Wednesday, May 23, 2007



Absurd Good News by Julien Poirier
(Insert Press, 2006)


The body is a characteristic thing. Pressures it exacts upon its environment, along with such pressures exacted upon it, spur on the job of living. Where attention is laid comes care for the action occurring. Habits and forced behaviors, the crummy work of making a living, combine with chance and unknown quantities, taking a different street, going for a walk for no good reason, to bring about the corollaries art is concerned with. Old story, maybe, what isn’t seems rather naïve to any reader who’s paying attention. For those doing the writing the very thing is to remain physical, that thing you is.

                              my skeleton
               first off, depends upon
                              though compleat
                              has the advantage
                          blacked out
               winds turn
                                                            blindness to
               plus he’s sweet
and I can’t believe we’ve never spoke
                              an analogy
                              the scarred bowler
               my asshole
                              he peeps through
                                             predates me
                                             and he knows
                              flowing points
               when I dance

Poirier explores further. He finds the other inside the thing his body is; that sweet believer, total support on which his frame is hung and both dances with and upon. Poirier’s true grace is his willing embrace of abrupt jumps line to line, banging meaning around, syllabics up against good common sense.


Why say not when I fender garden water in?
a cream coupe the nebulous puppies
sleep off their hunches
                              & the sound of money
is the only lunch coming
                              her guitar
and trawled by suns, elucidate
their sexy waterskin
suns rush over the big problem
is they don’t rush. we are chortling
tricked by their heat, cold in hand
smooth customers
on the dime cool clover

Consonants are employed in the pursuit of joy. How terrific is that. Poetry is not limited to that serious business having to do with language, but, oh yeah, it’s about play, too, that serious business having to do with language. As Blackburn says, “My song’s of JOY, I’ll make it now”. Poirier’s traveling the same good old road as those troubadours Blackburn holds dear.

to the chime
sweet seedy & beckoning
gone & sexy

This isn’t some hallowed out insensitivity lacking swing. This fellow human named Poirier weaves his days and nights throughout every page. His words are visitors to the reader, accompanied by his cartoon sketched characters who tag along for the ride scattered with frequent delight throughout these pages. In “KID V. KIDARSKY” there’s encouragement, “Buck up, Oberon” that’s both playful, “MAX JACOB LOOKS LIKE A PINSTRIPED SEAL / your mama” and at turns serious, “if you’re not fixing mailboxes / you’re metering paradoxes” reminding the reader there’s work to be done which by necessity is cared for outside of the page. What matters is the world and the experience of it. To share with others and learn from that sharing, sharing it in turn, that all may have further opportunity of experience. Part of this endeavor is always to provide warning less the reader like Poirier as much anyone else too often dwell in that common sense of loss the human mind is fraught to giving itself over to time to time.


I return to the colony
                              only to find the donut
                                             an utter cipher
a perilous beauty
tempts me to embellish
                              and risk destroying
                                             its nature
to be open-ended, hardly
                              at all
dead as some
say my nature is
                              but too alive
                                             for my passion
                                                    I doubt
And crush the thistle

Thankfully Poirier is never fully lost to such darkness and repeatedly emerges in the dance song is. His words are energy in Blake’s sense: they delight in their own form. Such pleasure creatures of the human world desperately lack Poirier gives to his reader.


Patrick James Dunagan lives in San Francisco and works in the library at the University of San Francisco. He has published poems and chapbooks with Auguste Press, Blue Book, Chain, Mirage#4 period(ical), Pompom, Red Ant Press, and Snag Press.


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