Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Problem with Relativity: Short Stories by John Sokol

The Problem with Relativity
Short Stories
John Sokol
Rager Media Inc
ISBN 13-978-0-9792091-1-6
2006 $16.95

“...That was the only time I ever heard him really say it and
maybe the only time I've ever known what it really meant
and certainly the first time I ever saw how hard a man has
to fall and how many people he has to take with him before
he's able to spit it out.”

Sokol drags us into his short stories, skeptical, unyielding, we come
to accept the stories as our own. Usually, I review poetry books,
and whether this book was given to me by mistake or has a purpose,
there is no regret on my part. The characters jump at me, reveal
their familiar presence. The battle worn, the inter-generational,
the educated fall, the feisty reverses, and the pull:

“...Newton I recall, thought that space was spread-out, flat
therefore universal. The post office, however, seems to have
proven lately that space is relative. They're holding a letter
from Caroline in their space instead of sending it to my space.
I haven't seen Caroline at the university lately because she took
her senior class to Washington for some literary reason. She
promised she would write. She promised...”

Most of the characters are resolving, are trying to come to a resolution
about a particular circumstance in their relationship with others and
with self. Both are intertwined even when denial rides a plastic horse
like premonition, like a child being abused:

“...Did you hear me, you little shit? Get outta that goddamn tree!”
He says the same thing, every time. I don't answer. I just look
him in the eyes and shake my head no. that always makes him even
madder, so I expect i'll be up here for a while, until he passes out,
or until he storms out of the house, gets in that brown beater he
calls a car, and goes to the bar until two in the morning...”

Every short story in this book is a haiku, it drifts along the shore,
and the reader paddles in the direction the story sets. We end-up
floating on images, startled by the sentences, we remain engrossed
in conclusions; our minds raptured by the pull, the theft of being
left with a short story:

“ Horrible distrust developed in our family after that, and not all
the hostility was directed toward me. Everyone was suspicious of
everyone else. I swore on a stack of bibles that I hadn't taken the
camera and Marie said nothing at all. Mrs. Cuzman continued to
call occasionally to ask if anyone knew anything more about
the missing camera...”

A perfect book to carry with you when you go on vacation or have to wait
in a waiting room. The stories will help the time pass and will lend a
profound view from the authors perspective. A perfect book for those
dark winter rooms, or on an autumn night when moonshine wafts
through the windows. A perfect must read during any season:

“...When I try to figure out a way to resolve the inherent problems
between Joanna and myself, I remember the main doctrine I took
away from my readings of Hegel, that guy who maintained that all
human relationships are based on a master/slave component,
however blatant or subtle, however nefarious or overt. Each party
assumes the role for which they are most naturally inclined, or
they are subsumed into the role they play by the stronger will of
the other. I often wonder if relationships of even the most equitable
sort disintegrate if the initially accepted equation varies even a tad...”

Irene Koronas
Poetry Editor:
Wilderness House Literary Review
Ibbetson Street Press

1 comment:

  1. manson Solomon1:34 PM

    Hey Irene. Looks like a good 'un. Me gonna buy.