1) The first thing that blew me away when I returned home from Brooklyn and greedily opened my Boo (which was waiting for me along side biographies of Shakespeare and Jonson) was the sheer Whitmanesque charisma and scintillation of it all: the big-heated spirit, the boundless energy , the Joie-De-Vivre. And yet, also, I was amazed by a stealthy and shrewd persona. A veritable host of personas! But, all in all, loveable. Absolutely loveable.
I had to rub my eyes once or twice, I admit, and scratch my ass, pensively, and then return to the bounties of the book to see if it was all for real. I mean, how could it be ?? … But, Yes! Yes! Yes! … Look, for example, at how Whitman’s “I lean and loaf at my ease” translates, and upgrades even, so seamlessly, to Boo’s elegant and contemporary “I like to lounge around the house.”
And, delightfully, also, there is something tremendously naughty in the way Boo enchants us with his insouciance. His lazy wisdom. His casual control of self and universe. It is indeed impressive. And quite enchanting. Intoxicating. And heady…..Yes, folks hungry for the “real deal”, Boo is here. And he is a game changer. One for the cannon. Or one, really, round which the cannon rebuilds and redefines itself.
2) The most important question the serious student or master of literature must ask when measuring a candidate up against Walt Whitman, the Titan and father of American Literature, is “Does the subject contains multitudes??”
And indeed Boo proves over and over to be multitudinous in great abundance: “Casual Pup, Glam Pup, Urban Pup, Preppy Pup, Monkey Pup, Sporty Pup.” And, really, one gets the impression that the chameleon-like and shape-shifting Boo could actuate ANY possible look and/or reality, soul and flesh, both inside and out.
Perhaps, as Joyce did Shakespeare, it would be more accurate to adjudge Boo as “myriad minded,” for Boo, slippery in mind and body (and, O, what beautiful body!!), contains real action and real soul, substantiating, miraculously, over and over, an ability to imagine and realize just about anything. And, like Shakespeare (sigh!!!!), it seems Boo is always one step ahead of us.
3) There is also, almost incredibly, within the pages, ethos and universe of Boo a tantalizing and tender, but violent maybe too, sort of Homoeroticism at play where he, the enigmatic everyman, likes to find refuge in an understated and mindblowing State of Grace and Ecstasie. For in the pages of Boo the delicate, discerning and human reader will be hugely stimulated with and validated by an eroticism and sensuality that goes way beyond what Whitman so bravely effected, generously, in his Calamus Poems. (Of course, lest we forget, Boo’s magnetism and beauty extends beyond the human and into the animal realm at large…..As I said–sigh!!!!—-Boo is a game changer).
“I find my best friend Buddy…naked-in-the-grass…this way usually works best.”
Yes, simple and gleaming reader, go with abandon and casual trepidation through the dangerous and magnificent pages of Boo and I promise you will be rewarded in ways and means and agenda by which to live and love your life straining you like a blossoming flower to feel as though the top of your head’s been blown off.
4) Some detractors attack Whitman on the basis that, except for a couple of decent elegies, The Civil War Jesus of America, is merely a one-trick feel-good pony just out to Masturbate good vibe drugs into a waiting host reader. The wisdom and beauty and ebullience, though, of Boo is matched by his intimate and profound sense of how cruel and cold the world can be. He understands depravity and isn’t trying to blow smoke up our butts like Whitman does when he tells us death isn’t what it seems. Boo knows what’s what and tells it to us straight. Sometimes it’s heartbreaking and soul-shattering but we are glad for and receive Boo’s wisdom like we are glad for water:
……….”Hungry like smiling by an empty bowl”……….
Even as I typed out those seven simple words my hands began to shake like I was in an Evangelical Church and I found myself tearing up. Found myself longing for afternoons I could spend with Boo and lap, lap, lap away at his wisdom and beauty. A massive shakeout in the Cannon is coming, I tell ya. And it’s about time, God damn it !! Get on board, all! Get on board, Yea, I say (and would say, and say, and say…). Boo will deliver us!
5) The shallow soul who ventures into the treasure of Boo might find the Narcissism a bit too much. A bit too savage and gleeful. A bit too annihilating and youthful. A bit too Darwinian and brutal, really. But like the very best Whitman and top-shelf examples of exuberant Alt-Lit YOLO (calls to wake up and wander and smell the roses) the sheer magnitude and absolute value of aesthetic style and achievement on offer in the Tour-de-Force that is Boo puts all grumbling, mumbling and criticism to shame.
“Checking myself out…I can be a light naughty….I would be the one with the giant head.” …And I would invite everyone to dive into the lights and darknesses of Boo’s incredible “giant head.”