Sunday, March 27, 2016

Inexplicably - maybe I was hankering for Asian food - I was drawn to the title, "Megamouth Shark Eats Dongpo Pork with a Spoon," and decided to give it a whirl. To my elation, the poetry within sizzles and sings just as vivaciously as Fowlpox's imagery-intense website.

Round's verse is lucidly hysterical; the poems are pristine universes unto themselves, with jolting juxtapositions and otherworldly characters populating the lines with caffeinated vigor.

Take, for example, the poem inaugurating the collection, "Moralize Mad Windmill":

"I gave the tone-deaf octopus A missionary haircut
(No charge

And using kitchen shears

And punch bowl)

We stood in the rain..."

The poem goes on to relate how the follicled-octopus once played on a baseball team, then ends with some mystical musing:

“I asked if he ever missed the ocean The octopus looked at me quizzically Then laughed gently

"Nah,” he said while making a face “The sun is best seen above water.”

So we can see that Rounds is skilled at intertwining hilariously absurd premises with amusing but pointed cosmic contemplation.

Elsewhere, hallucinatory stream-of-consciousness narratives and surrealistic scenes reign supreme, with Pepto-Bismol taking center stage in the masterful "Love," and Elvis mimickers regenerating their fruit-limbs in the taut but fun "Michaux-Perreaux Steam Velocipede."

But these Dada-esque details do not eclipse slightly saner sociopolitical moments, such as in "NASDAQ (After Hours)," "Spokoynoy, Nochi, Irene," and, most eloquently, in "Arm Chair/Maine":

"...she paints confrontational portraits Of the working class, the unskilled The stubborn dancers in alleyways The people so callused to romance That they prove romantic"

There are also odes to romantic love and familial longing in "House of Myrrh" and "Four Year Old Boy," though the subtle subtext tends to somewhat undermine the messages here, at least how I am interpreting it.

But even such sober verse cannot erase the overall impression of savvy silliness ("Meet me on the other side/Of your personal data" from "Who Moves Who") and impenetrable curiosity ("Bag my heart/if Appropriate," from "Throbbing Spam for Heart").

Alison Ross,
Clockwise Cat 

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