Friday, March 27, 2009

Review by Hugh Fox: Was Chicken Trax Amid Sparrows Tread

Was Chicken Trax Amid Sparrows Tread: Poems and One Long Movement
by Bree
2009; 128pp; Pa; The Temple,
PO Box 1773, Walla Walla, WA 99362.

A fascinating book here, three parts, the first poetry with all sorts of “streetness” about it, including monkeying around with language so it comes right off the concrete/asphalt:

“...Love thine enemies,/My mother usta say./How’d she know to cover/Her tracks that way?//We ain’t no chickenbone souffle./Just a face name////Whatever/We are wakes us.” (“No Need for Alarm,” p.22).

Real, personal-world stuff here, a strange combination of the masses and educated sophistication.
Then we move into the second part, a long essay, almost a little book in itself, about sharp headaches and rectal bleeding, getting taken to the cleaners by the medical profession, and finally (polyps and sinus infection) getting diagnosed and cured. And ironically, the way Bree twists and turns it all, it comes out top-drawer literature. Part three more poetry, and this time more “normal,” I might even say Lifshinesque, with a touch of Bukowskian sharp-edgeness:

“Bacteria grows best when left alone/with no breath/in a dark, closed home.//The moon wants not a container,/but vast darkness.//The monk needs vastness alone./ Vastness of soul,/vastness of breath,/light and dark become one...//Bacteria may know much about peace,/but can’t share any with monk/or with moon/for he lives all alone in a closed off room.” (“Bacteria and the Moon,” p.136).

Lots of irony here, quiet ironic slashing at status quos and what are usually seen as “normalities.” Bree is the incarnation of twisted, punishing rebellion and at the same time a macabre, horrific experimental humorist.


Hugh Fox
is the author of ten million books, put out by presses like Ghost Dance, Ohio's own Carpenter Press (Box Fox), Zerx Press and Permeable. “Hugh B. Fox is the most distinguished man of alternative letters of our time,” Richard Kostelanetz, in a review of The Book of Ancient Revelations (2004). In Small Press Review, Jan.-Feb.2005. check out his site: