This debut collection delivers a deluge of poetry via firehose.
When scanning the opening lines of this volume, readers might first be tempted to think that the author is returning them to Eliot’s The Waste Land, whose working title was He Do the Police in Different Voices. Multiple voices are part of the game here, and on that first page, McDonald writes: “ ‘Lingo! For fuck sake! Stop talking in that stupid voice’ a man says. / In a different voice Lingo says ‘I can’t for the life of me. Not for one iota, I guess.’ ” That this one voice might birth many others is one of the driving themes of the collection, and while the book is ostensibly a gathering of poetic monologues by a man (or is it a were-cat?) named Lingo, clearly this person contains multitudes. But one doesn’t need to get much past Page 1 to realize that Eliot isn’t the only influence here, for the staid modernist could never write a line like “My daughter is cumming so hard right now / I feel her dripping so fucking hard / because there are people that wanna murder the shit out of me / I will not tell her to stop for one iota / trust you me / and she knows full well.” In passages like these—and there are more than a few—McDonald takes no prisoners as he channels his inner William S. Burroughs, giving vent to Lingo’s seamiest confessions. Of course, such candor is a double-edged sword; while some readers will appreciate Lingo’s brutal honesty, others will find such stretches either excessive or offensive. But perhaps for McDonald, that’s part of the point. In the parlance of reality TV, he’s not here to make friends. So Lingo blasts his way through 200-odd “episodes,” waxing poetic on love, sex, TV, video games, and any number of other sundry topics, treating each with the same bluntness—and irreverence. There’s no denying McDonald’s boundless energy, and even if readers struggle to keep up, they can’t help but admire his unstoppable drive.
By the end of this exhilarating, exhausting poetry volume, readers may not be asking for more but they will surely be sated.