If you’ve ever read Duke Miller’s stories (which I repost here often), often they are grim recollections of his twenty years of refugee work, filled with regrets and sorrows but beautifully written. This is particularly true of his first book “Living and Dying with Dogs” and its companion piece “Handbook for the Hopeless,” a guide to getting and keeping a job (and your head) in a war zone. After our publisher closed up shop and we formed John’s Motorcycle Storage and Rare Book Disposal Publishing, Duke combined the two books into “Living and Dying with Dogs, Turbo Edition.”
It has been said of Duke that being pissed off is his way of dealing with life, however, his newest book, Tragedy Wears Many Hats, reflects a man who is in love with love, living in a world that conspires against its survival. Oh, there are a few pieces of “prose poetry” as he calls them, which bemoan the human condition, either comically or tragically but … well … I’ll post a few passages and you tell me if I’m right.
From Map of the Lungs:
My happiness blinked as I rolled to touch your warm skin, you were an ocean where the mountains rose beneath and the skeleton fish darted through slim channels, in never times, hours unkept, and I journeyed there, sighting upon your star-shaped pores, drinking at your eyes, never to live like that again, and I saw your map of lungs, there, at the bottom of the sea
We are all so helpless in this life, even the strongest and the richest and the wisest … the burden of scars forcing us to crawl while others run
Yet, there is the dressing of love, let us gently press it down
From Emaciated Horses
You need only tilt your head and let the wonder become your eyes and there it will be, everything great and small, the warm sad beauty that gives us life, that covers us with this terrible love we cannot name or forget
From Your Eyes:
I think of you and how easy it is to die, so very easy, and it is a lonely thing, but what a joy to have been part of your eyes
6 thoughts on “Tragedy Wears Many Hats”
I’m very much looking forward to reading Tragedy Wears Many Hats. Thanks for letting us know about it, Jan!
Thanks for posting. This was very enlightening.
And it’s a steal at the low price of … $2.99. Added to my kindle repo. As I’ve mentioned on TinHats, I find I must take Duke’s words in small doses. Like a powerful drug, they saturate the senses and sensibilities… often to overflowing.
Oh wow – this was rich and insightful – and you really got m with “Yet, there is the dressing of love, let us gently press it down”
— and side note – there is much talk about PTG – we have all heard of PTSD – but PTG stands for post trauma GROWTH and this post reminded me a little of that
That last quote is so powerful. Thanks for sharing about this book.
Yes Jan, since you asked I am letting you know: you are right [that]: “Duke’s newest book, Tragedy Wears Many Hats, reflects a man who is in love with love, living in a world that conspires against its survival.”