Saturday, October 26, 2013

Knife Throwing Through Self-Hypnosis - Robin Richardson

Today's book of poetry:  Knife Throwing Through Self-Hypnosis.  Robin Richardson.  A Misfit Book.  ECW Press.  Toronto, Ontario.  2013.

Disco At The End Of Days

Saints go screeching down the underpass.
Black cloaks against the snow; they move like
phosphenes resurrected from the rubbed eye
of a diabolist.  Barbed gods gurgling
at the turnstiles.  Shiny, fashionable; they walk
as if the roads were runways, shredding
to confetti as they tangle briefly in the wheels
of a transport truck from Cincinnati.  Now
the Northern Lights touch down to torch
what's left of us: a misty green-lipped kiss.
The gods go ape-shit at the flame, the way
a dance floor takes to cheering
at the onset of a latest hit.


Robin Richardson's Knife Throwing Through Self-Hypnosis opens as though Richardson were the tail gunner in a dive-bombing airplane being chased through the sky.  She is letting it all fly.  These gem like poems are stacked with unthinkably charismatic lines of poetry.  Imagine a wood-chipper in reverse, the news, the detritus of the world, all of it spewing at pace towards the mouth of the chipper, these solid oak poems coming out the other end.

Porn Star On Monday Morning

The mole that itches at her hip bone barely shows.
She bends her knees unshaved, sits spread-eagle
like the camera is a thoroughbred.  Behind her: pale
plaster, lamp, an unlocked door.  But watch, when
she disrobes there is a flea half-frantic at the outskirts
of her girlish gaze.


These are some hot licks, some razor sharp poems.  Richardson changes directions so quickly that at times you'd think she'd lose her way.  But no, these poems, as frantic and multi-directional as they seem, are guided by a laser focus, a direct high-beam of insight.

Overheard In New York

Next stop: Sixtieth Street, transfer
to the four, five, six or the N/R.
Sixtieth Street and Bloomingdale's,
next stop...

Hi, everyone — I'd like to take this
red light to thank you for joining us
on this, the one hundred and fifteenth
run of the M103 bus.

Now, I know some of you have
had bad days at school, work,
church, et cetera, but please don't
bring that home to your loved ones.

Leave all your stress on the bus,
and I'll toss it into the East River
when we pass it.


Richardson and these poems can be a genteel as a nursery rhyme or they can kick like George St. Pierre.  Either way Robin Richardson's multi-faceted prism shines.  I really can't begin to tell you how spectacular some of these poems are, whoosh.

Monte Carlo, Mississauga

Synesthesia keeps my honorary uncle
focused on the game; four is Merlot, nine
the dentin on his mentor's molars.

A game of pool's the way
I first learned to look a good
curve straight on, watched
my uncle's oak-skinned opposition

sitting coked-up at the barstool,
steadied by the slow hoist of a cue
as he stood to take his shot.  Green
was the sound of a hustle, cueball

hop-scotched across a string
of solids, sunk for five grand.
Two years old and barely tall
enough to reach the rail when

I learned to rack.  They said
my mother was a shark.  She kept
my teeth in jade containers.  Jade
and mean was how she played.


Knife Throwing Through Self-Hypnosis is incandescent as Richardson sets them up and knocks them down with ease.  Think of a female David McGimpsey, Richardson is that whippet quick on the page.

Salem:  Unofficial Transcript

The year her seizures became more frequent — dirtied
     bonnet too familiar with the wood and grassy patch
outside the barn — she burned her lips on chapel candles
     as is a kiss could be a prayer, could prove her innocence.
The year she found a ferret at the gate, gold-pawed, fond
     of recitation, whispered Chaucer in her ear to get a blush.
The year she broke her jaw against her father's riding crop,
     dropped daisies from a cut that split like batter.


Robin Richardson would appear to have all the ideas in the world at the tips of her talented fingers.  Knife Throwing Through Self-Hypnosis is a startling good book.  If you are reading this you should stop, now, and go buy this book.

Excerpts from Knife Throwing Through Self Hypnosis by Robin Richardson
 © 2013 by ECW Press. Used with permission from the publisher.

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