there seemed a river
a book by brian david cinadr
james tully's father is dead, like 'jesus dead and door nailed'. his fiancée has moved out, his world as rootless as a fallen tree. he will travel home along the river that bound him, that bound his father, to the constant rain and the residue of his past, to the last days of his father’s life long suicide, what seemed to kill them both.
james is a product of his past, of his parents’ push and pull. every word he utters is an archeological dig into where and who he’s been. james is a san francisco artist, but he is also a blue collar welder for the california transportation department and more importantly his father’s son. “there seemed a river” is a reflection of james and his loss and of everything that still remains a part of him, as he was part of them. everything lives on, it only changes.
The sustained metaphor of the river as the place of dissolution, but also rebirth, is beautifully handled with intelligence and passion. the earth, the house, his father’s body, even sentences blur and merge in the overwhelming presence of the river’s flowing.
Indiana University Press
“...our blood lines point to the ground, to the great lake, to a depth we can’t know, all this water, like our pasts, rising up into the center of these storms, rages we raise up from bodies of water, from the north and northwest, dark thoughts that plague us and the region. in our time we will know flood waters and in our lungs again. i’ll know, i’ve always known i’d drown here.”