Dumb Stuttering Free by Atticus Davis

41wn3vhtE4L._SL500_AA300_Dumb Stuttering Free
by Atticus Davis
Bedouin Books, 2012
65 pages / $7   Buy from Amazon or Bedouin Books







I picked it up because of the cover, really. There’s a billion images you come across in a bookstore and as Americans crawl out of the cover of their baseball caps and 501’s, they also are getting slightly better at attention to detail when it comes to other types of design. While pink and black usually reminds me of a mall goth wearing an angry bunnies t-shirt I saw this and was hypnotized by it’s sleek design and composition. It felt like picking up a Void record and when I realized it was letterpress I was kind of turned on.

I cracked it open, this thick but fun-sized pocket reader, and was shocked to realize that this wasn’t your typical San Francisco ‘artisanal’ or ‘handmade curiosity-’read; the ones guiltlessly banished to the cesspool-ashbin of hack art marketed as the ‘alternative economy.’ D.I.Y. in the most neurotic and psychologically defensive fashion ever; where stick figures are accepted in the visual medium and illegible eyeball burning cut and paste zines are the truest of literature.  The first page of Dumb Stuttering Free  is like taking a straight shot of cheap whiskey with no chaser, but instead of that shitty sick-to-your stomach, corn-gut regret after, you down the next 62 pages like it’s a Mexican Coca Cola [ the ones with cane sugar], every page smoother than the last. It completely consumes you, it’s hidden passion in composition so cold and methodical you have to pinch yourself to make sure you’re really there.

They say when you’re falling asleep, the physical sensation of limbs starts to disappear as you enter the hypnagogic state—that’s how it feels. It was like coffee and pot at the same time, except I’m sober, and there’s no sounds, and I still have enough control  of my nerves to clearly jot Atticus’ name into a notebook to Google later because I’m imagining he’s been as widely published as Vera Pavlova.

Dumb Stuttering Free, is a collection of hit and run philosophy in liquid doses, take a tab of nourishing reality to trip on in an emotional zero-gravity and enjoy watching Davis freefall in reverse. Descension is Transcendence; crush your hopelessness by abandoning the feeling in it’s entirety, somewhere between the place you anonymously leave babies and a gutter, and lift with the likes of Atlas by burdening yourself with your world. Hope breeds passivity and Atticus uses himself as an example in almost every poem:

You want to make sense of it all,
choking on all of life’s truths at once

you could swallow them
one by one, but instead,
decide to drink the whole of life
like an entire sea.

You’re belly swollen,
burnt with the desert
of salt building up
in your guts;

looks like you didn’t like people enough
to see them,
so you used them.

Looks like you wanted to
be recognized
instead of seen.


it’s what you’re good at.

While using the Adrian Orange/Thanksgiving style use of the word you, in an almost religious way, he references his own experiences to bring you an honest detail of his shortcomings and a concrete blueprint for how to avoid repeating his same mistakes. Like Aesop’s wisdom but in the most adult sense.  It seems to be heavily influenced by a Buddhist’s aim to ‘Kill The Buddha.’ To eliminate an ideal self, the interference of the suit we wear in dealing with a world, to shelter ourselves from experiences actually necessary to self-possession instead of a narcissistic self consciousness:

Destroy the persona,
the nagging, wild thing
that makes you bow &
bend over
for uninteresting strangers
makes you
make a fool of yourself.

No matter how many
bodies you’re surrounded by,
or how many self help books you read,
or how many pretty boys
you’ve slept with,

or how many nights you went wild,
you will be alone,
it doesn’t have to be lonely.

[Under]Stated in plain english, a whisper to the quietest parts of yourself. We know more about space than we do our own oceans. We fascinate more about Paris than Louisianna, which is probably just as new to you. We look up to other people, we fixate on them, and in turn we idealize ourselves. If you want to know about yourself, take interest in others. If you want to know about others, take interest in yourself. Take the pill, enter the matrix, travel the rabbit hole, make friends with ugly people, quit asking questions by answering them. Take the reigns, step aside, and let yourself through: it’s time to get Dumb Stuttering Free.


Michael Bachman was born twenty-four years ago in Baltimore, Maryland. He has been fucking up ever since.. More of his writing, art, and personal life can be found at

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