Review of David McLean's Pushing Lemmings
by pablo vision
The lemmings did not jump, but were pushed instead by a rotating platform, and not into the Arctic Ocean, but the much less impressive Bow River. So, just as you cannot trust Disney, it is prudent to be sceptical about many ideas promoted by those who first decide what they want to believe, and then secondly construct a philosophy based on these faulty foundations.
Pushing Lemmings explodes many myths (mostly the spurious meanings and invalid associations that stupid, and unquestioning, people cling to and wear like a mangy old fleece (quite possibly in order to resemble sheep outwardly as well as inwardly)) with wonderful intolerance and delightfully disrespectful verve.
‘my blessed devils’ tells it like it is:
i hope the blessed devils
and accursed bacteria
that live in me scratch runes
on my hollow sounding bones
that the replete ghouls may read
a lesson of profoundest negativity
when they plow through the meat
machine me and see nothing
inside any of us, like life, just death
and insanity dressed in night
But, with 118 poems, in this collection, there is tremendous range of subject matter and style – astoundingly so – and I have a great fondness for those poems which majestically incorporate the profound and the profane, the poetic and the epistemic, and deviance with the downright piss-funny. ‘maybe creation’ is a good example – a poem which later goes on to suggest that god was heaven’s token nigger. It kicks off thus:
maybe creation was recursive
and circumstance were the demiurge
that put a cosmos in a plastic bag
whirled by the world-wind
that blew a million words
together to impersonate a holy
logos a minute
the cosmos stitched together
like a bag that held a horde
of innumerable universes
popping up like querulous
quarks, strange and charming
in the harmless void,
before light invented night
and black was an impotent
but questions of why have no home
in science, which is poncy ontology
not manly metaphysics that rips
gibberish like hair waxed from time’s
Elsewhere there are poems where ‘societies are clumps of cancerous tissue; open wounds full of gross necroses we call people’, and there are poems where one is just as likely to meet Butters Scotch as one is Wittgenstein as one is at danger of being ‘chased by a hateful winged clit’, and it is the genuinely unexpected twists and turns in this collection that make it inordinately pleasurable to read.
McLean can be undeniably elegant, as in ‘like illusion’:
as if words
as if a subjectivity
lived this hollow “me”
or he can be irresistibly beguiling, as in ‘foeti and nipples’:
disgusting as any abortive
morphology words are foeti
are poems are miscarried
philosophy and worrying
about punctuation is saying
shit I hope this abortion
has nice nipples
And for someone who question words themselves (or describes poems as abortions in jars), he uses the fuckers in a most truly original and thought provoking way.
This, most assuredly, is a book you should buy. Do so - it is exceptional.
Pushing Lemmings can be purchased here: Mourning Abortion.
pablo vision occasionally updates pablo vision with obscenity, blasphemy, links to recently published work, and information about stuff in print, audio, art, reviews, and films. He has remained faithful to the same woman for a number of years, but he is always eager to test his resolve in this matter with attractive gothic girls.