bn~ Chapbook Review: Morning Walk with Dead Possum, Breakfast and Parallel Universe by Beth Gordon
“I’ve been counting sparrow feathers for 1800 days and I’m as close to zero as I was the day I started, splicing consonants from vampire, nouns from asphyxiation, learning to navigate butter thick pronunciations of hurricane fables, jellyfish stew, hush puppies and mermaid bones.”
—I’m Inventing a New Language
The first taste of prose from Beth Gordon’s “Morning Walk with Dead Possum, Breakfast and Parallel Universe” looks directly into the deep end. Whorls and eddies of verse suggest rebirth, reinvention, reconfiguration, transformation, a latticework, a scaffolding, rondos, elliptical meditations alighting like moths on the crossed loci of events and probabilities.
The effect here is cinematic.
“the morning I went to unbury her the ground was bitter
ice tentacles invading layers of myth of rare element origin of bone on bone”
These are poems for the small places that shout silently. It is not simply a volume or an arrangement of words that makes them remarkable. Swirls, thematic crosscurrents and the inevitable collisions fracture the minutia of the day into revealed insight: a glimpse into the substructure of our internal universe.
“Take me to Eureka Springs, let me crawl
beneath the buildings, touch abandoned booze
bottles, scrape dried mud from the walls and find
the outline of my body in white chalk…”
—Crown: In Which I Compare You to a Sherpa on Day of the Dead
There are locations that recur throughout the body of this work, sometimes central, sometimes peripheral to the immediacy of the verse, and their use knits these individual pieces into a larger event-cloud of expression.
“My granddaughter stolen down the river
Styx, my heart turned to murder, a groaning
scar of lightning, without sparrows or stars,
he tells me that I am mixing it wrong,
let the gold lillet rise to the surface,
his buttermilk mouth the most beautiful
thing in this hard village of Eureka
—Crown: In Which I Compare Chance Encounters to Premeditated Murder
Themes are revisited, metaphor and event wink out like photons, then return in later pages, this structure is bold and experimental. It is brave writing and is never labored or gimmicky.
The sublime flavor of these words…
All this and the recipe for the perfect martini.
BlogNostics highly recommends “Morning Walk with Dead Possum, Breakfast and Parallel Universe” You can pre-order from Animal Heart Press. It is slated for release in May. Link below.
JB/DSS Editors @blognostics
Beth Gordon is a poet, mother and grandmother, currently landlocked in St. Louis, MO. She’s traveled and lived all over the United States (and some of the world) and was raised by a pair of liberal Southerners who taught her how to make buttermilk biscuits when she was three years old. It’s rumored that she has an MFA from American University, but it was so long ago that she may have just dreamed it. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in numerous journals including Into the Void, Anti-Heroin Chic, Drunk Monkeys, Noble/Gas, Five:2:One, SWWIM, Verity La, Califragile, Pretty Owl Poetry and Yes Poetry. She is also the Poetry Editor of Gone Lawn.