Friday, May 14, 2010

January 2008 by Ben Mazer

January 2008
Ben Mazer
Dark Sky Books
ISBN-13: 98-0-615-34305-1
$17.00 2010
"These poems, written in a short period of time after the death
of Landis Everson…" Mazer lays down words that, somehow,
comfort, invite our participation. The poems are not soft,
("Betwixt you and me is a tying of sea and sea…") but concrete
images, sounds from the past. The reader is privy to notes, from then,
to departed love. Something raw is happening in this collection of work. Something digs and digs until; "The rented seatings of the sky that blew into new friendship clattered on the ceiling."

"Last night while you were rustling through the cans
I tried to warn you not to go through mine.
Writing this to you wasn't in my plans,
but since we're at it, to avoid a fine
for both of us, and to appease my mind,
will you in future please refrain from taking
the boxes marked in yellow. If I find
that there is any problem I'll be fucking
out to murder you. Having said that,
I don't mind if you drop by to say he.
On Saturday someone gave me a hat
which is just your size. I mean it please stop by.
You may have messed things up with my landlord
but I have ways to make you really bored."

Every scrap of paper, page after page written from or for a prayer rope, Mazer rocks his head, bows before the wall. The reader reaches into cracks where messages are left:

"Two shots of whisky vile
at midnight floating atop two Magner's.
I drank some water and later puked it up,
puked up twice the vile taste of whisky
which poisoning my tongue made my eyes cry.
Then the next night I order wrong, a guiness.
All dark thick creamy richness, heaviness.
I sank into a stupor with red eyes
held my stomach straight and only hiccoughed.
I never brushed my teeth, and smoked a lot."

The January poems melt when licked and all the sorrow is engraved,
for the time being. Mazer still plays with phrases, "She is an wis, as any wis an wis."
His curtailed days lengthen and brighten our need to keep reading all that he writes.
Irene Koronas
Ibbetson Street Press
Poetry Editor:
Wilderness House Literary Review

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