Self-knowledge is the subject of the poetry of __________. But it’s definitely TMI self-knowledge. It’s the type of stuff that makes a seasoned psychologist whither into fantasies of a tropical retirement while saying, “Tell me more.” I mean, it’s gross. It’s like a stumbling block bore a sonnet. Stumpy, stupid, and unrestrained. It cries at weird times and hugs you too hard. It just unloads on you at a shopping mall about all this shit that is happening in its life, but there is something like a challenge it issues. It dares you to one-up it, even if you embellish a little, even if, while you are saying it, it feels like a lie.
To understand the poetry of ________ imagine two people were loaded into cannons. The first person is a polymath, humble, holistic, calm, society glue, enlightenment ideal. The second person is decoy and deceit, the loudest clarion of lust, drama gasoline. Now imagine these people are shot directly together, and when their brains collide in that millisecond of mélange, the only thought of the combined mind is a dolphin giving the reader the middle finger.
Have you ever cried when throwing out an inanimate object because you think of it lonely in the trash dump, there forever until it decays? How faithful the object was, for so long. Do you ever stand in the mirror, still wet from the pool and say to yourself, “I am Absalom” and feel twenty men running in front of your chariot? Do objects around us come alive when we sleep? Are they plotting murder, only held back by some ancient oracle? The poetry of _________ asks questions like these for the first half of the book, for the second half it just screams.
Praise for this Book
The poetry of _______ feels like the sad bowl of salsa in a small-town Mexican restaurant— too much tomato, too much cilantro, the chips dusted with some strange brown spice; and on the television news footage of someone being pulled from a flash flood by a helicopter. You can read her lips as she shakes, thank you, she says, thank you to my rescuers.
The poetry of ____________ ate a star. It took a while because first it ate its starlight.
The poetry of _______ is like a teen that shows lots of promise, plays a mean French Horn, has a high IQ, but something is off, he’s a little too vain a little too young, looks in the mirror for hours and isn’t very nice to his girlfriends, who are always so sweet and bring little gifts for his parents. When he breaks up with them, they cry on the phone with his mother. The poetry of _______ looks like his father in the shoulders and the nose. Everyone is pretty sure the kid might turn out bad, but nothing is quite decided at this age. He could still grow out of it and be a decent man. Things like that sometimes happen.
Frank Montesonti is the author of two full-length collections of poetry: Blight, Blight, Blight, Ray of Hope published by Barrow Street Press; and, the book of erasure, Hope Tree (How To Prune Fruit Trees) published by Black Lawrence Press. He is also author of the chapbook Arts Grant. He lives in Los Angeles and is the lead faculty of the MFA program at National University.2