Friday, November 05, 2010

Inventing God by Robert Pringle

Inventing God

Robert Pringle

Pudding House Chapbook Series

ISBN 1-58998-657-1



"A school of Protestant fish

boats down the Ulanga

aboard Tuesday evening Bible study

pouring gillfuls of Gordon's gin

on the rocks of free will…"

'Inventing God' poses "on a console TV, stares at the finishing touch."

Robert Pringle deconstructs his relationship with established religion;

looking for his own god, "God should have stayed, adjective and phrase."

The poems present all the 'things' god is not. I think the poems are protesting

but I'm not entirely convinced of what is being presented as protest, except the

poems do protest very well:

"A man and a woman

have knocked on the door.

Ten a.m., near freezing,

I hear the shifting

of leaflets and feet.

They knock again,

brood in close voices.

Wonder what they think

of my custom Harley

parked in the driveway.

I knock in return -

a chatter of teeth

and cross-purposes,

unwilling, it seems,

to trust their senses.

"We can lead the way

to His Heavenly Kingdom,"

quiet, a jangling of keys.

"I'm here to enjoy

His earthly Paradise,"

quiet, imagining that hot=

throated roar. "Are you

on the road to Armageddon?"

They could be easing

down the steps. "We know

the prophecy of Route 666!"

"I offer the joy of His

open road - hope the fuel,

charity a fair weather,

faith leaning into every turn."

Some of the poems read like a christian person on LSD

"Eagling from slits in spires, then race round

desks to shake His maiden-splitting penis,

flutter next the cloakroom coats as if

skirts in the face of Mrs. Spence

for all her harangues, hyperbole, finger-pointing…"



to the test pattern

on a console TV, STARES

at the finishing touch to a delicate hand

of The Galapagos Madonna,

clay homologue

to Darwin-in-Drag effigy

hanging from a Dollar Mark Cross."

Pringle experiments with word play, uses language poetry and sometimes

the poems are metaphysical in their meaning, in presenting the truth as

omnipresent; the poet references ubiquitous themes, trying to corral

individual thought, reflections on society; (Donne?) or the modern poet lament

(Ferlinghetti?) All this is written with religion and social issues as subject matter


"…Late in the game…"

"We could be sucking in sulphur fumes

right now, straight from Satan's inflamed

nostrils…But, Revelations in extensor

" 'To him who conquers, I will grant…life

in paradise'." "We conquered! and every

particle of 'them' is now our cannibal bodies;…"

Where the poetry fails is in the conjunctions. There is a disconnect that

might leave the reader wondering what one phrase or line or verse has

to do with the other. Forget what I just wrote: I can't find a good

enough example from the poems to substantiate or to make a clear


"…Molten curse of earth

perpetual, black land sinking, senseless

with good and evil,…

Kind of the boatman guide,

nodding in place of my name."

The writing is powerful and I recommend supporting this fine small press,

'Pudding House,' by investing in this chapbook or any of their books.

'Inventing God' is a book that will call you back to read again and again.


Irene Koronas


Ibbetson Street Press

Poetry Editor:

Wilderness House Literary Review

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