Phantom Ride. Joseph Mulholland. Baseline Press. London, Ontario. 2017.
Each and every one of Joseph Mulholland's little screenplays disguised as poems will someday be an Academy Award winner. These poems are clever diamonds and will shine from every direction at once. No cubic zirconia, no zircon, no moissanite. These stones are ice.
Today's book of poetry is tickled pink to lay Phantom Ride on all of you beauties because gems like this only come by every so often. That every facet holds poetry water - Mulholland is some crafty jeweller, one nasty cook.
Camera With Humidity Under Its Lens
To line the camera's edges with butcher paper is to tender a light
so tenuous it'll wax unfashionable. It was admirable how your father
refused time & again, to be another silent film era swashbuckler
shaking sea urchins out of mud-flecked boots for a few laughs. Somewhere
an octopus rolls Rs off the blood-light of breath. A knock-kneed horse
in a buzzing field, a cloned Anita creeping up on flexed toes. Her necklace
of sand dollars, her whispering eyes. The camera cuts the horizon in half,
a single drop of blood arches its back in mid-air. Bullet marrow, scent of agave.
The car crash scene extras take turns spitting into the stucco reproduction
of the Fontana di Trevi. After the broken glass has settled the sky—
both open wound & overturned ceramic bowl trapping a far-off galaxy's light—
memorizes its own reflection, a nimbus of silver tendons, a force
without counterfeit behind weakening blood vessel walls.
An entire city fainting at the end of your garter pistol's cold nose.
Phantom Ride is another Baseline Press small miracle of beauty, but that comes as no surprise to Today's book of poetry. Pound for pound, Baseline Press produces the most beautiful little books on the planet. Karen Schindler's books are visually sublime. And with Joseph Mulholland at the helm of Phantom Ride, Baseline Press has a rich enough vein of gold to call in Ben and Little Joe.
Mulholland has every single reader here at Today's book of poetry enchanted.
Zhuchka's Love Letter to the End
". . . a beastly trick, a vile trick—to take a piece of bread, the soft part,
stick a pin in it, and toss it to some yard dog, the kind that's so hungry
it will swallow whatever it gets without chewing it, and then watch
what happens." - Dostoevsky
Before the roosters crow I hear the curtains wheeze.
My heart is a bear trap with a fox's paw caught
in its teeth. There is a torn sack of flour in the cupboard,
I can smell fear warming the flour mites' breath.
The postman offers me his foot—I know he's poisoned
his bootlaces. Deep in the house tables are tipped over, chairs
dragged across floorboards, splinters unearthed. From here I can see
the church steeple's window streaked with snail trails.
Sawdust on the slaughter hall's floor like snowfall—
my throat a torn nest. The wind, with its rubber tongue,
tries in vain to rub out the moths' chalky eyes—the baker's palms
the color of bruised pears. I sit under my master's bedroom
window. I can make out the raspy voices of winter coats crammed
into an overcrowded closet, vicariously reliving the memories
of their wearers; the tick-infested wool & wind-shaken
cicada shells of autumn nights—empty bottles of perfume
lulled to sleep by a pinhead's brutal lullaby.
Phantom Ride is so rich you're going to get poetry fat reading it. This cat is burning down the house like he just discovered the best cook book in the land and everyone else is still eating beans.
Our morning read flew by in several quick bursts of mirth. These poems are as bright and quick as something that flies through the sky. Today's book of poetry isn't thinking jets and rockets, they abound, this is rarer metal, think meteor.
Today's book of poetry would like to apologize for our sporadic schedule of late. Real life gets in the way of poetry all the time. Today's book of poetry will continue to post as many blogs/reviews as we can, and when.
Elegy for Drive-In Movie Theatres
An unripe knife forgotten in the inner elbow of a sliced lime, nights
thick with carbon monoxide & the prickly throats of desert flowers
populating the outer edges of darkness. The sound of ghosts necking
behind a horizontal pyramid of light. Perfume-sweetened exhaust fumes
making a savage bracket of meek mileage—dashboard dust
covers up all traces of blackout weather. To your weed-weary abandoned lots
to buckling plywood screens & the dirty windshield myopia of empty
bodies in motion. Saturday's mouths swimming in & out of rearview
mirrors. Not far from the last line of parked cars, a pair of owls
perched on a discarded railroad tie—the hum of tiny black tongues.
Today's book of poetry cannot wait for Joseph Mulholland's next poetry project and you should be excited too. Writing like Mr. Mulholland's is the reason Today's book of poetry loves poetry in the first place.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joseph Mulholland was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is currently a Ph.D. student in comparative literature at the University of Toronto. Before coming to Canada, he lived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he studied Latin American literature at the University of Puerto Rico.
Poems cited here are assumed to be under copyright by the poet and/or publisher. They are shown here for publicity and review purposes. For any other kind of re-use of these poems, please contact the listed publishers for permission.
We here at TBOP are technically deficient and rely on our bashful Milo to fix everything. We received notice from Google that we were using "cookies"
and that for our readers in Europe there had to be notification of the use of those "cookies. Please be aware that TBOP may employ the use of some "cookies" (whatever they are) and you should take that into consideration