This is syncretism at its most perverse — idiosyncretism, if you will: the word made celluloid, the world herky-jerking past in a series of unplayable movie pitches. Our hero is an author with half a mind to leave us in the lurch. You print the pages yourself following instructions on the web, fold them into the stiff gray cover they send you in the mail and prick your fingers with a needle sewing it together, all for five dollars: Epiphany Book Kit No. 1. Thirty poems square as movie screens, albeit mostly taller than they are wide, set in a font from 1680. I start them while I am making breakfast and overcook my eggs, but the eggs, eaten with “Murder Mystery,” are still delicious. It is not the first time I’ve read the poems, but it’s the first time I’ve read them in the intended order. This time I see how each movie begets the next, but I lose the sense I had the first time of being in on the joke, perhaps because I am imagining how I would film them: Nick’s text as script for a documentary narrated by someone more sonorous than God, or perhaps dribbled out into closed captioning while something entirely different plays on the screen, such as footage from a minicam strapped to the head of a dog or the security cameras from a 24-hour peep show, though the latter might be so meta as to cause a feedback loop. Without reopening the book, what stuck with me? Bullets getting married, a knife-ship big as a house, a superhero named Peace who saves the day with one eye-popping blow, the Zhuangzi butterfly turned into a sci-fi virus, the wit, the energy, the sense of things flying out of control, the desire to stay in the theatre for another long read.
I’m reading a book a day for Poetry Month, but I’m also hoping some folks will join me and fellow poet-blogger Kristin Berkey-Abbott to read four of those books, one a week starting April 3 — or even just one of the four. Details here.