Monday, December 31, 2012

Cadillac Men by Rebecca Schumejda, reviewed by BL Kennedy

Cadillac Men
Rebecca Schumejda
NY Books
New York, NY
151 pgs
ISBN: 978-1-93550-68-9 \

The Storm Turns

The storm turns, the way a man does
 when his wife loses faith in him.

The Butcher and Dee play one pocket
 on a table with felt that is as worn out
 as their hearts. The slate, and their mistakes
 peek out, redirected balls, traveling through.

Lately my fears solidify ,a hailstorm
of insults that shift to a warmth of regret.

 The Butcher’s up forty points
and three decades of disappointments, and Dee gambles in his shadow,
walks his walk, talks his talk.

 By default Dee’s married to the rain,
 a furious wife, beating down
 on her husband’s concrete shoulders.

What can I say about Rebecca Schumejda, other than, here is one hell of a writer. Cadillac Men is one hell of a fine book. There aren’t enough words in my mind to tell you just how good and engaging the poetry in this book is. Rebecca Schumejda is hands down a writer’s writer, and one of my favorite New York city poets.

You just have to take the poems in this book as if they were individual acts of grace and beauty. This is some fine writing, and the poems  in this collection do indeed come at a price. They will put a stranglehold on your psyche. They will creep beneath your skin, and swell up as flowers of beauty.

At the price of $16.95, you cannot go wrong by immediately purchasing a copy of Cadillac Men. All 151 pages of this volume are well crafted, each line develops a life of its own, and aims dead on at your third eye. To put it nicely, this is one great book. An intoxicating, bewitching, powerful collection of poetry. Buy it. Read it. Love it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Poetica Erotica by Cynthia Linville, Shawn Aveningo, Lytton Bell, reviewed by BL Kennedy

Poetica Erotica
Cynthia Linville, Shawn Aveningo, Lytton Bell
101 pgs
ISBN: 978-1-48000123--7


Another Day at the Dildo Factory

Twenty immigrants in

twenty hairnets

are painting veins

 on twenty prosthetic penises.

 The penises had ceased to seem shocking

to them at just one eight-hour shift

 even to the Catholics,

 and they disregard them, gossiping

and chatting among themselves

same as if it were only

 the paper factory or the ideology factory instead.

The penises, molded in a malleable rubber

 sway a little

when you touch them

 as if to ask:

 What are you doing to me?

 Where are you sending me?

What will I be doing one week from today?

What is my purpose in this world?

Is there a god?

 Finally one worker says

to one of the penises

Don’t ask me, I just work here; I’m only

making minimum wage.

Poetica Erotica is the name of a group of three young attractive women poets, and this is their first collection. I have to admit, it is a very handsome book with some very fine and well-sculpted poetry. Broken down into three separate sections (one for each member of the group), this book is a very handsome addition to the library of any lover of poetry (especially if you like that sexy kind of poetry).

I had one minor problem, which stems from knowing each poet personally, and having seen them perform. I was unable to get their separate and distinct voices out of my head while reading.

 But if you’ve never met them, what this book offers is a very fine sampling of each poet’s work. All of this, as far as I am concerned, is crafted on the highest level. I simply love this book, and I highly recommend it to any sincere lover of poetry.

So if you have the chance to purchase of Poetica Erotica, I would say do it now and bury yourself in the words of these three fine poets.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Memories by Su Zi

     In some ancient memory, I must have been an alligator because what I love is warm, shallow water; a rococo of foliage; flowers. Thus, the dark and cold of the winter solstice has the tones of mourning. In October, when the light takes a decided slant, shifting from summer’s white to winter’s gold, there’s always a sense of sadness. Oh, there’s the memory of snow, and none of it is romantic: the sound of my booted child-feet crunching through  the ice frosted  chevrons and swastikas left by tires on the road, some part of my skin burning with the cold, walking past other people’s houses with their lights; or later, ever struggling for purchase each step at a time in inadequate shoes, until the one time my shoes failed and the snow came up against my socks for a mile, frost bite, my feet rarely ever warm ever since, ever since; so many times waiting for public transportation as a huddle against the salt and slush for the years of college and grad school; the three days I spent in bed, never warm enough, because the after-night-class-train was late and I got too cold, then those three days waiting for someone, somewhere to bring me an aspirin to break the hypothermic shivering fever—no, I hate the cold. Christmas means winter, and winter is cold.

    Christmas is also a  symbol of family reunion, of traditions and folklore specific to genetically connected people. For me, kinfolk are a fiber-optical auditory presence followed by a long-distance bill, and there are only one or two voices infrequently heard. Despite the war-cry of family connectedness that resonated in relatives who had seen the mid century ravages of war in Europe first hand, had lost siblings, my own eyes have not beheld anyone related to me in actual physical proximity for more than a decade. When my few friends discuss their own kinfolk, I feel an existential distance, a disconcerting alienation. In secret, I am proud of my parents—now both dead—for their education, their sense of global culture, that they made sure we knew, as children, what a symphony sounds like, what fine dining was; my regret is that I did not hover at my father’s knee when he tuned up brakes on my mother’s Valiant, or reconfigured a radio, or meditated on nuclear reactor physics, the blue smoke of his cigar a personal icon of profound thought. By the time he died, at the cusp of my womanhood, my mother had found a job that while it did not use her degree in chemistry, still used her mind; yet, he left three women in mourning, and my memory of those years is one of darkness and absence. Christmas put the bright lights and party voices into a higher contrast to the shadow of our lives then; my mother never recovered from her grief, though she lived for nearly forty years, every day waiting to join her great love, my father. She taught me both passion and patience; she taught me her rage at gender inequities and stupidity. Now they are both dead, and I search for connection, for shared sensibility, too often finding superfice, artifice and fear.

