Friday, August 13, 2010

The Gathered Bones - Michael Mc Aloran

The Gathered Bones
by Michael Mc Aloran
Calliope Nerve Media
40 pp
Calliope Nerve's storefront
chapbook review by David McLean

This little book by Irish poet Michael Mc Aloran is a marvelous set of comments on the poverty of consciousness as it faces death, decay and the fundamental exigencies of mortality and our shame before the temporary flesh.

The dregs

The filth

Burning the air like
Shredded paper

Sharded bones crackling their death
Consumed by the darkness
(from Shroud)

These poems are songs assembling our various pains and are marked by a powerful sense of hopeless anguish in the face of futural nothingness.

He leaves a

shroud of black knuckles cracking
in the vault of [the reader's] skull
(adapted from Skull)

Because it is a disgrace basically that although there will be ruins, we have no future state into which we may enter, just sullen death and terrible absence where everything about the self that actually renders it “us,” our actual consciousness, is absolutely extinguished and exists no more.

Much of poetry is premised upon religiosity. Among intelligent poets only Philip Larkin and Sylvia Plath stand as contributors to the Summa Atheologica. This is why this book is so congenial to me, it offers no consolation, there not being any, to those who regard their psyches as so perfect that they deserve survival.

And Mc Aloran uses a Bataille quote as a header to a poem. Certainly, this book is part of the accursed share, our mad expenditure of anxiety against what is perfectly natural, the excess energy that builds in this shitty society extravagantly expended in a potlatch of words offered to our own negative sensibilities. And it threatens the established at least in the sense that the alert reader may wonder about the point of going to work when

My laughter is
The fallen


And the night

Crushing my

The derelict
Silt of

My desire

Energy here is the eroticism of slow slicing, death by a thousand cuts, the bones falling regardless after, the whole chapbooks is an almost perfect set of songs from under the floorboards


The bones collapse
Breath upon flesh a trace of viscid night.

Flesh against flesh of desire

A taste of blood in the mouth
Nothingness to capture the cleft trailing winds

Through the absent skull an echoing dark light
Vibrating teeth of anguish

Ashen cries of final emptiness
The darkness clarifies

Tomb of forgotten breath

Meat of endless night in the catacombs of
Soundless dreaming

Buy it here.