"Actual Air" is a book of poems by Dave Berman of the band The Silver Jews. It was published by Open City in 1999. Berman's poems are so amazing because each one uses up all the energy in the world to talk about the wonder of the little things in life that we miss, that we all pay no attention to.
Berman sees it all through his own eyes - you can hear it in his songs and read it in his poems - he wants us to see the little tiny catalysts of life, the little things in humans and in the hills of Virginia that we might have missed otherwise.
A little piece from Actual Air, just two sentences:
"In 206 a dog sleeps by the stove where a small gas leak causes him to have visions; visions that are rooted in nothing but gas.
Next door, a man who has decided to buy a car part by part excitedly unpacks a wheel and an ashtray."
"Actual Air" deals with the little boys who are missing the part of the brain that lets them make out with their pillows.
"Actual Air" deals with what it feels like remembering all this time later that you called all of your old love's new boyfriends "what's-his-name," and how no one deserves to be called "what's his name."
"Actual Air" deals with turning 28, and remembering life up until then - and how by now there is a certain hill you imagine when you hear the word "hill," and a certain face you see when you hear the word "her."
"Actual Air" is a wonder, a marvel, Dave Berman is living in Tennessee, probably with a dog that he loves very much, strumming his guitar and writing words that run through our ears and head to our hearts with chisels and band-aids, breaking everything and putting it all back together again.
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