Sunday, February 06, 2011

Mammoth Bones & Contemporary Beef - Bernard Alain - reviewed by Joy Leftow

Mammoth Bones & Contemporary Beef, a witty new chap that may be small but wallops a strong punch that will knock you silly and leave you begging for more.

The editor in me kept looking for that one line that needed help. I finally gave in to his sparse economy of language that flows with an unconscious rhythm and wry dry humor. So dry it made me thirst for more, and I read the entire 36-page chap in one setting that went more quickly than I liked because I couldn't stop reading and laughing. I chewed as much meat from those mammoth bones as I dared!

Congrats Alain, you made a big hit with me - and … what? You thought I’d leave it at that because we used to edit the same mag? Gimme a break. I laughed so hard my eyes teared up and I cried.  Not once but several times over a couple of hours. The honesty is over the top handed to us on a pedestal. The chapbook's cover with its mammoth creatures mimic the poems. They are bigger than life and than all of us together. Thank his mom, Anatholie Alain for that, for keeping the organic life form emerging from Alain’s third eye blind.

The hallucinations
have started
The pain more severe
disturbances of the

sitting in a dory
out east
not giving a rat’s ass

Only a poet (and sometime even poets don’t) know how to lay out the work so true to form that it remains poetically true to its sparseness and economic wording. He references other poets to let us know he wonders if he matches up, makes the cut or has he been circumcised like most of us. He experiments with sounds and placements of vowels instinctually letting the poem find its own roots and meaning. He lets the poem decide where it needs to go,

The slow process of submission
The eventuality
Arriving at some maniacal correction
For the s’s

So obsessed he
Was possessed

who was he kidding

even Blake thought he might’ve liked the

The words evolve to take us on a journey – a rampage inside ourselves where we explore to learn more about why we are who we are. Who else but writers would care where we are spiritually talent wise in life, and who but a writer would mix the two. The book sold out on Amazon but is available here.