(pb; 2012: poetry anthology)
Rash is an excellent poetry anthology, whose images, themes and works not only complement each other, but flow and weave themselves in a natural-order rhythm that deepened the sense of immersion I got while reading it.
Most of the poems revolve around addiction, loss (of one's self, of a romantic partner), Nature, regret and the process of recreation, whether it's through accepting one's flaws and darkish history, romance or writing.
What's striking about this collection is that even the relatively few poems (out of an impressive sixty) that didn't grab me were appreciable, in the sense that I could see why they were included in Rash: not only were they solid or good, they also contributed to the aforementioned thematic-flow of the overall work. (In an anthology of this size, it's a near-impossibility -- at least for this reader -- for every poem to become a personal favorite.)
Rash is a superb, worth-owning verseworks collection. If you're interested in purchasing it, here's a link where you can do so.
1.) "AA": Emotive and highly visual work about breaking one's addiction, self-wounding and -- hopefully -- the renewal of being. Excellent piece.
2.) "A Weekend": Relatable versework about the discombobulation one encounters (and slow-and-swift polarities) with the passing of two weekly days.
3.) "Kissing a Smoker": Flavor- and sensory-intensive poem that aptly describes its titular experience.
4.) "Hangover Morning": Liquid spirits, history, mythology and literature run in celebratory and long-lined fashion before an inevitable, oh-too-relatable finish. Delightful and wise piece.
5.) "Sh*t in the Shower": Nightmarish, short and sharp work that details a necessary transformation. It put me in the mindset of David Cronenberg's body dismorphic films (Rabid, Shivers [a.k.a. They Came From Within], Videodrome and others). Yes, that is meant in a complimentary way.
6.) "Dream Blindness": A strong visual sense of yearning forms this poem, with its desperate, driving flow and rhythms.
7.) "Seawitch": Stark, stellar and startling work about different multi-layered things. Great end-line, one of my favorite poems in this collection. Part of it reads:
Ancient maritime mistress
Dull blue, gull grey
Primer and seashells
Mermaids and Playa dust
Greasy drippings under tattered mylar
Like a forgotten seaside cabin. . .
A place to rest, to lay your head
And wait out the long cold night. . ."
8.) "Rash Door": Horrific, darkly funny (with its end-lines) piece that reads like a companion piece to the desperate, sketchy "Sh*t in the Shower".
9.) "Sterilize the Dance": Chilling, stark work revolving around lust, interpersonal evolution, terror and innocence. This is another favorite in the bunch poem.
10.) "Colors": The ghost-hues of an old relationship impel a man to question his present leanings and choices with women. Especially good poem.
11.) "Visionaries": The wild, imaginative-soar second half of this versework is wow-good.
12.) "All Is Folly": Especially dark and effective work that succeeds on multiple reading levels.
13.) "A Moment in Memory": Beautiful, Nature-appreciative piece, this: serene, wonderful.
14.) "Midnight Rain": Urban, noir-drenched and femme-fatale-as-a-frame-theme poem that is especially striking.
15.) "Only Silence": A strong sense of personal nothingness suffuses this -- excellent work.
16.) "The Sculptor": I love this one, a piece about the making of a truly-alive being.
17.) "Tattoo": Stark, short and sharp-stanza'd versework. This is an especially effective follow-up/counterpart piece to "The Sculptor".
18.) "Must": Relatable (for a lot of guys, I'm guessing), blunt poem about women and their curious, sometimes (unintentionally) insulting choices.
19.) "Rage II": Macho attitudes and overall dumbness, along with break-up-inspired bitterness, suffuse this oh-so-GRRRR piece.
20.) "Visitation": Urban life and its resultant noises form this versework. This is a fitting companion piece to "Midnight Rain".
21.) "American Wishes": Another woman-as-a-car poem. Especially good, effective read.
22.) "My Pen Is A Prophet": Relatable-for-writers, theme- and image-tight piece.
23.) "The Best Soil": Excellent versework with a biting, heart-ouch end stanza. One of my favorite poems in this collection.
24.) "Artifice Of A (real) Poem": Cut-to-it poem that nails what's wrong and right about writing stanza'd works. Again, excellent.