Thursday, August 15, 2013

American Museum, by Cole Bellamy.

Cole Bellamy is a habitue in the Bay Area art scene, a professor at San Leo, poet (who has hosted many a poetry night at Cafe Hey), Zine publisher, Free Skooler and more. He has, in conjunction with Beauty is Beauty Press, published American Museum, a 28-page chapbook of eighteen poems.

I have seen Cole read most, if not all of these poems at various poetry readings. His range is admirable, with the opener "Prologue" covering the Roswell-like crash of a great flying dragon near his childhood home (He grew up in Darby, FL, on a cattle ranch). The locals strip away everybit they can, but the body remains like that of any sacred being, uncorrupted. Eventually, government trucks arrive, cordo off the area, and truck away the remains under tarps. The poet, even as a child, is the observer of this great metaphor for the life force crashing.

An able Ringmaster/storyteller, the poet regales the reader with improbable tales in a matter-of-fact style that suspends disbelief in a lilting manner, like playground swings on a windy day. Lilli Anne, the Monkey Girl, looking like the Devil's spawn, but with an Angel's voice, is ushered in, her life's story told, and ultimately she prepares to perform for us on the midway, and we can hear her voice. It is our own. There are poems born of experience, like "Ode to a Glass of Bourbon", with the aura of veracity laced with observations forged from first hand experience. A man stuck in a monster suit, the kind voracity of silverfish, whales in and out of museums, the latter worthy of a Tarkovsky movie, Gordo the space squirrel's voyage, elemental forces of nature and human nature being tested, and all the time brushing (if not grabbing) the third rail of the human condition. Some of the themes are deceptively banal or bombastic, like a boomerang flung too far to ever return, and yet it does.

My favorite poem in this book is "Alligator", a mythical beast so large that it is like a living axis mundi for Florida -- and the world, an ecological and spiritual parable that we are here at the mercy of nature, though we live in a state where the opposite appears to be true.

For a measly eight bucks, this book is a steal. It is the kind that is (and should be) easily tucked into your bag or computer case and in my opinion, best read in a randomized order and several times over, savoring Cole's verbal fluidity and his language work its magic over you. I guarantee you will become a better observer with all your senses, and your life richer for it.

--- Luis

To get one of these books....[Link]

Ps. Apologies to Cole for how long this took, I always get further behind in Summer....

1 comment:

  1. Cole Bellamy has a raw and rye sensibility that is edgy, fun, and sardonic. I agree with Luis, this is a fine book to buy, especially if you want to catch a fine writer on his way up and out into the larger world. A fine bunch of poems that feel hitched to a sizable propellant. Cole's sensibilities are broad and he compacts them into lyrical phrases that draw us in naturally until we feel part of the larger stories they compel us to experience.