of a century.  Shoemaker has also been working in the peace movement for almost as long as he has been writing.  In 2005 he joined a Christian Peacemaker Team delegation that worked for a short time in Iraq.  His last published book of poetry is called Hands (Lynx House Press, 1982).  He recently became a proud grandfather to grandson Gabe.

A review of A Catch in the Throat of Allah appeared in the online issue of Verse Wisconsin in fall 2011. Writes Kathleen Serley, “I suppose on a bookshelf, one might look right past it. But open this chapbook, read Shoemaker’s prose poems and you will not forget this collection.”

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Dust Cloud
And now the dust comes over us, whitish, not so fine
as sleep, not so coarse as terror. It sticks like a muttering,
a moan. Meddler. Scar picker. Step by stairway, it works
into the floor cracks, street cracks, what we’ve never been
able to mend. Will the mercy rain ever return? Exilic, we’re
walking, then rushing away from ourselves. Our feet glyph
shapes we’ve never known before. Sometimes, we think
we’re breathing time, not air. Can we quit, stop, uptown,
downtown, ever? Perhaps our lungs will tell us, the grit
of the dead inside deliver up its pain. Will our stumbling,
ghosted, ghosted, make the new names possible, visible?
Our feet are praying for us, quick breathless prayers,
begging a way through the burning and the burned.