Sunday, April 19, 2009

the cruelest month review series #9

it felt like i didn't do anything all weekend. at least that what i had planned was to become engrossed in big chunks of nada. i partly succeeded, given that today i spent a very warm -- nay, hots!!!!! -- april sunday in our garden re-reading a pulp horror novel and hanging at the local park with the family. yesterday, nicholas and anna and i replaced a toilet tank -- the one nicholas destroyed a couple weekends ago -- then nicholas and i took in a movie, monters vs. aliens, which was cute enough being that it is a mash of '50s sci fi cliches and shit, and that's when i was astonished by the teaser for where the wild things are. i've no idea how that movie will turn out. the teaser, on the other hand, is a doozie, a real blast, a near masterpiece and now i have two movies to look forward to seeing in the fall, where the wild things are and the long-delayed, and allegedly slated for an october '09 release, adaptation of cormac mccarthy's the road.

at any rate, my review of michael sikkema's selection of poems led me to re-read a little book by a poet with whom i have the highest regard. sikkema's minimalist poetics reminded me a bit of a little chapbook by jon cone, enough salt, that was published, i think, by canadian alt-poet jwcurry's press curvd h&z and dated 19march2001. the book is very short and the texts are printed on heavy paper with what appear to be stamps. the texts are untitled and segue into the following text thru association rather than causal meaning. if i had a scanner i'd show you a pic of the chap for it is an elegant affair, a small rectangle, white with a cover that is torn like a child's construction paper is torn near the top that confirms that each copy of this chap is hand-made.

it is a labor of love and a pleasure to hold and turn the pages. the title is also printed with a rubber stamp in faded black ink with the lower portion of the letters are faded so what we see, for example, is the lower bar for the capital letter E missing. this follows an incomplete letter N, the bottom of the O is left open, and so on.

furthermore, cone's texts complements this hand-made elegance by being both gnomic and earthy. cone writes with an undisguised eroticism that grounds his lines both in the head and in the groin. take for example this piece:

Her behind beckons
like a bicycle seat.
The milk-heavy thighs
of the maiden beckon, also.

before one could think that the groin controls the mind other pieces within the collection serves to underscore a kind of detachment and serenity a zen acolyte might muster. take this:

What about the lies?
Show me the man whose
throat is uncluttered.

i'd argue that this sort of serenity is not a stable state nor is it easily attained. i read this piece as being stable and accusatory at the same time without lapsing into melodrama. it is a delicate piece written by, and i don't say this for the sake of merely saying it, a master craftsman.

now that cone is now too an excellent blogger [see my link to the right for his blog] i hope that he takes this chap and scan it in its entirety and publish it on his blog. i know the danger of small-press publishing is the fugitive nature of its publications. by posting it on his blog cone could make it available to any one who would want the chap.

that's, obviously, a decision only cone can make. it wouldn't replace the pleasure of holding the physical object in hand. however, the texts are what matter. i'll end by quoting another piece by cone, one that illustrates both a sense of humility and dedication of a life in poetry:

I remain a loyal servant,
looking for an ax handle.


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