Tuesday, December 14, 2010

“Redneck Poems” by Rusty Barnes

“Redneck Poems”
Rusty Barnes
MiPOesias Chapbook Series
$4.25 Holiday Sale

Edge. Rusty Barnes work will walk you out to the edge, ask you to look over, and consider whether you feel your stomach drop or your eyes water as you read. This is the real thing. Barnes grew up in rural Appalachia and his words are shot through with those Appalachian roots. Barnes creates an image that arouses all the senses in the opening of “When the Wrong Words Get Said”

Car tire on gravel,
rough smell of beer
and roasted corn. . .

the low of cows,
moonshine slips in like a tongue
through the treeless hedge fence

His pen inks imagery onto the page that cannot help but offer us a clear and vivid picture. In the opening work with the killer title: “Hollywood Appalachian Noir: A Lesson,” his description of taking a fist to the jaw is fluid motion

Vaughan turns round and strokes my jaw loose on its strings with his hard-
working fist. . .

Soon I am ass-over-teakettle and not even Patrick Swayze
can save me now. . .

How can one consider putting a book down that opens with a poem that scores being on the wrong end of a fight with such lyricism?

“Redneck Poems” never loses its edge. Later in the book a poem entitled “Cutter” will reach your ears with the echo of a soulful mandolin

Between the witching hour and its successor
I caught her with my utility knife in the open closet

all sound ceases when in a few lines we read

. . .I grasp her by the forearm, press the brachial artery and try
to ignore her pleading, I just want to die, then Daddy,
then Daddy again.

There is only one thing wrong with this poetry book. It’s over too soon. This Holiday Season treat yourself to “Redneck Poems.” You will not be disappointed.

Rene Schwiesow is the co-host of Poetry: The Art of Words in Plymouth, MA.

No comments:

Post a Comment