Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Christine Murray's The Blind by David McLean (Book Review)

The blind are those three ladies, the fates, whose job is to dispose of the details of the process of human ontogenesis. They are also referred to as the furies, though those ladies saw everything. Blind is many things, apart from rage and fury. It can refer also to all those who do not notice their own emptiness. To the victims of compulsory heterosexuality, or the victims of the myopic rectitude that is political correctness

In one of the “preamble” poems Chris writes, of the norns, that there are three weavers

they are bird swipe
they are bird shadow

black eye
dart roll-to

this is not their place

Now I would be inclined to say that a book apparently about them was precisely their place, and like all deities and semi-deities books are the only place where they are to be found. So maybe the book is not about them, or maybe they are an anachronism. After that reference on page two, page four tells us that they are the furies, the well disposed, those whose eyes could find the sin inside you and pick it out. (Sadly, they too also only exist in books.)

Apart from that mythological digression, the book recounts episodes from the life cycle, from the process of birth to the bullshit that is marriage and relationships. The book touches on subjects that seem to range from torture porn and abortion to genital mutilation, and if the fates are furies, we remember that the job of the Eumenides was mostly to avenge sexual wrongs and crimes committed against infants and women. (One assumes that they were knackered after a day's work in ancient Athens).

The book, as noted, references the female life, seen as the being dressed in the accouterments of  femininity and humanity, wearing a body, flesh, ideology. All of which is prepared for one and adopted as in a ritual.

they are weaving
they are weaving me a new dress
they are bent to their work

I cannot move from/ this height that I have fallen from /body stretched out to their vultures/ (collectors ?)

they are weaving
they are weaving me a new dress
they are bent to their work

not the clean halls of exile or death/ but here and now / they are operating on me/
I cannot move my arm my hand my neck/ when I felt them coming I did not move/

(Note that the practitioner of the arts of medicine, along with its ally the teacher, has become one of the primary knives of oppression by which bodies and souls are subjugated, since the priest has been exposed as a bluff. The priests of other gods are often still allowed to conduct their oppressive rituals on account of the myopia associated with that depressing rectitude to which I have above alluded.)

This book, then, is difficult to adequately assess. Chris herself takes a review as being a reading, and I am doing no more than giving one possible interpretation. The book may have been intended to be about something else, but I am guessing at a substantial womanly rage at the masking in which we are expected to participate here in these diverse and fundamentally identical societies in which we are obliged to live by some dodgy myth of a contract. The cover illustration, which you will see as you buy it, shows the three faces of the ladies as basically androgynous masks, teeth drawn back in a rictus that might indicate rage or pain, more likely both.

But the subject is more the body and words, the seed and the seminar, the cells that are the flesh and its prisons,


nearby, the presence of the dead
in those soul cocoons that require

waiting and awaiting
to ravel
and un-

of their

Whatever it is designed to say that I have probably missed and misread, I can assure the reader that the poems in this book are exquisitely articulate and well-read. They are well worth your investment and Christine Murray is a hugely gifted poet.

Go buy it now: 


Author bio: 

David McLean is from Wales but has lived in Sweden since 1987. He lives there with his dog, Oscar, & his computers. In addition to various chapbooks, McLean is the author of six full-length poetry collections: CADAVER’S DANCE (Whistling Shade Press, 2008), PUSHING LEMMINGS (Erbacce Press, 2009), LAUGHING AT FUNERALS (Epic Rites Press, 2010), NOBODY WANTS TO GO TO HEAVEN BUT EVERYBODY WANTS TO DIE (Oneiros Books, June 2013), THINGS THE DEAD SAY (Oneiros Books, Feb 2014), & OF DESIRE AND THE LESION THAT IS THE EGO (Oneiros Books, May 2014. A seventh full length poetry collection to be called ZARA & THE GHOST OF GERTRUDE/ ON A RAMPAGE, which is a selection of poems inspired by Gertrude Stein, is alos due from Oneiros. More information about McLean can be found at his blogs http://mourningabortion.blogspot.com/ & http://davidcmclean.wordpress.com/

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