     Thus, without kin or lore, I have created my own traditions. Even when my personal poverty was numbingly extreme, I upcycled, repurposed, painted and gave as gifts. One year, with  my only tools being a few scavenged sheets of art paper and childhood-coveted box of 64 crayons, I taped the sheets together, spent a week drawing haptics and zen-tangles, cut the sheets into squares and mailed these as cards; I have glued construction-paper cut-outs to squares and mailed them; in recent years, I have made block prints, this year hand coloring each print one by one.  Interestingly, even this most modest of gifts is received with the same echo I hear all year, that of separation. One art store clerk once pointed out that I was sending frameable art, especially since I number the  prints (although they are all different as siblings from each other). Each year, I send dozens of cards; I peer into my rural mailbox even more eagerly; yet, each year there are fewer and fewer responses, fewer and fewer reciprocations. I began to fear that the  cards were too ugly,--for isn’t it true that my childhood school experience was one of being bullied, of hearing harsh hate daily—so I began sending pictures of the prints as they dried via email, via social media; no, people seemed to like them; why the silence, the frost, the shadow?

    In the years I spent in beloved New Orleans, Christmas was the preamble to Mardi Gras, delightful Mardi Gras, egalitarian Mardi Gras, where even the most arrogantly ancient families breathed the same street air  during parades; where decorations converted the red berry, green holly of the solstice to rich colors that sometimes coincided with the first flowers of spring. In Mardi Gras, every one is happy, strangers can borrow your plumbing and taste your  beans, no curses in a traffic jam and total strangers have told me I am beautiful; shop owners gladly understood and sold my cards, figurines, art; audiences drunk or sober heard my words through my voice or through the page and reciprocated with a happy roar. For me, Mardi Gras is the happiest of holidays; for me, Christmas can be the most fraught, for so few are  truly kindly—it is a holiday of hypocrisy, methinks, and sadly so.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Music Flash Mobs

A flash mob (or flashmob) is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then quickly disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, and artistic expression.

Monday, December 17, 2012

All I Want For Christmas by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lori Foster, Dee Holmes, Eileen Wilks

St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Paperbacks
November 2000
Mass Market Paperbound
ISBN: 9780312976804
ISBN10: 0312976801
4 1/8 x 6 3/4 inches, 320 pages

'Tis the season-for passion...

The holidays have never been hotter, as four of todays' finest romance authors hang up the mistletoe and bring unwitting couples together in the most deliciously sinful ways! So sit back and unwrap four fabulously sexy stories-- each guaranteed to give you all you want for Christmas...and more.

Lori Foster has two co-workers plan a Christmas party side-by-side-and discover a love worth celebrating...

Dee Holmes reunites former lovers, who are forced to spend the holidays together-- and find that their old flames still burn white-hot...

Kinley MacGregor goes to the Old West, where an outlaw returns to the woman he loved and left behind-- and finds the best holiday surprise of his life...

Eileen Wilks heats up Regency England, as a young lady plans to lose her innocence to a charming rogue-- but doesn't expect a night of passion to so thoroughly connect their souls...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Kissing Christmas Goodbye by M. C. Beaton

St. Martin's Press
Minotaur Books
October 2007
ISBN: 9780312349110
ISBN10: 0312349114
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 240 pages

Unlike quite a number of people, Agatha had not given up on Christmas. To have the perfect Christmas had been a childhood dream whilst surviving a rough upbringing in a Birmingham slum. Holly berries glistened, snow fell gently outside, and inside, all was Dickensian jollity. And in her dreams, James Lacey kissed her under the mistletoe, and, like a middle-aged sleeping beauty, she would awake to passion once more....

Agatha Raisin is bored. Her detective agency in the Cotswolds is thriving, but she’ll scream if she has to deal with another missing cat or dog. Only two things seem to offer potential excitement: the upcoming Christmas festivities and her ex, James Lacey. This year she is sure that if she invites James to a really splendid, old-fashioned Christmas dinner, their love will rekindle like a warm Yule log.

     When a wealthy widow hires Agatha because she’s convinced a member of her family is trying to kill her, Agatha is intrigued---especially when the widow drops dead after high tea at the manor house. Who in this rather sterile house, complete with fake family portraits, could have hated the old lady enough to poison her?

     Agatha sets out to find the murderer, all the while managing a pretty, teenage trainee who makes her feel old and planning for a picture-perfect Christmas, with James, all the trimmings, and perhaps even snow.

M. C. Beaton has been hailed as the “new Queen of Crime” (The Globe and Mail). Chosen as the British guest of honor at Bouchercon 2006, she is the author of seventeen previous Agatha Raisin novels, the Hamish Macbeth series, and an Edwardian mystery series published under the name Marion Chesney. Born in Scotland, she currently divides her time between Paris and the English Cotswolds.

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