Robert Duncan Gray captures fleeting moments in ‘Cloud/Moustache’. I like how he does it. Every phrase is so small. These are fragments of ideas. While they come quick they do not feel rushed. Small size indicates these are spasms of the mind. As it goes on Robert doesn’t appear to be speaking to anybody. Robert thinks. Ideas bounce together in his mind. Words blend, hummingbirded, swallow, possumpeach, roll off the tongue in a mischievous way.
A simple hummingbird starts the ‘Cloud’ section. Feel sorry for the poor hummingbird. It never dreamed of becoming a swallow. Don’t think the hummingbird went to sleep in his stomach. The hummingbird got digested in his stomach most likely. Leslie scribbles on a piece of paper. Raspberries, they don’t make them like they used to, not anymore. Leslie could be a fox, easily.
Digested animals awake in his stomach. This unsettles him. Stomach birds tell him the babies aren’t theirs. He believes them. They are his now. Perversion is a human construct. Animals do not believe in it. Baby wallabies French kiss their mothers. Wonder what the animals call that: probably normal. We’re the ones with the large minds yet they remain so closed. Birds fly out. Guess he did not digest them. He is amazed at the beauty coming out of his mouth. All that remains is a cloud of colorful feathers.
‘Moustache’ returns to reality. ‘Cloud’ dealt with the surreal and beauty. ‘Moustache’ deals with the calm reality of Robert’s life. Coffee, toast, a crow’s song these are normal things to begin one’s day. A goat outside serves as a living lawnmower, you know typical suburban stuff. Porches are the laziest parts of the house. Nobody does anything on a porch. Why, they barely have Wi-Fi there. Children hate everything. Age colors childhood bright beautiful colors. Showers must always serve us with hot water. That’s all they need to do. Good men can be anybody. Good men are typically boring people though. I eat cheese sandwiches. They are yummy. It is strange we can change our emotions (a smile) with electronics. Photos used to be real. What happened?
I like the Grandfather sitting down. We used to revere the elderly. Now we anticipate them in a whole other light. Their age garners not respect, but nervousness. Robert waits for his Grandfather to sit down. The Grandfather is unaware of how others wait for him. He goes at his own pace at his own time. More people need to stop hurrying. Papa’s moustache twitches. Robert wants to do so much, to not speak to others, to dance with others, but he resigns himself to growing a moustache.
This is a calm book. Pacing is perfect. Every piece works off of the next. Robert appears to think on paper more than he writes. It is a comforting little book celebrating our quiet reflective moments. Those moments never seem to get their due, until now.