This is a lovely reprint of an out-of-print 2001 edition published by the Bunny and the Crocodile Press in Washington, DC.
Fiddledeedee, really one long poem and its prologue, further weaves the author’s magic realism over Paul’s Hill and in the process mixes in some of his most directly autobiographical narrative:
I was born June 14, 1998
Flag day, in the sign of the Gemini,
on the Wheel of Changing Change, in a pure
accident, one identity coming out of the other. . .
I was gotten my father said
from “pulling out not soon enough”
and that was enough to get me started:
said my ears were so big he put me
on the top doorstep to see if I would
fly the long swallow up the shadow-grown
loft of my crib . . .
Lots of characters and stories, jokes and songs, and then suddenly, along about the middle, a setting-the-table-for-supper scene takes us out the window, where
across the road is the old Stephenson
cemetery: seventeen slaves are buried
there without markers, anonymous as the dirt:
The next six lines rocket us across the decades since those burials, as the hedges fall, the wire fences grow / into the tree trunks: birches break . . . as the land reclaims them and suddenly we’re back in the kitchen, where
my mother’s hand goes like a
bird on a nest, making a crater in
the flour for biscuits, and when she brushed
a lock of amber hair from her face,
she left it white: she was young and beautiful
and now she is beautiful. . .