Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Nicole Henares: The Bitch You Love To Hate

Reviewed by: Christopher Robin

Christopher has met Nicole. Whether he loved her, hated her--that has not been recorded for posterity. Nor is anything known about their posteriors.

$5. Available through: Magenta Press, 575 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA

Henares' poems may evoke colorful melancholy, brooding nostalgia and laughter. She uses a wide range of poetic techniques and her discipline as a writer is very evident in this chap. She also has an unpretentious, wide-openness that invites the reader into her vivid imagination, something that is lacking in most poetry that considers itself “well-crafted,” poetry that often loses its soul in an attempt to follow form instead of heart.

This chap includes her dedication to the history of her hometown of Monterey: ‘Cannery Row 21st Century:’ “Cannery Row/really now just a faded memory/of gray hit yellow/souvenir keychains/glossy real estate/and machinated dreams/against the slop of waves/kelp stink and exhaust;” to mockery of the pretentious hippie-fakers of nearby new age Big Sur: ‘White Boy with Dreadlocks:’ “I wear clothes from Tibet/and organic Patchouli. I smoke American Spirits/and see lotus flowers when I walk. I never fuck fat girls or fags.”

‘Mopey Boy’ is dedicated to every black clad skinny boy in every trendy coffee shop: “Oh, woe, boy; chew on the sleeves of your black wool/sit in the back of the bar/cry with your beer/scorn the dumb, the pretty, the fat, the baseball capped; write sarcastic poems: I get you, you the epitome of lonely, so tortured, so misunderstood/so real.” In ‘Bye Bye’ she delivers a verbal punch to the archaic institution that is the Miss America pageant: “like duh, Miss America/we want halter tops and navel rings/low-rise jeans and booty bling.”

And from the title poem: “I was a princess/and I worked at McDonald’s/I stayed faithful to Ken all those years/even without anatomy/he still pleased me. (You never knew because great sex doesn’t need to boast)”, from the title poem, a statement from Barbie herself, where she declares that she: “wanted to be your best friend,” and “was never a Brat.”

I also recommend her other books: Kelp & Cotton Candy, Lush, & Duende.

Blogperson's note: When Nicole writes of not fucking fags, she is obviously referring to cigarettes, i.e. that she is a nonsmoker. In the Didja Know This Department: The use of the term "faggot" to describe a gay person stems back to the Middle Ages, in England. Back then, when villagers found a gay person, they had a tendency to get fired up. They captured the person, put him on top of some rather dry wood, and started a bonfire. The word "faggot" originally meant a burning stick of wood (and, similarly, has since been used to refer to a cigarette). Hence the application of "faggot" to gay people, bringing back those times when men were men, women were women, and sheep were afraid of them both.

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