Too Bright to See is a book that plays with form as much as language. The poems are a mixture of wit, nostalgia, high school English class, and good literature. There are love poems and there are poems about everyday life in San Francisco, the city where David Booth lives and works. One can see vestiges of Philip Larkin, William Carlos Williams, and Gary Snyder in the book, in a modern context. But David Booth’s writing is also honest. He lays himself out in the open, a mixture of facts and reminiscence, once upon a time love and acute observations of life.
On opening day a boy much too young to be smoking tosses his half-smoked cigarette into a trashcan and enters the building. Once inside, he takes the elevator to the top floor, where everyone is waiting. When the elevator doors finally open, he heads straight for the stairwell and, running back down to where he came from, finds both the trashcan ablaze and the crowd he’d always imagined.
A Near Tragedy
Once we were back on dry ground to cheer her up I told her I had saved up enough money to buy her a present. “Well let’s
go buy it then,” she said, and combed the salt out of her hair.
“No need,” I said. I had taken the liberty of picking something out myself and was even having it delivered to her house. Delivery was actually included in the price.
When she asked me what it was, I said, “If I told you it’d hardly be a surprise, now would it?” When she asked me if she could have three guesses, I told her that she could have as many guesses as she wanted, but that she would never guess, not in a thousand years.
“It must be a high definition TV,” she said next. “Is it not a high definition TV?”
“Let’s not play the guessing game,” I answered, and went up from the shore without her, wondering how in the world she ever guessed and, in the moment that she did, whether or not I had kept a straight face.