from jack Magazine....
Deep shit for a 22 year old. Yes, this is a tragic genius, like a Rimbaud
with a Xerox machine. His delicate handbound collection of short pieces,
are the words of a loving rebel who produces more media than he consumes.
His words pour out with sadness, his pen flows with blood ? not the lifeless
blood cycling through vampires, but the green vibrant juice of a zombie.
There is something delightful about zombies who are alive, not stuck in
front of their televisions. Perhaps this is his metaphor for the condition
of his southern upbringing: to be born a zombie, but to crank it out in
a sweet 20 years. If only the world could live as much as half his early
from not dead but dreaming....
A truly painstakingly handbound book ? stitched cardboard cover illustrated
with stickers & inlaid with a beautiful stone & mirror shard. There
are over 200 pages of text and drawings. Reading very much like a dream
journal, the prose within provides a literary clip-collage of what could
very well be a mixture of dreams, hallucinations, true experiences, or
utter imaginings. The perspectives from which Suborrheaís entries emerge
are of an underlying consistent voice, one somewhat dispassionate yet,
at the same time, unwittingly affected by & involved in his environment.
The narrator could well be Brian himself throughout: whether reliably matter-of-fact
or admittedly under intoxicating influences, whether in first or third
person, whether objectively observant or intensely introspective. Some
pieces, such as "Stars & Hearts" and "Sophie," seem to convey a subtle
metaphoric message, lending themselves to interpretation; many others,
however, do not. "Orthodontist" is simply an excellent unique rendering
of a boyís trip to such same, humorous and horrible, short and sweet. This
is not a collection of "narratives" in the traditional sense; many of these
pieces are open-ended instances of events & observations, while others
are nearly poetic conjurings of characters. However, the pieces do seem
to link into one another with the non-sequential intricacy that makes me
imagine that much of the inspiration behind Suborrhea is biographical.
Life is, after all, the most non-traditional narrative of all.
from Scavenger's newsletter.... (I'm not sure why they think it's poetry....)
Another example of how well art & poetry can work hand in hand is Brian John Mitchell's Suborrhea, a thick ream of poems in mini-digest format, hand-stitched inbetween cardboard covers & hand decorated with stickers & tiny mirrors. At a casual glance, the collection looks rough hewn, like a vital organ was hacked out of a supermodel's chest cavity. But upon closer examination, you realize that the blood is still pumping through said organ, occasionally jetting out of some ethereal vein, splashing into the faces of all who come into contact with it. The poetry is alive, people. Which only goes to prove you can't judge a book by it's plain brown covers. Of the poetry itself, much of the work takes on a very freewheeling narrative appearance that is stuck somewhere between poetry & prose. Yet the rhythm of each piece plays out like the material came from such pens of such small press luminaries as Wayne Edwards, Todd Moore, John Grey, & Bob Cook. The stuff is reality based & hard hitting, but it is a reality that is twisted & bent through Mitchell's unque vision of what a poem should be. & often the result is a poem or prose fragment that cuts to the bone as you try to pick it up off the dirty floor of your brain, like the beginning lines of "eye" ("She knows where monsters come from & she can teach me how to meet them. She knows everything that's written & some things that aren't yet. It's like she's me with five years experience.") & "Scholar" ("I'm addicted to strychnine & people think it's the filthiest habit in the world. It doesn't even get you high. It has no euphoria, just nasty side effects."). Pretty mean stuff for a writer who has such a knack for fluidity. Then again, it would have to be nasty for Mitchell, wouldn't it? After all, the poems in Suborrhea are visceral little missives dedicated to madness & the odd little quirks that separate us from one another, dividing our souls into walls of flesh. This is poetry with a truly fringe element, folks, & you shouldn't let the $15 price tag scare you off. Because it looks as if Mitchell has carved out a piece of his inner core & pressed it between a ream of nice pearly-white paper. When was the last time a poet did that for you?
