Zero Division by Joseph M. Gant
Reviewed by David McLean
Zero Division is full of poems about
when loss of satisfaction
left us destitute and wild
With imagery sometimes reminiscent of Dylan, Gant describes the fundamental emptiness that is modern life with its mental disorders, both in in the psychiatric sense and general senses of the word “disorder”. A world where drugs both legal and recreational replace a sense of meaning and purpose. Meaning is something which sentences have, not lives, and words themselves are usually full of shit:
words spread like so much fucked and eaten disease
Gant as a writer is engaged in the process of trying to locate a personal meaning by just celebrating the emptiness or deconstructing the pointlessness of so doing.
The poems include a wide emotional range from passion, humor, lust, to a cold desolation, postcards from after the apocalypse.
night falls without notice. day and dark
alike withheld. my eyes no longer
strain, so conditioned to my present state.
I turn the glass to count the hours, watch
the moments pile, one upon the other;
grains of empty time betray my passing and
I long to touch them, feel the slip,
know that I am really Here.
resigned, I pull the blanket of phantasmal
weave to sleep as I once did before to dream,
but consciousness alone there is. these
cells will never let it go. I walk these halls
in memory’s chains, chains of time unbroken.
(from Stripped of Title)
The book also points to the huge gaps in the picture sold to people by the ideology of love and intimate bliss. Intimacy is shown as confusing and the other basically defined as an enemy with whom one makes a temporary alliance in order to assuage a temporary irritation in the itching flesh.
what is this thing
I have just made love to?
where is the love that
I have just made?
how can it be
I have come without knowing
when I took leave of the joy that
(from Stranger Each Time)
Zero Division also contains a strand of anger and contempt in many of the poems that is invigorating and enjoyable to read:
I’d lay a forest
for your lone pine box.
trees are far less
odious than your sight,
less offensive to my sensibilities;
for I am a sensitive man
on days less like these.
but I’d sacrifice them all
to rid the planet’s roster
of one more asshole. for
unlike trees you’re non-specific,
far too common.
(from Clear Cut)
The book is really a worthwhile purchase, containing as it does 162 pages, which is rather long for a poetry collection nowadays. Get it here:
David McLean is Welsh but has lived in Sweden since 1987. Up to date details of well over 1100 poems in various publications, both print and online, over the last three years or so are at his blog at Mourning Abortion. There you will also find details of several currently available books and chapbooks - including three print full lengths, four print chapbooks, and a free electronic chapbook. A new chapbook is out now from Heavy Hands Ink. It costs ten dollars as paper but is also available as a free .pdf download.