Greenspan, David: One Person Holds So Much Silence

Greenspan, David. One Person Holds So Much Silence. Driftwood Press, 2022, 77 pp.

Blood, spit, mirrors, prescription drugs: these are the images that stick with me after having read David Greenspan’s smart, gritty poetry collection One Person Holds So Much Silence. Waves of pain, waves of painkillers: this is how I would describe Greenspan’s poetic line. For example, take these lines from the book’s opener, the wonderfully titled “Poem for a god of my own understanding”:

Florida covered in cuticle
mush warm       throat pink
bloated with Vicodin
no spit to speak of
how many times can I find myself
covered in honeysuckle
before I wise up

Or the closing lines from one of my favorites in the collection, “Poem for Florida”:

____________________The sun
touches itself in the backyard
as the dead mosquito
around its ugly medicine. I sit
rat tail against dandelion stem,
bruised as ground fruit and
drinking from a hose.

Or these, from the long piece that closes the book, “A Poem to Pass the Time”:

I look balder than I feel
like a hardboiled egg ___ a quick mouth
a seasick ache ___ I was never
mentally ill just unfit for production
pessimism of the spirit
the feeling of a twenty-dollar bill
slid firmly between teeth

There are many other excellent poems: “Skinny Fisted Sons,” “The first time my father cut himself,” “Palliative on a Rooftop,” “Body by Adderall,” and both pieces entitled “An incomplete history of.” An added feature at the back of the book is a revealing interview of Greenspan by Jerrod Schwarz. All in all, a very satisfying collection.

–Tom Zimmerman,
22 February 2023