by Sean Kilpatrick
Blue Square Press, 2011
85 pages / $12 Buy from Blue Square Press
“O you cancer victims, O you hemorrhoid sufferers, O you multiple sclerotics, O you syphilitics, O you cardiac conditions, O you paraplegics, O you catatonics, O you schizoids, O you paranoids, O you hypochondriacs, O you carriers of causes of death, O you suicide candidates, O you potential peacetime casualties, O you potential war dead, O you potential accident victims, O you potential increase in the mortality rate, O you potential dead.” – Peter Handke, Offending the Audience
Reading Sean Kilpatrick’s first full-length poetry book fuckscapes is an experience that brings to mind Hart Crane’s dictum to create “a new word, never before spoken and impossible to actually enunciate.” Sean Kilpatrick’s poetry gives me that feeling. It is the feeling of a new language. Of expression so impossible I can barely begin to put into words how it makes me feel. But I can tremble before it. This book is insane and suggestive. Its brashness smolders like a confluence of spirit. He says, “bitch I doggy paddle the stars,” and “motherfucker my stains dance.” No thought is too outrageous, no obscenity unspoken. “Did you get your hysterectomy at Toys R Us?” This is not just poetry with an edge – no, it is beyond all edges, from the other side of the abyss, like gazing into an obsidian mirror at your non-human self.
a carbon monoxide ballroom
dreaming public toilets in Sicily
I am the pauper of glows
fraught with bow wow
I am the furnace of every disorder
Saying Christ inside a toy”
What makes Kilpatrick’s poetry really outrageous is its annihilation of meaning. This is nothing new, but under Kilpatrick’s eye it is totally alive, and puts shame to the “half-assed English majors” and other beholders of vision. In lines like, “time for sanitarium gods to moisturize the day,” it’s like he’s sabotaging the nature of expression. Words like ‘absurd’ and ‘surreal’ come to mind, but they are historical commodities, and in no way adequately describe the wild violence Kilpatrick demonstrates.
This book contains every shade of darkness refracted through a fine crystal. This is the curious threnody of integrated circuits. Its contingent vacuity is a nebulous beam – a spiral into ether gushing with waves and intoxication. There is deformation and mutation. It is the glowing confluence of a billion black suns! His singular vision levitates a wave so grand, its core so fresh, it feels inexhaustible. Kilpatrick’s poetry – undoubtedly obscene, grotesque, perverse, even sadistic – offers a new experience of language. This is the full flight of teenage dementia. “Let’s do the Charleston on your restraining order.” This is discord as hilarity. Its spirit is the union of divergent energies all powered by the light of unseen dimensions. The highlight of the book for me is “a spurious lobotomy,” a sort of insane medical journal:
This sparks with the explosive energy of a dark fire. Its essence is vicious and exciting. It feels to me like the core spirit of all poetry. Kilpatrick’s work exemplifies moving beyond individual consciousness and the personal self and into the abyss of black thought. This is poetry in love with its sickness. Glistening with violence and profanity, his words take me to a space where language is compacted into a kind of glossolalia that violates itself, like a dark field expanding in all directions and interacting with infinitude. Kilpatrick uses Fulcanelli’s “green language,” the ethereal “language of the birds” of medieval occultism, to convulse poetry with energy so wrong it feels impossible. This is the fusion of blank elements. And its ugliness transfigures the very idea of alchemy. It is completely beyond any autonomous zone of transference and in an insane sphere of singularity all its own. The uproar here is internal, annihilating ego and self in ways so singular it is disquieting. “Another whiff of sainthood might kill this flavor.” This new voided alchemy, this digestible dilemma, harkens to the abyss of black thought, like Bhairava playing the role of poète maudit.
Another highlight of the book are the two plays, an outrageous confluence of Antonin Artaud as imagined by Frank Booth: “This play took many generations of actors to perform. The writer masturbated for research. I wrote this play once. The avant-garde is a candle of ruin. I am occasionally fascist. I go to school against my better judgment. And yours. I live at home. Or not at all.” Kilpatrick siphons insane energy out of the air. He speaks in tongues. Reading fuckscapes is to be contaminated with its own diseased energy, and I welcome the infection this book gave me. Kilpatrick has fondled the celestial fire and he also jerked off in it. His aesthetic exemplifies the art’s omega point in its annihilation of meaning. What it aspires to is “this killing of the sky with surgical rhythms.” He knows that “Nothing’s been okay since the big bang.” This book’s violence is like a diseased prayer, like the dance of vatic sores. This rain of language coagulates much like all the invisible forces throughout the world that are waiting to become visible. This book’s annihilating energy destroys lesser expression in that it navigates interior structures that are seemingly formless and in tune with hidden layers of reality.
Chris Moran lives in Columbus, OH. Recent poems have appeared in Zhoupheus.