Friday, October 3, 2014

Satisfying Clicking Sound - Jason Guriel (Signal Editions/Vehicule Press)

Today's book of poetry:
Satisfying Clicking Sound.  Jason Guriel.  Signal Editions/Vehicule Press.  Montreal, Quebec.  2014.

Jason Guriel's Satisfying Clicking Sound is a Jekyll & Hyde compendium of razor sharp commentaries on the state of the world.

There is vitriol in his humour and a smirk in his snark.  Guriel really is a take no prisoners poet.


     "...the claustrophobia induced by this precision; it's difficult for the reader to find a point of entry."
                         -Mitchell Parry, reviewing Pure Product

Imagine your silhouette
cut into a wall
and call it a doorway
as done in the do-
it-yourself world
of Looney Tunes,
where the children
of Chuck Jones charge
at the surfaces
they would prefer
were passages--
willing their way through
as if brick were batter
and the body in motion
the cookie-cutter.

Now imagine the room
this man-stencilled
doorway opens onto
holds no more
than your dimensions.
You step into the plaster
cast of yourself,
the door closes behind,
and everything's snug:
your penis finds
its sheathe, your lips
their depression,
each ear plugged
to the drum with drywall.
This room of your own
is your eclipse.
It woolfs you down.

The coat of paint
coats you, too,
a second skin
flush with the first
like a blush.
The wall's pebbled
microtexture maps
onto your pores
and mates with them;
the slightest lift
of one of your
moles is matched
with its shallow,
corresponding hole.
The ceiling fits
you for a skullcap,
the chandelier
your tiara.

(Each rap of a hand
at the door is a blow
to the heart.)

Imagine this room
which, if you try
to open your mouth,
stuffs it to the ends
of your intestines--
a room with nary
a mail slot
for coughing
out of. A bespoke
joke, it gloves
your fingertips
and accounts for
the crescents of dirt
beneath the nails.

You say it feels
like a tailor-
made coffin,
the rain outside
the drumming
of handfuls of dirt.
You say it feels
to the touch
like a tomb.

I say it again
and say it still has way too much
in the way
of wiggle room.


Some of these poems read like snapshots and others are fully formed panoramas, but everything is always in HD, very clear, High Definition.

Satisfying Clicking Sound may refer to the noise in Guriel's head as he rollicks through the roughshod boxes of his imagination, scattering cultural references and glee with equal abandon.

These poems are machine-gun steady, all coming out of the barrel at the same velocity, just don't get in the way.

Women in the Arts

     "So I resented Stanley [Kubrick] at times because he pushed me.
     And it hurt. And I resented him for it. I thought, 'Why do you want
     to do this to me? How can you do this to me?"
                      -Shelley Duvall, on filming The Shining

That gargoyle of a little girl
who dwells downstool
of the pianist--her heels
adangle--and turns
his mind a page at a time
as he runs out of score,
returning her hands
to her lap where they stiffen
like stonework. The maid
withdrawing from master
at his desk, and doing her best
to minimize the click
of the door that always
puts a kink in his line
of thought and for which
he's given her bottom
what for. The wife stooping
to retrieve the pages
some ass of a Wyndham
Lewis--working longhand
in the darkness--flings
to the floor, a few lines
on each, the Lewis
taking for granted the wife
would take them
to the typewriter and unknot
his snarled cursive.
The Vera saving Lolita
from the furnace
that's always burning
in anecdotes that just eat
you up. The Tabitha
who hauls the first
few pages of a novel
called Carrie up
from the bottomless well
of a writer's trashcan
and commands her King
reverse the sentence
of exile. The wife
of the novelist who's been
blocked awhile and--
he being a hack
haunted by failure
and equipped with an ax
to grind--chases the wife
around the grounds
of a hotel as if she was
firewood with feet.
The muse who gives
birth to ideas which
is to say the enabler
with the berth of eggs.
The nearest warm
bodice that's available
when Byrons and
other such shits
find themselves between
poems or--"sleepwalking"
in the servants' wing--
all of sudden between
a pair of some body's
legs and raping
the benefits.


Guriel is a witty guy but that's not his only ammo.  These shoot-from-the-hip missives are tracer bullet true.  Some aim.

Guriel builds poems that riff towards his inevitable conclusions with the astuteness of Charlie Parker tipping at the scales.

Reviewing a Unicorn

     for Michael Lista

     "Reviewing Chinese Democracy [by Guns N' Roses] is not like reviewing music. It's more like
     reviewing a unicorn. Should I primarily be blown away that it exists at all? Am I supposed to 
     compare it to conventional horses?"
                                                          -Chuck Klosterman

The mob that likes to think
it likes such things
as unicorns will judge
your work a hatchet job
and you, a hack, a heart-
less Viking tucking in
at his trestle table--
hacking loose a hoof
or breaking off a haunch
of a horse laid out
among apples on a platter.
Never mind your skill
with a cleaver, your wielding
it the way a surgeon does
a scalpel; the mob won't see,
being up in the balcony
of the operating theatre,
what lies before you: a horse
with a tacky, tacked-
on prosthesis, the sort
of cost-effective solution
an extra wears when playing
it alien on some show.
(Test the prosthesis
with a tug and the mob
will cup its collective
hands around the bassoon
of a boo.) Your critics,
smelling a critic
with an attitude,
won't see the papier-mache
cone for the horn,
so when you saw
it off (the horse craning
to lick your wrist
in gratitude) the mob will swear it hears
the sound of snark-
toothed steel biting
into living bone.


Jason Guriel's third book Satisfying Clicking Sound, is a rewarding adventure.  Guriel whips the readers head around so fast you'll think you've been Linda Blaired.

Jason Guriel

Jason Guriel’s books include The Pigheaded Soul: Essays and Reviews on Poetry and Culture(2013) and Pure Product (2009). His work has been anthologized in The Best Canadian Poetry in English. In 2007, he became the first Canadian to be awarded Poetry’s Frederick Bock Prize. Poetry gave him their Editors Prize for Book Reviewing in 2009. He lives in Toronto.

"[Pure Product] may well be that rare thing; a collection to be lived with."
     -The Globe and Mail

"These poems, often about disposable parts of our culture, are frenetically alive. They infuse the products they exemplify with a life, a valency, an irrepressible energy."
     -Arc Poetry Magazine

"What We Talk About When We Talk About Poetry"
Jason Guriel - "The Pighead Soul"
Ben McNally Books, Toronto, Ontario, March 20, 2014
VIDEO: therotarydial


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