Monday, March 23, 2009

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal's Before and Well After Midnight (Book Review) by David McLean

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal's Before and Well After Midnight
by David McLean

This new chapbook by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal is the fifth in deadbeat press' excellent black book madness series. They present us partly with glimpses into a magical world that we might not like to be in, partly with glimpses of a modern society we mostly don't want to be in. One poem speaks more than the 38 words it is.

No Purpose

People think the worst of me
because loneliness has put
its hat on my head. I have
no purpose in this world.
This makes me seem like a
dangerous man, like I could slit a

His most characteristic poems are those about the animals of madness, a frightening mental bestiary where worms from rotting apples bite you as you walk on the grass and make you younger, language falls away from you, and you drown crawling back to the womb, the origin of life.

Other poems deal with social issues, police objecting to “immigrants just wanting to dance all night,” with sick children seeking justice from a god who has unsurprisingly betrayed them, since he doesn't exist.

Favorites here are The President's daughter

I am making a statement by
not combing my hair. I don’t
care where I go from here.
Everything will take care of itself.
I am the president’s daughter.

and the before mentioned one about the girl querying God

She wanted
her Maker
to fix His
mistake, to

work a new
to make her
mind normal.

She wanted
her illness
wiped away

She challenged
Her Maker
to prove that
He loved her.

All in all a phenomenal chapbook, from Dead Beat Press. Everything from love to political protest, but first and foremost tales of ordinary extra-ordinary madness, how we become invisible, how we become so little that nobody will miss us.

Author bio:

David McLean is Welsh but has lived in Sweden since 1987. He lives there in a cottage on a hill with a woman, five selfish cats, and a stupid puppy. He has a BA in History from Oxford, and an unconnected MA in philosophy, much later, from Stockholm. Details of his three available full length poetry books, various chapbooks, and 850 poems in or forthcoming at over 340 places online or in print over the last couple of years, are at his blog at Mourning Abortion.. He never submits by snail mail since he has little money and since he loves, or at least doesn't have anything against, trees. There's a new chapbook of dead snakes at Rain over Bouville, another is coming from Poptritus Press in the summer sometime. A novella Henrietta forgets is forthcoming from Isms Press. Round the beginning of next year a large 250 page anthology of his poetry called laughing at funerals will be appearing with Epic Rites Publications, as well as a 50 poem chapbook called Hellbound which is appearing sooner. For Epic Rites he edits the chapbook series and the e-zines lines written w/ a razor and the thin edge of staring, as well as selecting work for the radio network.

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