quick note on a good read
for a while i lost touch with a poet who i consider a good, if geographically distant [because i'm west coast and he's east coast, and i rarely leave my burg], friend, steve caratzas. if you clicked on that link you'd see steve's not updated his blog in over a year. a few weeks ago i was curious to see what he was up to so i googled the hombre and found a few of his poems published here and there.
i also discovered caratzas recently published a new chap, past present suture [drifting man press, 2011]. i ordered it right away. a few things are different in steve's verse. the work still retains a tough rind but has become structurally ambitious. i once compared caratzas to a meat poet. a meat poet was a label used on writers publishing during the mimeo revolution of the 1960s and 1970s where the work was simple and brutal. early bukowski fit the example; so does sac's own douglas blazek.
these aren't poems that are throwbacks to an earlier era in publishing. instead, steve's formerly snap-in-place linebreaks are looser and enjambed. these poems remind me a bit of australian poets like david prater or liam ferney or paul hardacre. if i lose the thread here it's because steve's poems sound and nearly behave like i've known them in earlier chapbooks such as It Will Be A Train  and The Incredulity Tour . yet the toughness of these earlier texts have yielded to an ambition in the making of these newer poems.
We could use the discouragement
so gimmie gimmie gimmie some
pain that lavender scented everything
makes nothing feel better who knew
though I have long suspected life is
tricky sometimes in a sweet way too
but you know the tune better than
most unlush life without a roman collar
on nor god nor irony and something
about men and their fear sets you free
under the influence of me arms without
hands on the jackpot didn't you? I hadn't
thought about it was you and you only
such infernal appraisal is final approval.
i love how this poem quotes, i think, song lyrics. that's how i read it since the line '[s]o gimmie gimmie gimmie some' sound to my ears a lot like an early black flag tune rasped by henry rollins. it is one of the many pleasures i have with this book. caratzas is also a musician and his craft with sound is plenty abundant in the many slant rhymes in the lines.
these are fluid, ambitious texts. but the old caratzas makes an appearance in the book too. many pieces are flat out funny and they are poems of work and working for a living. steve caratzas is a full-blooded 21st century writer. one whose poems embody not just the life of the text but the life of the writer. take this poem to the office with you.
Life Among the Cubicles
I've completely lost my will to live
I wonder what I should have for lunch
I can't believe that pig is married
It smells like someone is eating stir fried shit
No one cares about your trip to Baltimore
tell me you don't recognize yourself in that piece. anyway, this is an excellent chap and i'm glad steve is alive and writing.