Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Felonies of Illusion is now available
Cover by K. Lorraine Graham
$11 if you order directly from Edge Books (click here)
A master at making genre question itself, Mark Wallace gets the square peg in the round hole again. A stark and aphoristic long poem about living and working during the war—direct, wise, and brave enough to skip the decorative—bumps up against the witty, clanging, angry, top-speed, palimpsestuous title series—lyrics that swallow their own tails. Wallace is cynical, clear-eyed, and resolutely jokey on commerce, war, love (the "therapeutic use of commitment") and exhausted longing ("This day could be about today, leisurely and bright/if the days weren't stacked like nights inside it.") Nobody gets away with anything in Felonies of Illusion: we're all skewered till we grimace and grin.
Mark Wallace invents only what's real. If democracies could talk, we would in fact be able to understand them, but we would need the help of poems like these. As its title suggests, the language of Felonies of llusion is premised on a sense of justice and reciprocity. The need is real, and thus the need for invention is constant. The writing betrays no qualms about showing this. There's serious play going on here.
Elegaic without strings, passionate without bravado, up the tragic creek without a cathartic paddle, Mark Wallace’s Felonies of Illusion is an intensely personal collection of valedictions, an extended suite of lyric leavetakings written in the infinite series of penultimate milliseconds before an always-imminent obliteration—a “now” that “is not that long from now.” These already painful goodbyes, however, are suspended in a nervewracking holding pattern as “the total system / shouts back that there’s no way to leave.” Wallace rehearses the purgatorial illogic of perpetual orange alert with unsparing gravity, but also with empathy and wit. His poems confront us with the human truth of the narratives we spin daily in the name of individual survival at the same time that they caution us not to “get / too attached to the story told / imploding.”
K. Silem Mohammad
It’s happened before or every other guest
aches to be buried the new right way
proofs are proofs? When we set out to design
compact thinking, we ended up with lots
of transit to the usual beach spots
splintered on assumptions. Are you talking
to your hand yet? Out of signs,
tumble switched, thrown on
a presupposed interior call field?
Before anyone can toss in the towel
on top of excessive numbers or nightmares
read the instructions carefully. So does it
take ammonia? Could one highlight film
recall a bandit on the run
for all new greed? People are people
like news is gossip. Whatever I did
becomes equivalent border patsy
stressful reflex. If responsibility accepts
another slanted chain of events
to slip away from, the clamp
on the clamp, the public note,
slander advancement eats alive
at many a local hot spot, previewing blunders.
Step right up to the pressure cap.