Thursday, January 04, 2007

Todd Moore/Gary Goude: Blood on Blood

Reviewed by: Christopher Robin

Paranoid reader alert: Christopher has met Todd! However, he apparently has not met Gary. So does this not balance out? And is not balance what we should strive for in life and art? And while Christopher, a fine poet, has met art, it is not clear whether he has met Art. We are not sure who Gary has met.

St. Vitus Press (2006) or:

If you are a Todd Moore fan you will enjoy Gary Goude, and vice versa. Goude’s poems are cut-throat, matter of fact images about those who live trapped in the everyday horror of the human condition.

Goude is an outlaw poet, and by that I mean he’s been places a lot of readers may rather not go. He also uses an economy of words, in the style of Moore. You may imagine through his poems that he has probably woken up next to the train tracks more than once in his life. Like Moore, he has lived hard and close to the bone.

These two poets fit perfectly together in this outstanding chap, which includes a color cover image taken from the film Reservoir Dogs. Goude takes us through the depths with tight lines: “I believe in the destruction/of everything man has touched and created,” (‘I Just Sit & Wait’); and from ‘The Bitter Life:’ “your teeth will begin to fall out/one by one/ your dreams will haunt you/with visions of ex wives/faces of your children/memories of dead love. Welcome to Hell.”

This is definitely not poetry one might read while sipping herbal tea in the garden. This is blood and guts writing while living in a world full of humans and rats, with not much distinction between the two.

The 2nd half of the book will not be disappointing to long time readers of Moore. If you light a match the poem will have ended, but the scent will linger in the air and you may feel like you narrowly escaped having your flesh singed. Moore’s section is entitled: “Lost in America,” and he is speaking for the forgotten: ‘benny always:’ “ask benny what the war was like/benny smiled/sd what war/then tapped his temple/steel plates/no pictures in my head.”

Each poem he writes is a unique story, a flash, a quick movie, a jarring of the senses, unforgettable. Moore has by now mastered the long poem (“Dillinger,”), and no one else can deliver a short poem like he does. I prefer to read his shorter poems, but no matter the length, the delivery is always clean, sharp, delivered with dangerous style.

I also like the inclusion of old black and white movie posters in this chap.

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