The new volume from Bois (Murdering the Third, 2015, etc.), a Canadian poet, lives up to its title; it comprises nearly 750 pages of lyrics, acrostic poetry, one-liners, and inspirational quotations.
Bois has a need to write—as a release from pain, as a distraction from “stressors” in life (so noted in a poem titled “Blessed Curse”), and as a means of shouting when real life accepts only quiet conversation. The short-lined, imaginative entries play with sound and enjoy puns. The speaker who deems himself a “crass and cocky word jockey,” for example, can rename his life “insurance” policy an “endurance” policy. The flip tone and slant rhymes can be fun, though rehashings of sexual urges become abrasive. Subtlety is lacking in many lines about the “wondrous play things” of women. “Oh labia majora, oh labia minora / You’re my life source; / the very driving force,” for one instance, falls short of an ode, despite the repeated exclamation and rhyme. “Surprise!” rehearses the same territory: “You were like a fun-filled surprise bag, / I was so wild-eyed that I began to drool.” A great deal of emotion does register in these pages, connecting to a handful of themes: the pulls of eros/thanatos, the domestications of married life, violence in narrative and language, and desire for literary recognition. A raging intensity seems, at times, to fuel writerly inspiration: “I’ll write with a passion so strong it extinguishes that which I hate.” The speaker, a self-proclaimed “word prick,” holds nothing back as he “shanks bodies of blank pages / Bleeds out black rivers.” In some of the later poems, words in all caps—expletives and others—insist that in poetry, everything is condoned and possible. Would that the quieter moments could resonate more noticeably, as in the haunting song of “The River: My Bride,” where the “black, watery tomb” is a “velvety friend.”
An overfull outpouring of unchecked verbiage.