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"Midst of a Burning Fiery Furnace," by Dave Lucas.

“Midst of a Burning Fiery Furnace,” by Dave Lucas.

Sometime’s wisdom comes in the form of poetry. Those words that can be both beautiful and terrifying, and for me often arranged in a riddle that I can’t quite figure out.

But in “Midst of a Burning Fiery Furnace,” the first poem in Dave Lucas’ Weather, I don’t need to pull out my poetic magnifying glass. I get it — because I, too, am in love with Cleveland and the Midwest.

Considering I struggle enough in reading poetry, coming up with the meaningful words to describe it are clearly not my forte. Luckily, other people have already reached out to Dave to speak about Weather. One person is Joshua Ware, who included this tidbit of an interview with Dave on his blog (you definitely want to read the entire entry here!):

I find especially apt the perhaps inevitable analogy between poetry’s reputation as a dying art and Cleveland’s reputation as a dying city. I want the poems in Weather to strike against this idea; I want both the art and the city to be, as they are for me, in the present tense.”

Weather by Dave LucasScattered throughout the collection of poems are references to the Rust Belt and, specifically, Cleveland. I’m grateful to have grown up in a city I adore so fully, and even more pleased to be in the company of others who also believe in the future of Cleveland. Not just the future, but the present.

As Dave mentions in his interview with Ware, Cleveland is often lumped with cities going through a “smaller-scale apocalypse and exodus.” But the city I see, live in and dream about is full of life, beauty, passion and community involvement. Big cities of the Midwest are not just carcasses left behind by industry. They are very much alive and prospering in the present, even if improving slowly and in their own way.

It’s for these reasons that this poem resonates with me. Dave is reading tonight at 7 p.m. at the Lakewood Public Library. After I chow down on some pizza from Angelo’s you can bet I’ll be there.

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