2ND NOTICE OF MODIFICATIONS TO TEXT OF PROPOSED REGULATIONS by John Bloomberg-Rissman
(Laughing Ouch Cube Publications / Leafe Press, Nottingham, U.K. and Claremont, CA, 2010)
I live in Sacramento, the political seat of California, and I’m puzzled. Because the document under review here is a proposed set of regulations to the death penalty in California and was developed in my beloved city. What confuses me is the document itself. I suppose it’s public information and that’s how poet John Bloomberg-Rissman got a copy. I’ve been following the news lately about the techniques of how the sentence of death is carried out. We kill by lethal injection here in Cali and it was discovered that one or some of the drugs used to sedate the victims were causing pain and thus constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Subsequently there was or is an injunction to cease death by chemicals administered by the state until new procedures can be put into place that are deemed to be, ahem, humane.
Hence the document at hand. It’s so dry and technical. That the human mind can create such a treatise as this one so the state can put a person to death boggles my mind. In fact, I think it’s fucked up to the nth degree. If you gather that I think it is wrong for the state to kill then you guessed correctly. But if you put this text between two covers and call it poetry, what then?
John Bloomberg-Rissman has an acute sense of humor. He’s taken the ideas of Flarf and Conceptualism and made this book. I’m no expert on both schools of poetry so I’ll leave those divinations to another reader. What got me is Bloomberg-Rissman’s audacity for it takes a writer with a Beckettian sense of humor to create this work. Life is funny especially at its blackest parts and society is at its darkest when it seeks to kill thru official means.
Here’s what the poet says on the cover of this book:
“To those who say, ’This isn’t writing, it’s typing, I say, ’No, no, no, This isn’t typing, it’s just digimechanical reproduction; it’s not even cut n paste.’”
What more can be said. Get this book now.
richard lopez writes poems and reviews. drop him a line and say hey at reallybadmovies.blogspot.com