Rick Lupert's We Put Things in Our Mouths
Trying to figure out exactly “how” Rick Lupert; poet, open mic poetry host, publisher, graphic artist, husband, father and traveler finds the time to scratch out a few lines of his excellent verse always intrigues me. I know I couldn't keep up with such an exhausting schedule; however, Lupert has done it again, with his newest travelogue of poems We Put Things in Our Mouths: the poet's experiences in Amsterdam, Brussels, Brugge and Paris (copyright 2010 Rick Lupert, Ain't Got No Press).
Lupert's ability to discover and convey moments of everyday satori are well known from his previous books, His sharp wit and role as the anti-Griswold on vacation in Western Europe are what make We Put Things in Our Mouths an enjoyable read. Savvy writers, as a friend of mine once succinctly put it, know that nothing cool ever happens in the comfort zone, and Lupert often takes on the role of micro-historian, as well as ersatz diplomat, combining elements of profundity, humor, and pathos throughout his travels, like in Amsterdam, as in the poem “Sacred Cow,”
“We are on a bus to the outskirts
to see windmills and the birth of cheese.
The tour guide repeats her speeches
in English, Italian and Spanish,
but I suspect it's not equal as
I recognize words in the other languages
I did not hear in mine.
I hear the word hamburger in Italian
and we can only assume they are aware
we are American vegetarians
and will soon attack us with meat.
We are on guard.”
And unlike many travelers who put on a different “face” while on vacation, Lupert is uniquely and bravely himself throughout his poetic observations; confronting Amsterdam's anti-semetic legacy in “To Anne Frank;” dabbling in humorous art criticisms in the poems “The Assault,” and “At the Musee Rodin;” as well as sharing glimpses of his relationship with his wife (as well as muse) Addie, in the poems “Evolution According to Rick,” and “We're Getting Somewhere.”
High-brow literary types may prefer a more high-toned set of tales of a poet's adventures through a portion of the Old World, but then, why bother? Lupert makes being an American poet in Paris, as well as other parts of Europe, fun and familiar. If you can't afford a passport or a flight on Virgin Air, and you don't want to be cavity-searched by over-eager gendarmes at Charles de Gaulle Airport, then grab a nice bottle of Merlot, a slab of gouda cheese, and a copy of We Put Things in Our Mouths. It's the next best thing to being there.
We Put Things in Our Mouths: the poets experiences in Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris, copyright Rick Lupert, Ain't Got No Press, ISBN 978-0982058411, $12.00, 107 pages.