Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Joel Felix - Regional Noir

“Never was this far before” is a thought found throughout Ron Silliman's BART. And although that poem and Joel Felix's Regional Noir (new from Roberto Harrison's Bronze Skull series) have much in common, Silliman is alone in offering this sensation. For Felix, the train ride from Chicago to Detroit is all too familiar. The pollution, economic desolation, and architectural decay are nothing new, nor should they be for anyone that has traveled this or any other route through what was once the heart of American Industry. Felix attempts some of the playfulness found in Silliman's exercise: “I mime the discovery that I don't have another pen when this one runs out” in order to get a fresh one from the woman across the aisle. But when he gets it, his thoughts have already drifted back to the landscape outside. “Of course I worry that I am an absence of an absence as I sit in this train, one eye out the window.” Even a drunk, slightly rowdy woman a few rows up can't keep his attention, as their “eyes meet among reflections of the baby blue corporate trademark of the US Steel refineries, bituminous coal-burning stacks issuing a yellow haze looking stricken.”

"Detroit is the metaphor for how completely we can abandon each other," writes Felix and while abandonment is certainly a theme that runs throughout Regional Noir, a perhaps more apt summation comes slightly earlier. "Writing acts as if it has never seen the world before. The soda pop in a tall glass on the counter claims a life over the soda pop in a tall glass on the counter." That there is creativity in destruction is apparent to every photography student who has taken pictures of half demolished buildings or crumbled overpasses. The necessarily equal destruction found in creation is much harder to see, "with abandoned properties surviving only as long as the pavement will resist plants."

Available now. $3

Also newly available from Bronze Skull:
Failure in the Imagination by Borzutzky
Dear Cyclops by Ariana Hamidi
Err-Residence by Jennifer Scappettone
Flags and Banners by Chuck Stebelton

Also available by Joel Felix
Catch & Release

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