Under Damaris' Dress

Under Damaris' Dress

(Lightning Publications, 1996, 64pp. ISBN: 0-9632702-6-5))


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Under Damaris’ Dress

The Cable

Daytona Jones


Quilted Fish

Earthquake/Los Angeles

In the Name of Love

Black Cadillac

Now That She Has Gone




If It Is

The Slow Fast




The Midnight Sun

The Man I Am

Two Hands

The Coffin Addict


Weeping Willow


Painting in Your Underwear





The House of Ruth

Black Dog

Barons in the Trees


The Map


English 101

The Eleventh Commandment

Dead Chicken

The Kiss of Life


The Open Window

The Anniversary

The Fall

When You’re Away

Why Now?

The Correspondence of Love

The Secret Art

200 Kisses



Under Damaris’ Dress

200 Kisses



The poems in Under Damaris’ Dress were composed from 1993 to 1996.  The idea for the book’s title actually came from an earlier poem, “Under Damaris’ Umbrella,” which sat for nearly a year in a desk drawer—unfinished, unfulfilled, and unworthy.  How the umbrella became a dress is a constant source of amusement to me, but, simply put, it did what I wished—allowed the poem to take on more significance and, thematically, reveal how many of us are fortunate enough to gain our early education—romantic or not—through the gift, in this case, that a lover bestows upon us.  It is this prize which dictates the direction our feelings ultimately take throughout our lives.  Gentle hands, caring touches and the sheer tenderness of redemption ensure a journey that recognizes hope when we are able to give ourselves freely to others.

The desire for companionship is so much a part of Under Damaris’ Dress.  Whether that need travels by automobile (“Black Cadillac”), letter (“The Correspondence of Love”), or speedway (“Daytona Jones”), the reader can see, hear, and touch how each of us demands and requires the various symbols that offer us communication and meaning to construct a world around us that may make sense when chaos often rules our days.  If we can recognize the tumult our actions and those of others cause, we don’t feel as though we are the only creatures whose contentment chronically rattles us, despite our supposed capacity to love.  And to this end, there is always the question regarding who we choose to love (“Courtship”) and if that is truly a choice, at all, considering the past and the lessons initially learned.

Under Damaris’ Dress asks the reader to examine the daily clothing we select to wear and share with the few we deem worthy to see us for ourselves.  To crawl under the dress is to lift up a curtain we’ve been taught to close, revealing a secret that has long been kept.  Yet by doing so we almost automatically embrace the power of intimacy that can break us or make us as complete as possible.   By witnessing these acts of kindness on our inaugural trip to maturity, the rest of the journey can only be that much easier to endure in an uncertain world—often void of the charity it desperately needs.


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“Edelman manages to catch our darkest fantasies and secrets and grudging
loves with grace and wit.  His poetry also honors love and the erotic… a very
promising poet.”
—Stephen Minot,  Three Genres

“Bart Edelman’s poetry is true art.  These beautiful knowing poems are about
 loneliness, love and isolation, poems which have at their center a stillness as well
as a strong presence.”
—Cheri Davis Langdell, W S Merwin

“Edelman’s poetry shows an artist at work.  Always in control of his craft, Edelman
lets the humor, the fear, and the humanity involved in any person’s life shine
through… His poetry is touching, poignant, metaphoric and breathtaking.”
—Mike Cluff, Inside English

“Edelman’s work delves into the wonderment of childhood and the uncertainty
of aging.”
—Rick Holguin, Los Angeles Times

“Edelman’s poetry rings with clarity, exactness and honesty… Edelman curls himself
underneath other people’s skins, where he is able to speak from their experiences
and understand their feelings and truths… Edelman guides his readers to his places,
shows them images and confides in them.”
—Angela Phipps, Glendale News-Press