Sunday, December 5, 2010



On Secrets of my Prison House by Geoffrey Gatza
(BlazeVOX, Buffalo, N.Y., 2010)

                  Keep off the path, beware the gate,
                  watch out for signs that say "hidden driveways"

Fear of the public cyberspace may revivify the marketplace of arcades past. But replacing yesteryear’s space with the coded language of group isolation presents new fears, evacuating arcades on the upshot. Needn’t we fear the ethos of reorganized discourse? we feign to ask. In the interest of these conflicts, let’s heed an unspoken axiom from poet-publisher Geoffrey Gatza: There’s nothing to fear but nothing itself. [i.e. “Ex nihlo nihlo fit” (15).]

Now picture a device wiring your virtual Facebook wall through your iPod, on shuffle, and listen. Next, subtract the mechanization of randomness, replacing it with a poetics capable of synthesizing the former invention: That’s what’s “now” in the poetry of Gatza’s Secrets of my Prison House, if the application of temporal vocabulary still bears resistance.
There are no recommendations
I cannot tell you how butter tastes
I could barely stand up; there was a car crash (12)

read the amalgamated semes of this authorial playlist, each a wailing wall of one’s own overheard. Consider further lines from the poem cited above, “Everybody Has An Ashbery Of Their Own”:
Spoken from the heart, the levies broke
The idea runs counter to the team effort (ibid)

noting referential signs of heart-wrought emotion, commercial lyricism, natural disaster, and metaphoric fulfillment, abutting near-commentary in the antiphon of counter-inspirational rhetoric. (But I’ve now said “rhetoric”, and) As the title clues in, non-referential polysemes may employ or deploy meaning against its retail value.
                  It is how history unfolds onto paper
and how one can display one bit that unfolds layer of relevant history
upon personal interest that makes the curator an artist! (14)

So states a poetics culpable in the collage of signs necessary to imbricate poetry through the densely discursive experience of this now when “[t]he only authentic man in the room is not sure if he is a fraud” and “[t]he elephant on their shoulders just got heavier” (18; 85). Lists, alphabetical conceits, and bulleted sequences encapsulate a lengthy section of word games. And while not all tennis courts make for small talk, consider the coined jingoism of interesting conflicts in
disappflyointment (36)
solicitwitter (39)
fashionlightenment (49)

Totalbeefrecall (62)

The last using degrees of inked emphasis to deliver polyphemal delight—Did I not yet mention delight, seme to pheme?

If Polyphemus bears referencing then “like a guillotine everything falls into place” when we revisit the use of recombinative phemes of communication, and the polyglottal ability to speak the many semes of coherence into the poem, even while
15. Poetry no longer exists
16. Physics cannot prove it anymore (18; 20)

Pheme, after all, is the groomer of fame and rumor, reporting with Virgilian feet grounded in the polis and head among the ether.


Edric Mesmer’s poems have appeared in BlazeVOX, Aufgabe, and currently in the latest issue of Vanitas. A graduate of SUNY Geneseo and the University of Manchester, Edric works as an adjunct teacher, freelance researcher, and part-time shopkeep; also, he collates the recently reinvigorated Yellow [Edenwald] Field, a journal of poetry and visual art, due out in the Fall of 2010.

No comments: