Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Palace of Strangers Is No City by Stephen Frech

A Palace of Strangers Is No City
Stephen Frech
Cervena Barva Press 2011
ISBN 978-0-9831041-3-1

Review by Irene Koronas

“...In panic, we tell ourselves we're escaping,
but there is no escape. We make the world
we step into in the moment immediately prior.
Even now, for the length of time you have
watched that moving crew and the fine woods
accumulate droplets of water and for the
length of time you remember or call this to mind...”

A Palace of Strangers Is No City, rings true and awakens the readers to an extraordinaryprose poem. It is wrought throughout with fearful tender thoughts, how do we escape? Even in death, Frech presents us with, “chugging out to the vanishing point.” The poet presents a labyrinth of despair. This dream life presentation cuts deep into what some may refer to as empty conversations, a city that swallows its runaways, and makes poetry in empty rooms:

“You hover over your body. You are not dying, but you hover over
yourself nevertheless, half in half out of a basement window, two
police tugging awkwardly on your arms, grasping at your torso,
your chin, reaching for your belt, any place for a surer hold, while in
the basement the man has a hold of your legs. He's a large man and
his grunts sound like laughing, like he's enjoying a tug-of-war with
the police, a contest for which he's better suited, and he knows it
and knows the police are watching themselves slowly lose. You are
less sure than he...”

There is no stopping until we get to the last few pages and youth takes the love
notes and caresses the blades of grass, or is it just a dream, a cell, a mistake
that we need to, “pass tomorrow and the steady din of the world outside...”

This is a masterfully written book. There is no escape from page one to thirty three.
A must buy. A must read.

“Tell me this is not a dream,” you ask
“This is a dream,” she said, “and we are both here.”

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