Wednesday, January 09, 2008
the burning mirror poems by kerry shawn keys $14.95 isbn: 978-0-9772524-9-7 1.1.08 presa press p.o.box 792 Rockford Michigan 49341 www.presapress.com
from the last line from the beginning poem, 'empire', "the sun sank unworshipped into the distance, not until cock crow would there be any sign of resurrection." this grabs my attention and spins me further into the book. he moves from concrete images to surreal images, sometimes there is pure fluff, ".in heroic verse on helium angels.." to the surreal, "I disguised myself as a b-29 on the corners of the cornea of the cyclops so that an artist would depict me miles later as a mote of dust on achrysanthemum."
by the time I get to page 50 and 56 the above line rings true, (the disguise). on page 50 the poem ends with, "..for sparing the women for God. "what does that line mean, even out of context? are women saved by wrapping themselves in cloth? on page 56 the poem "ginger" refers to mother and prostitute like a well laced cliché. now I'm suspicious of his intentions to be experimental (?), which for me means contemporary, (keyes seems to be bringing the past into an un- thoughtful present, and the result is benign.)
"good word slinging." like ginger in a pink silk dress that flounces, layer on layer gathers momentum as ginger twirls, the layers lift and we finally get a scent of what's underneath. he admits to hiding with cyclops and the one eyed view is distracting.
"when the leaves aren't falling, still nimbly attached to the branches of the birch trees, the light then gently flutters among the leaves and around the branches, and enters the window fluttering, and flutters on the carpet and wall dancing with its partners, the trembling shadows." this line from keyes' poem, 'almost invisible,' has nine 'the's' in it. if I pile all the'the's' from all his poems, I could end up on mars scraping dust off the moon.
"the circus of hope on the thinnest split-second of theoretical hairs." I can identify with the poets need to have so many references so many words so much cover so many reflections, nidify, make a nest of all his learning,concepts and delightful images. there can be no denying his poems will try to impress the reader.
irene koronas is the poetry editor of the Wilderness House Literary Review