I didn’t know what to expect from iPoems for the Dolphins to Click Home About by Luke Armstrong. I don’t really do poetry, despite it being a huge part of my education, and I often want to punch poets in the face. I barely even knew Luke when he sent me a copy, and just looking at the cover made me scratch my head. There’s a medallion-like circle in the bottom right-hand corner of the cover, with the words “if this book were to win an award, we’d put it here” in the centre. On the back cover is Luke’s bio, next to a dolphin’s bio. The whole thing is kinda absurd.
But when my roommate and I started reading the titles in the Table of Contents, we couldn’t stop laughing. “Bathing Old People for Money: A Reluctant Memory.” “Why Shampoo Always Runs Out Before Conditioner: An Essay.” It took me awhile to figure out the Table of Contents don’t actually match up with the poems, but by that point, I was hooked anyway.
I like honesty. Honesty is good, and Luke is full of it. My favourite might be his cheeky and apologetic poem “To the Fathers of the Daughters Who End Up in My Bedroom”:
“You have raised her well, though
I admit my standards have
Slipped lately. Were you in my shoes,
You sir, would not have shoes on at all.”
Then there’s the ridiculously funny “Who Wants to Marry an Aspiring Novelist?”
“How about you?
Anyone in this bar?
Perhaps after a few more rounds?
Not ever? Okay. I understand.”
Ye gods, I do relate!
But despite these light-hearted snippets, other poems are just plain dreamy. Luke’s travel background and experience living in Guatemala is a running theme throughout the book, and my favourite is the more serious “Traveling Mission Statement,” shown in its entirety on The Expeditioner. This one brings on the strongest wanderlust, that universal travellers’ experience, the reason we do it in the first place:
“…to flood the mind with the waters of every sea, to drink the wines of far off lands, and gaze into the eyes of truth, to not be bound by native language, native tongue, to kiss enchantment and revel in the kindness of strangers promising to repay that kindness to the world…”
If I had an ounce of poetry in my blood, it’s about here that I’d pick up a pen and write something myself.
So go ahead and buy the book, support a fellow aspiring novelist, and then maybe hug a baby dolphin or something.
Thank you, Luke, for injecting a little poetry into my life again!