September 12, 2016
Julie Marie Wade has written one of those poems where the set-up, the tone and the language-play give the poet a unique poetic freedom.
Beginning with the title, ‘Psalm in the Spirit of Dragnet’ – a spiritual form and a classic TV show’s style – she signals that tonight she’s got a hold of some ‘celestial swag’. Midway through the poem the ghost of Jack Webb (Sergeant Joe Friday in Dragnet) asks for “Just the facts.” The ghost of Harry Morgan (his partner, Officer Bill Gannon) “is laughing his ethereal ass off.” The poet’s ‘Axiom’ here is: “No facts, ma’am, only interpretations.”
The poet admits to being “good / at Magic 8-ball but bad at bicycle-built-for-two.” She wants all dogs to “ride starboard, at least once, on a flaming-red fire engine.” Wade’s poetic truth is like Jackie Chan’s drunken fighting style: everything is a bit off kilter but not so much that you can’t hold onto the wry notion that the artist will connect.
The poem is wonderfully inclusive in what it connects: a yo-yo and the moon, Hungryman dinners and the heart, and thunder that sounds like an old Zamboni driving “across a starlit, skating rink floor.”
Julie Marie Wade associates freely through her poem with the greatest of ease. The full moon that likely precipitated these moves “is never going to nail that triple Salchow”; but the poet is going to stick the landing.
‘Psalm in the Spirit of Dragnet’ is archived at: