It's not often that my professional jealousy rears its ugly head. When, however, I see something smaller than I do, done as professionally (or better) as I do, with poets as good as I publish, well, I do get a twinge of the green monster.
Alternating Current's "Pocket Protector" series, of which 4th Street Vagaries is Book 16, is one of those productions. According to the legend, "Propaganda Press is the small press portion of Alternating Current; info regarding Pocket Protectors can be found at alt-current.com."
Duly noted (& linked to, above).
The sum and substance of this particular production is a thing both to behold and to be beheld, the later specifically in the palm of your hand.
The poet, Hosho McCreesh, is a wonderful practitioner of the small poem, which makes the whole thing a true delight. Here's a little taste from the book you can put in your shirt pocket and still have room for the sawed off Camels and your favorite pen.
old car batteries
in the road,
to a stain.
rolling down his window,
reaching out so he can open
his broken driver's-side door.
There is an overriding sense of despair or at least desperation here. Who hasn't, at one time or another, been the new guy (washing the resale batteries). That "something" in the road just breaks your heart with its anonymous something-ness. Each of these brief, insightful pieces reaches in and just squeezes your heart with a forlorn pain instantly recognizable and painfully reminiscent of similar scenes in our own past and present lives.
Oh, mercy, lord, mercy, mercy me ...
Apart from the excellent work by McCreesh, the layout of this teeny-tiny book is just driving me bonkers with its precision, everything lining up from page to page so nicely and all. Approximately 60 pages in length, with an illustration on everyone, this little puppy is a steal for $3. In fact, there are a ton of other great writers in the series including leah angstman, Ed Galing, Michael Kriesel, Alan Catlin, A. D. Winans, and many more. Get yourself a parcel. Checks and money orders made out to Angstman Arts and mailed to Alternating Current, PO Box 183, Palo Alto, CA 24302 (for international orders, please first).
This week's featured poem comes from Lilliput Review, #151 from July 2006. The piece, by Erik Alan Pohl, has a perfect title that sheds a bright light on an enigma, identifying it for exactly what it is.
On how understanding unravels back to the beginning
Once you tell me cultures
part us, you pull a sutra
from the sacred text.
Such a little thread!
But so strong it held the book binding
The book itself
holding the shelf up
that supported even older books.
Here is a flood of fallen words to drown in.
Erik Alan Pohl
a bird recites a sutra
a monk beats a bowl
translated by David G. Lanoue
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