What we're doing here is celebrating National Poetry Month, which is a great idea, even though I didn't think of it. It was Gerald So, editor of The 5-2 Poetry Weekly who asked me if I'd be part of a blog tour by choosing a favorite poem from the site and writing about it. It's never easy for me to choose a favorite, so I just decided I'd pick one of the many that I like quite a bit and write about that one. Which brings me to one called "Suspect Has a History" by Jack Bates.
It's a two- (or three-) character poem, and I have to admit from the start that one reason I chose this one was because of the performance of it by Alison Dasho, Thomas Pluck, and Gerald So. You can read the poem and listen to the performance here. I highly recommend that you do that. When you do, you'll see that the poem's a dialogue between a police dispatcher and a cop. The third voice is either a narrator's reflection or the cop's thoughts about what's happening. The whole conversation seems purely mundane until you get to the reflections, and then one simple word, part of the everyday vocabulary in a radio call, takes on a new meaning. The word echoes throughout the rest of the poem, with the meaning shifting just a bit each time until the final lines, when another line from the poem's beginning gets echoed in the chilling and effective close. So if you haven't read it as I suggested earlier, do that now. You'll be glad you did.
If you like reading reactions to poetry, here's the rest of the blog tour schedule. And if you write crime-related poems, editor So is always on the lookout for a good one to run in the weekly slot.