longshadowfall

Michael Mc Aloran
longshadowfall
Editions du Cygne 2017
book review by David McLean

Mc Aloran’s new book is not about participating in any sort of Irish tradition, although the fact that he is Irish has obviously created an expectation that he be expected to care about Beckett & the other notable Irish writers, if there are any, especially since he does not create conventional prose in his texts. It is not evident in what way Mc Aloran follows in any Irish tradition given that he has developed an individual voice. Mc Aloran takes this subsumption of his work under the patriotic assumption of Irishness & some regional identity qua writer with some grace, since it must be very frustrating.
What the books are basically about is the circumstance that existence is extremely temporary & not driven by some fundamental meaning whereby things fit into their various places & are essentially & unproblematically what they are. We are loathsome ugly clumps of meat – the failing echo of which Mc Aloran writes is moronic repetition, it is the pathetic quest for meaning: there are no razors that do not have blood on them, nothing that does not rust, no flesh forever except the repetitive return of more worthless flesh. The echo might be an originary echo, the sounds that come out first are already echoes. The road, everywhere, is marked by shit, it is full of shit. A perfect place for the shit that is humanity to drag itself back to nothing.

I think that Mc Aloran would agree with my assessment of humanity that I developed from Homer Simpson “People do things because they are stupid &die because they deserve to” – there is carrion everywhere: people die so often that it is (almost) not even funny anymore.

The best aspect of Mc Aloran is the gloom. There is no trace of the inability that the later (& better) Becket regrets as he notices that words do not work, they just lie on the page & suck. This is because what Mc Aloran is portraying is the fact that meaning is not there, life sucks because it is meat that fails to mean.

When we die we will have failed to speak, we will have failed to mean, we will have failed to matter. This has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with modern society or any sort of political criticism, that’s just the way it is. We are left with “speech lack of claim/ words dead foreign ice encasing fathom untimely said

It helps to be mad, it helps to be drunk. Buy this book. It’s available from the usual culprits & the publishers here.

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Joanna C. Valente
The Gods are Dead (2015)
(Deadly Chaps Press)
review by David McLean

This book by Joanna C. Valente is like a naturalization of Tarot & occult symbolism reflected in the bizarre unlikelihood of real lives since the symbolic figures of the major arcana are used to symbolize something of contemporary relevance. It’s beautifully illustrated by Ted Chevalier & the book itself is very well made.

Valente is good at titles: “The Moon is Always Horny”, “The Hermit Used to be the Guitarist in Your Favorite Band”, “Judgment Promises Life After the Internet”, “The Hanged Man Will Ghostwrite Your Life”, & so on;

I am dead as a forgotten
man, no mind / I am a broken vessel.
(The Hanged Man Will Ghostwrite Your Life)

says the lamb, before he “spreads, purrs into a shit/ angel”. These are poems of sacrifice & the futility of sacrifice, the necessity of ritual, & whatever heaven a religion imagines might exist will not fit us.

He measures his life by expiration
Dates / Milk in the fridge has two
weeks til death / bananas grow
black as the inside of a coffin
(Death Rides a Pale Horse)

I have mentioned titles, & the next excerpt is from a classic:

… He wakes alone
the next morning, his back

rough from ropes. Lilies
spread across the bed – petals
of who he will become
(At Night, Temperance Works as a Dominatrix

Landscapes are supposed to be desolate, & the imagery of these poems invites the reader to conceptualize themselves more creatively. The most pivotal poem seems to be this one:

the air streams
stillness as if someone
died while making
love

He has never made
love.
Instead he cuts up
books
to orgasm. …
……

Someone could stop;
instead chose to be
somebody.
(The Hierophant Builds the Bridge Between Deity and Humanity)

Again this book by Valente is an excellent read, & heartily to be recommended. You don’t need to know or care about the Tarot, the poems create their own symbolism & the archetypes are more universal. The book is on sale here: http://www.deadlychaps.com/joanna-valente/

“at vacuum’s edge” – Michael McAloran

Michael Mc Aloran
at vacuum’s edge
Black Editions Press
review/blurb by David McLean

this chapbook concerns what we have as if to say. when faced by the other than. it is no alienation exactly but the necessary incongruity of the being human with the actual instantiation of all that within the brute meat we sort of want to torture even if the other may conceivably be rather like us

it is also of collisions – a collidescope, as he puts it, mirroring where the worlds minds drag around to imprison them bump into the other cunt.

again/ upon/ sodden crimson red recollect of
bounty’s trace of unforgiven/ dries the eyes what
depth till following lack abort what sung as if to
drift matter of forgotten as before once said
eradicated/ engulfed once more/ yet mocking the
reek/ (tread from this life disease what will stake
claims upon the ocean’s filtering lights)/ and the
bitten song/ a neck snapped in a gild of apathy/
nothing of the tears that demarcate the surface/
bore holes into the surface quadrant/ nothing
known…

the problem of epistemology is not that nothing is known but that maybe what is mostly worthy of knowing is just the nothing/ that which one should designate almost imperceptibly by the via negativa.

whatever is in some sense given is not the significant. we cannot signify what matters which is not that nothing does. this chapbook is as far from nihilism as it is possible to be & whoever says it s just that is as ignorant as those who attribute the same alleged perversity to me.

it is on sale here: https://blackeditionspress.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/at-vacuums-edge-michael-mc-aloran/