Cole explores the American West, isolating certain scenes both past and present, such as a new railroad breaking through previously virgin prairie, an elderly woman thinking only of her Kansas City childhood, and a gopher spying on human interlopers to his land. Sweeping through time and diminishing sentimentality, Cole attempts to paint a clear portrait, in both historical and personal terms, of his birthplace. He stacks his images within each poem's framework as if they were a slide show of fascinating, vaguely familiar photos. Occasionally, however, these brief glimpses into his childhood memories--his contemporary commentary, too--prove unsatisfyingly disjointed; the images, though singly intriguing, sometimes fail to interact with those that follow or precede them. This failing Cole confines primarily to the shorter poems; he does best when he allows a poem more time to develop. Longer pieces blossom with quiet articulation.
DR. JAMES COLE has served with USSOCOM and has been a Navy Officer, paratrooper, military diver, and surgeon. He left active duty in 2000 but after the events of September 11th, he rejoined the reserves and was deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq. He practices Trauma Surgery, Critical Care, and Emergency General Surgery in Illinois.