New Book of Poems From Bruce McRae

Like As If, by Bruce McRae

130 page — $13

ISBN-13: 978-0692731109
ISBN-10: 0692731105

Hyperbole, verging on histrionics. Hectoring lists. Mangled metaphors. Super-similes, which lean toward hysteria: as if ‘like’ and like ‘as if’. A flying fortress of images and imagery. Wordplay. Cinematic mélange. A stand-up comic’s throwaway one-liners. (Yes, humour, of the rubber crutch variety.) This collection’s main theme concerns pushing ‘poetic’ language to extremes and is dedicated to those who don’t read poetry. We venture dangerously close to the edge of a wordy abyss. Forgive yourself.

Like As If is a collection of knotty, often surreal, often hilarious poems churning with imagery and lyric propulsion. At the Porch, we were struck by the chances McRae takes in these poems–he is working from a different set of aesthetic assumptions than most contemporary poets start with, much to our delight.

A River Running Underground
In my mind is a paper mountain.
God shrugged, and that was my mind
separating one water from another water.
My mind imagined other minds.
It manufactured an idle daydream.
It made shadows after dark,
creatures without substance and form,
glass cities, ethereal fogginess,
the most beautiful of all the monsters.

In my mind is a sun weeping light.
Sparks star off an iron spike
while my mind paints jungle flowers,
highways of ice, celestial filaments,
an army of children crying:
“Toys and snowfall at Christmas!”

A vortex of quiescence,
and my mind is resting by a calm lake.
A storm’s fury and human furor
and my mind is wandering in a thick forest.
The universe is a single great thought,
my mind asleep on its downy pillow.

Where nothing, and no one, may wake it.

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New Book From Pski’s Porch

Migration, by Brian Morse and Betsy Potter

44 pages – $18.00

ISBN-13: 978-0997870602 ISBN-10: 0997870605

A wonderfully disorienting mix of nature writing and haunting surrealism, told in epistolary form, accompanied by delicately unsettling illustrations. Brian Morse and Betsy Potter have made a book  that will make readers feel slightly to the left of themselves, as they follow a narrator through a peculiar landscape via letters home to his mother (and a few other folks).

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Mother,

I think you will find this interesting: we happened upon the crow’s ghost in another card game. He was sitting with a southern panther and an Ivory-billed Woodpecker in the middle of Singer Swamps. The travelling gamblers called themselves The Doormen. They circle the country looking for exhausted ghosts willing to gamble for a chance at resurrection. If the ghost loses, they relive their death 1,000 times. It’s a sadistic sustenance for the cat and the bird.

The game is simple: each side cuts a deck of cards; whoever pulls the highest card, wins. The crow has been chasing around The Doormen since he died. That’s how he found himself at Mildred’s farm: he was closing in on them. The game took place on the bank of the river, on the gambler’s traveling crate.

We entered the scene as the paperwork was being filled out. The crow won by cutting a 10 versus the Doormen’s 4. That old wildfire burned in the crow’s eyes as he scribbled his name on the dotted line. The panther paced back and forth, the woodpecker coldly processed the work…Once the deal had been brokered, the crow greeted us dead-eyed and flew away. I wondered if he remembered how dismal his last ending turned out? The Doormen packed up their little wooden crate, respectfully nodded to us, and went in search for their next mark.

Love,

Nathan

Come see Brian read from Migration October 15th, 3pm, at Rust Belt Books in Buffalo, NY, and October 22nd, 3pm, at Small World Books, Rochester NY.

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