The club is famous or maybe infamous. Itís more like
going to an art show than just a strip club. Itís way too disturbing &
interesting to be pornographic. Thereís a girl right now walking on the
runway pumping her arms, spinning them around (she must be double jointed)
to the techno beat; but I hardly even notice sheís naked because thereís
this image projected on the smoke around her that makes her look like she
has a second right arm. Maybe it is pornographic, because the idea of a
girl with three arms really turns me on whether sheís naked or not. I really
canít tell which of her right arms is real, but as she gets closer to me
I get more enthralled by her face. She looks so strong & empowered
& deified. She could dominate & destroy anything. Sheís like a
god or at least an angel revealing itself to kill you or at least destroy
everything dear to you. Her hair is black & looks like itís made of
vinyl. It only comes out above eye level. Itís been shaved closer than
to the skin because the pores are gone. Maybe sheís been electrolyzed.
Then sheís gone.
The next girl comes out on to the main stage, sliding across it effortlessly as if itís teflon. Sheís wearing these glass shoes to make her taller, but even with the heels & the stage she still gives off the cast of being human. She lifts up her right arm & rising on the stage is the word "Anaaron" (presumably her name). It looks like a cross between comic book onomatopoeia & a neon sign & there are tracers of it to the floor as it rises to be level with her head. The audience applauses & the name fades as she walks onto the stageís tongue. Thereís nothing spectacular about her. She looks really typical & safe, the kind of girl who was in your english class in high school & never turned your head. She has black shoulder length straight hair with bangs. I think Iím in love.
I canít believe it when after the show I actually get up & go to talk to her. Sheís sitting at a table with the girl who seemed to have three arms earlier, but only has two now. "I liked your shows."
"Thanks, weíll be going now," the three armed girl says as she stands up. Sheís probably a foot taller than me. She puts on her coat & then helps Anaaron with hers. Anaaron isnít wearing her glass shoes now & is comparable to me in height & I think of myself of short & troll-like, but sheís more like an elf. Iím wishing I had something more I could say to her to get her to see me as more than just some sexually motivated fan, when my head starts to hurt.
Itís from the center of my forehead at a slope toward my left ear ending above the center of my left eye. I give a little gasp of air & then touch it with my right hand. Iím holding my hand a couple inches in front of my face & my fingertips have this thick half-coagulated blood on them. I look up for help & the three armed girl is already gone; but Anaaron is staring at me, her jaw slack & her mouth slightly opened. "Help me," Iím whimpering as I cover the wound with a cupped right hand.
She takes my clean left hand & leads me through the club, through the backstage, & out a door to a vacant but well-lit alley. Itís cold enough to see my breath.
"Let me see it," she says in a voice as commanding & gentle as a motherís. I sit down leaning back against the graffitied brick wall & take my hand away. Both my hands are pressed against the asphalt; tensed, trying to send some of my pain into the ground. Sheís touching the skin around the wound softly & my whole bodyís going a little tense. "This might hurt a little." Sheís looking straight in my eyes from three inches away & I want to kiss her. She puts her fingers on the sides of my head with her right thumb above the cut & the left thumb below it. I squint my eyes shut. Sheís pulling her thumbs apart & I want to scream, really scream; I never have before. I donít scream though, because I donít want to look like less of a man to her than I already do. Then I can see her again through a bloody hazy mess & she has a paper thin fiery halo two inches long wrapped around her head an inch & a half above her eyes. Behind her, presumably from out of her shoulders are these broken wings. The whole wings arenít even there. It looks as if they were cracked & then twisted off at the break to keep them from coming out of the shoulders & make her mistakable for human (leaving something to remind her of what is lost). The feathers are matted together by this pus fluid that looks like itís still leaking out of the ends of her wings. Sheís holding me still by the shoulder with her right hand & takes some fluid from her right wing with her left hand & smears it over my bleeding third eye. Everythingís black again & the painís gone. I feel her kissing my forehead where my third eye was & I open my eyes to see her neck & hair. She has these two little inch long scars on each side of her neck halfway down from the jawbone. She pulls back away & says, "Sealing it shut." She stands & lowers a hand to help me up.
I donít know what to do or say. Iím enamored with her but scared. "From the corner of my eye, you almost look human." Iím not even sure what it means; itís from some song.
Iím not sure Iíd say sheís crying, but waterís coming out of her left eye. I pull her against me to hold her, trying not to touch the wings that Iím unsure even exist. "Thank you," she whispers. Iím not sure how long I hold her.