Friday, March 27, 2009

Book of Beasts by Kerry Shawn Keys

Book of Beasts
Kerry Shawn Keys
Presa :S: Press 2009
ISBN 9780980008142

Review by Irene Koronas

vignettes similar to a hair net, which keeps hair in place while cooking, maybe the net works while writing. Keys has caught small beasts and their friends or roommates. the pages turn smoothly, one to another:

“be careful of eagles.
they’re not friendly like beagles.
evil empires place them on seals
and greedy dollar bills.
they reform babies and sparrows
with claws like arrows.
they’ll kill you for a meal,
a good deal or a limo full of petrol.
O’ they’ll catch you for a lark
and throw you to the sharks.

the poems’ sense of humor, like a snake wearing a sombrero, may strike your fancy or hit a nerve, depends on the pantomime
or turtle progress:

“…hermes once burbled over
a turtle-shell lyre,
and his cowbell songs are
paradigms of desire.
turtles and bunny rabbits
run the race of time,
and both end up as road kills
in this world’s platonic pantomime.”

I’m reminded of the island of moreau. the doctor/scientist tries to transform animals into humans. he is half successful. keys tries to create beasts like a politician on a campaign trail. each vignette exposes subjects we may not be willing to look at:

“I could just dig being a pig,
not a guinea pig, mind you, but
a real bigwig porker swigging
slop in his own stylish brig.
just imagine being king of my own
creation’s farm, casting devils
(and angels) into swine, being holy
unclean, not some boring
cow or chicken…”

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