When I shuttered berniE-zine, I mentioned that I'd be posting mini-reviews here on my blog. Well, here's the first:
Mutiny Gallery, by B.K. Fischer
Truman Statue University Press, 2011
I don't have a lot of time to read lately, but I simply couldn't help but speed through this collection of poems, which pieces together the experiences of a mother and son fleeing domestic violence. The poems give you glimpses of places, dip you into the emotional flux, and there is a palpable feeling of anxiety as the speaker zigs and zags around the country.
Many of the poems also riff off the often bizarre nature of roadside museums found across the U.S. As Fischer states in her Notes, many of the details for the museum settings come from Little Museums: Over 1000 Small (and Not-So-Small) American Showplaces, although she adds that "Facts and names have been altered to serve the journey of the characters." The details result in poems with titles like "Frog Fantasies Museum," "Killing Time Museum," and "Museum of Questionable Medical Devices."
From "Paperweight Museum":
The girl goes walking in the city
and the storm begins, snow settling
on garlanded façades, taxicabs,
her coat. A world full of water
with a teaspoon of air at the top.
Bubbles blown in with syringes
while glass is still molten, a knife
plunged into multi-colored sand.
Violence creeps in everywhere. These poems don't just suck you in, they drag you along by your hair.
From "American Precision Museum":
Now what -- should she head Thelma-style off
a cliff with her kid in the car? Should there come
a day when she can't shake dawn's despair
before they break camp along the drywash,
and drives for several days across shorn tableland,
stopping when the sun relents to walk the ocean
floor, the lime deposits of ancient brachiopods
sifting through her hands?