1) Reading and experiencing “Strange Tarot” is like spying on a tenuous and tense relationship in which one part of a self guides and chides the other. At some points, even, it feels like it incarnates you. (Most Tarot Poetry’s an exhausting exercise in ekphrasis. Yawn. That, or the Tarot Poems range so far afield that there’s nothing Tarot about them. Jamalieh Haley’s “Strange Tarot” is still very much Tarot—superficially, in titles, imagery and in the way the poems on the page are shaped like Tarot cards—but indeed a strange, strange Tarot, benefiting and enhanced greatly from psychedelic imagery that only issues from a highly pressurized and agitated mental state.)
“Arrive inside your silhouette. Open the china. Do anything there.”
2) The critical element of Tarot is the relationship between the fortune teller and the supplicant. And, for me, in Strange Tarot the self is telling itself its own fortune. The self betrothed to itself. And this “conversation” (or fortune telling) within the self, which we are privileged to enjoy and shudder at, is rife with flaring tensions and instability, extrusions of cruelty and violence verging constantly towards, like suicide, a kind of desperate, ritualized and salvational make-up sex. Yes, the fire of consummation is what will save and consume.
And let me say again how lucky we are to be overhearing and looking in on this lover’s quarrel of the soul (and itself).
“throw down salvation to the beast you demand.”
3) The voice of these poems is high-strung, edgy, often cruel and sadistic, but READ MORE >
August 19th, 2014 / 10:00 am