Gendron leans in like he's going to tell you a joke, but who knows what a joke is anymore? All I know is I want to die. And by that I mean I want to live. I mean, what choice do we have? The sky is speckled with motionless burning airplanes, and vomit hums deafeningly under the street. Let's write these smart absurd little poems on dollar bills until there are no more problems.
Natalie Lyalin is writing some of the best poems in the world. There is an evil in her gorgeous poem-hearts. She must have sold her heart to the devil to write like this--so beautiful, so funny and so strange. Her images stack and stack down the page without spilling, each line such a bombshell you'll start reading backward to the first line. These poems are like babies--they will pop out of trees.
In Jennifer Denrow's California, California doesn't exist so it devastates us. It's like heaven that way: it's there just to remind us that we're already dead. In fact, very little is real in these obsessive poems--not the sky, not anything in it. We are just vowels amplified through a microphone full of throats.
When I was a boy, I choked on a piece of candy outside the kitchen window for a few minutes while watching my parents making dinner. I thought I was going to die, but I didn't want to scare them. Our existence was so separate, a dying and a doing well, an outside and an inside. Trey Moody's poems hover in that cold, wet, refrigerator-lit place between the dying and the doing well, the outside and the inside. His poems are the thoughts of the person you love who is always standing behind you, slowly and silently suffocating. But they're not afraid to say hello, and please, and I'm scared.
I often have a difficult time distinguishing between the memories of my childhood nightmares, the movie Time Bandits, and now Kings of the F**king Sea. At the heart of each is an unrecoverable distance from home. In Dan Boehl's poems, the sea is not home. If we stay on it, we will eventually drown in it, but there is nothing we can do. His poems are unforgivably wise. Like the sea, they are an unafraid mirror. And though they remind us it's always too late--that our adventure is a constant failure--their beauty keeps us afloat for just long enough.
Ben Mirov is the champion of the sentence. Every sentence is perfectly carved from a cold metal machine in the BART tunnels of Oakland that loops reality. They erase what they compress. I read this book and then puke in the shower. I read this book and then bleed on the sheets. My earlobes are wet. My pants are too small. These poems are about needing to touch something that you know your hand will go through. Mirov's poems are sick and crushing. This book marks the end of fucking around.