— review by Krysia Jopek, author of Maps and Shadows
front and back cover — photos by Steven B. Smith, white text added by JC
Click here for more about Blue Graffiti.
Click here to buy Blue Graffiti via Amazon ($5 for paperback, $2.99 for Kindle book).
Click here for more about author Dianne Borsenik.
Krysia Jopek’s poems have appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, The Wallace Stevens Journal, Phoebe, Murmur, Windhover, and Artists & Influence. She has written reviews of poetry for The American Book Review and a review of literary criticism for The Wallace Stevens Journal. Maps and Shadows, her first novel (Aquila Polonica 2010), won a Silver Benjamin Franklin award in 2011 in the category of Historical Fiction. The Glass House of Forgetting, her second novel (literary fiction), is forthcoming.
Body Voices by (Angus, Scotland poet) Kevin Reid is one of the most delightfully themed chaps I’ve ever read. From its “Preface” of teasing promise to its “Appendix,” where the poet tweaks his importance in the literary body, Body Voices explores [the speaker’s] being—physically, mentally, and socially—through poems personifying individual body parts.
The poems are filled with allegory, punning, and cleverly woven wordplay, guiding the reader on an expedition to corporeal lands familiar yet often under-explored.
In “Brains,” Reid skillfully combines masterful metaphor with physical reality:
I’m a hardback tome bound in bone,
spine-lined and stitched with nerves.
Void of font my volumes in cerebrum read a
testament of human speech and language.
In the wonderfully amusing “Nipples,” Reid wryly observes the existence of the male nipple:
Pocket studs on this male garment;
barely high fashion…
…Once I met a woman
who offered me a pleasing price
just to pinch them.
“Hands” winks at male physicality with a leer,
me with her lower hands and
whispers in my ear,
“You shouldn’t cum here”.
while “Penis” puts it into a coldly biological perspective.
My penis: a wanker,
a sex junkie who often talks piss.
Although witty and celebratory, Reid’s poems do not shrink from the body’s inevitable decay.
In “Veins”, he postulates
We will be the marble in mortals,
the black lace of the decaying corpse.
and in “Hair”, he zings us with the pun
In death we part.
The text of Body Voices is packaged in a beautifully designed soft-white cardstock cover with a royal blue leatherette cardstock insert, and is printed on pristine white paper using Century Gothic font. Cover art (photo by Steven B. Smith) features a haunting, disembodied hand palm–out behind an icy blue crosshatching–a surreal suggestion of the anatomical hors d’oeuvres within. This book is filled with lots of tasty bits. Don’t be late to this table… get your copy and dig in today!
Yesterday I heard from Martin Petersime, a long-time friend in prison.
Here’s a paragraph from this most recent of his always interesting letters:
March 27, 2009
“The smoking ban is now in effect here. There’s still quite a bit of smoking going on and bags of tobacco (formerly sold in the commissary for about $5) are now going for almost $200. Individual hand-rolled cigarettes (small ones!) are going for $2 apiece. Tobacco is as expensive as marijuana these days. Those guys must really want to smoke. The urinals are still plugged up with butts, too, and I don’t mean the human kind! The smoking ban has caused some fights and other tensions. As you know, Mansfield Correctional (ManCI) is a close-security prison right next door. Last Friday we were locked down and guards sent from here to ManCI when some fights broke out over smoking issues. Smokers are fiending for their nicotine so badly that many of them are emptying their bedposts–which in past years smokers often used as ashtrays. They take the years-old ash and cigarette butts, use various methods of filtering the debris, and then smoke whatever it is they end up with. Rather desperate, it seems. It makes me glad I only smoke when someone sets me on fire.”
For links to Martin’s previous Crisis Chronicles blogs, click here.
Asleep at the Stimulus?
by Martin Petersime
Are you tired of hearing about the economic stimulus package? Are you skeptical of its effectiveness? Aren’t there any original ideas out there?
Everyone says tax cuts are needed, but no one knows whether people will SPEND their tax savings. Here’s a suggestion: don’t give tax cuts–give pre-paid debit cards. (In Martin’s world, they would only be sent to people in return for community service, but either way, it guarantees every single dollar will be spent.) Oh, and put a deadline on the debit cards of April 1. Speed counts.
The auto makers are ailing. Here’s an idea: a $3000 rebate to everyone who buys a fuel-efficient (35 mpg or better) car by April 1. Perhaps half the amount for other vehicles–to get rid of inventories. Reduce the amount by $500/month until it expires. If Detroit can’t turn itself around with the extra business, then it SHOULD disappear.
I hate encouraging emission-spewing vehicles over cleaner transportation. Here’s a thought: reward those who use mass transit–a $500 rebate for every citizen who sends in vouchers showing 100 bus/subway/train rides.
States and cities are looking for aid. Here’s a notion: no grants–all loans. Loans guarantee that local governments won’t use the money frivolously. It also means the cost to the federal deficit, long-term, won’t be as high. Add incentives for early pay-back (25% discount if re-paid within two years) or for investing in green technology.
There are creative ideas that would guarantee direct stimulus to the economy and the industries that need it most. (Think tax incentives for energy savings in homes and buildings.) Why do all the tired ideas from Washington seem so, well, tired?
Martin’s previous Crisis Chronicles blog was Of Pride and Predjudice.
To contact Martin, leave a comment below or send an e-mail to email@example.com
and I will happily forward your remarks to him. You may also snail mail him at this address:
Martin Petersime #270-294
P.O. Box 8107
Mansfield, Ohio 44901-8107
Martin is a good friend I met in 1995 in prison when I signed up for a music theory class he taught. Martin’s many talents include being a gifted pianist, composer and choral director. He and I went on to become cellmates for several years and collaborate in writing and producing a half dozen musical theatre works that were well-reviewed and seen by thousands of folks across Ohio and beyond. He remains behind bars.
Of Pride and Prejudice
by Martin Petersime
[with thanks to Bill Maher]
There I was, standing in line for breakfast — on this day it was French toast, only the guy in front of me insisted on calling it Freedom Toast because he has a thing against the French, but it’s not limited to the French and includes any and everything that he doesn’t consider all-American, so I asked him if he was aware that 85 percent of the French turned out to vote in their most recent national election and he countered that 85 percent of Americans probably voted for American Idol and then asked me why the French never asked their candidates where they stand on evolution, school prayer, abortion, stem cell research, or gay marriage and, in reply, I hypothesized that the French don’t care about the candidates’ private lives and that although Segolene Royal has four kids but never bothered to get married and Sarkosy and his wife (though married) live apart and lead separate lives, the French people are okay with it, perhaps for the same reason they’re okay with nude beaches: because they are not a nation of 6-year-olds who scream and giggle if they see pee-pee parts because they have weird ideas about privacy — they think it should be private, at which point Freedom Toast dude reminded me that France has high unemployment and a nasty problem with its immigrant population, not to mention all that lousy accordion music, and I had to agree, but not without mentioning their healthcare system — arguably the best in the world — and the facts that France is not dependent on Mideast oil, it has the lowest poverty rate and the lowest income-inequality rate among industrialized nations, and it is also the greenest, with the lowest carbon dumping and the lowest electricity bill — and the French are not fat — and I was going to intone that where we have bullets, the French have bullet trains, and where they have public intellectuals, we have Dr. Phil, but just then a seat opened, so I ran to grab it before I could even point out that the French also invented sex during the day, the ménage à trois, lingerie, and (for all intents and purposes) the tongue, and that we might just learn something from them. The French Freedom Toast was cold.
To contact Martin, leave a comment below or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will happily forward your remarks to him.