Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Michael Mc Aoran Un-sight/ Un-sound review

Micchael Mc Aloran
Un-sight / Un-sound
130 pp. gnOme books
review by David Mclean

The latest by Michael Mc Aloran is one of his better works. It also treats abortion & the shit-smeared eyes as its subject matter, it tells of the deficiencies of structure & the empty that is not waiting, but always already here,

Francis Bacon is quoted as nothing that we are always a potential corpse, a dead thing, which is the glory of meat, it might always just as well be me. This is not an invitation to some limp-wristed condemnation of the cruelty of butchers, it's a good thing. The eternity of our condition as possible corpses should be relished. People who are of a “spiritual” bent should not read Mc Aloran (& it is sheer politeness that makes me call them “people”).

Mc Aloran's project is to reveal the terrible tenacity of words that stubbornly persist in meaning when we deliberately set about using them as weapons to torment the angelic cadavers strewn about where the happy holiday camps of the mindlessly grinning flowers & summer brigade used to poison the mind. These corpses would praise their feculent gods when they weren't busy raping children. For some reason writers like Michael Mc Aloran (or myself) are accused of being nihilists, usually by people who only have a tenuous grasp of what the word “nihilism” actually means.

i cannot say what Mc Aloran means with this book, it always strikes me as the mark of an arrant dickhead to explain what a literary writer means, but the text questions the possibility of assenting to any given meaning, of believing.

Words, we are told, are “like abandoned pissoirs”. Around us should be silence. All the words that are spoken, that are repeated on the TV with all the insane arrogance of a defective child screaming in an asylum, all these words are empty if they are not used like weapons, like whips to thrash corpses.

Daniel Dennett said that all philosophers want to find the perfect argument, one that would work as a weapon, that would set up a vibration in the mind that would kill an opponent who failed to assent to it. I don't know about Mick, but I feel that the perfect poem would be one that instantly made all the fatuous “flowers, sun & summer” motherfuckers instantly commit mass suicide.

Probably never going to happen, I don't think they read very much outside of Fakebook, but this book is on the right path. I can strongly recommend it.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Clockwise Cat 29

There is a new issue of the Clockwise Cat up again, the pussy open for business at its new improved site.

The verse is here, with some by me in it.

I was evidently busy, in some sense, & there are five reviews

Alison Ross.

Michael Mc Aloran.

Puma Perl.

Reuben Wooley.

Wolfgang Carstens & Janne Carlsson.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Mung Being

There's a new Mung Being out, it's themed "celebration", whatever that is. Four poems by me at this link.

Friday, September 26, 2014


Much thanks to Felino Soriano, the first issue of Of/with is out. There's a poem by me in it. It's a great new zine.

On another note, my next book from Oneiros Books is out very soon, the proof soon to be sent. It's called Zara & the ghost of Gertrude, & is inspired by that Stein person, although she is neither a philosopher nor a character in a horror franchise. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mung Being

Happy to say that the para-penultimate Mung Being will include four poems by me. Here is a link to my older work there.

Friday, August 29, 2014


Googling myself out of insane vanity I was chuffed to see those, submitted many moons ago with a photoshopped picture. Bio hugely out of date as well. But anyway, here they are, in ITCH magazine.

Anyhow, buy a book or something. weekends are boring, so you know you want to.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Puma Perl - "Retrograde"

Puma Perl
Great Weather for Media
128 pp.
review by David McLean

This is Puma Perl's second full length collection of poetry. Moving backwards through memory, but not getting worse, as the title might imply. I am assuming that it is not used in the medical sense or the original astrological sense, but maybe in the musical sense, of imitation, or the metamorphosis of organs in botany that assume the appearance of those outside surrounding them. As I remember, in Tristram Shandy the word is used just to mean slow or remiss. Maybe Puma feels her pen has been “a little retrograde” - having written all these things after the event.

The book is for those who do not wake up screaming, but wake up wanting to scream.

Some things the writer relates to belong to what one might call “modern love”:

I know you don't love me anymore.
Your text message was in small letters.
It used to be uppercase.


Everybody knows about caps and computers. The use of caps is not good. A man who writes all in uppercase is not to be trusted, he may be an ax-murderer. & Puma is brave enough to mention Failbook in a poem, the consummate circle jerk for morons where I, along with everybody and his/her grandmother, greedily and gratefully participate. It is a world where people fake orgasms even when they masturbate, and where Puma is one of the very few who actually write poetry that deserves to exist on paper.

One good thing about Puma is that her poetry doesn't particularly remind the reader of anybody else and is never reluctant to refer to popular culture, she even refers to writers from the Facefuck emptiness, which may restrict the book's appeal if potential readers don't know who they are. But this happens relatively seldom, and most of the references are to people like Nico, and there's no excuse for not knowing who she is.

The poems in the book span everything from years of addiction, long ago, to the now where there are “social media” and cell phones. It is a a world where “it is always sometimes, never forever”: as it has always been, it's just a world where it is more glaringly obvious. The poems are both psychologically insecure and artistically secure:

I am a broken basket.
Don't put your eggs in me

(p. 106)

The poems are written with exact confidence, however:

Do not believe
my spoken word,
read my scarred
letters, they crawl
down my arms
like predators.

(p. 31)

Puma asks if the life was all worth it, all the problems and anxiety, just for some poems.
runaway dogs
dead kittens
dark glasses
splintered mind
broken windows
purple dress
bare feet
cold linoleum
patched jeans
ripped shirts
burnt years
welfare cheese
dirty decades
stolen checks
lost kids

was it worth it
just to write
some fucking poems?

(pp. 121f.)

If you buy the book at Amazon,, then I'm sure you'll agree. Well, yes, it was. We do not find ourselves by worrying and reflecting on the “self” - we find ourselves by thoughtfully engaging with our world – and this is what Puma does here, she paints the being wherein she lives.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Reuben Woolley - "the king is dead"

The king is dead
Reuben Wooley
Oneiros Books
review by David McLean

we are all

we have ever been. print on pages
are survivors
out of context. it is all there is
& we have caused too much pain
I burn the past
in making it & the future
is none of my concern.

Reuben Wooley’s new book, his debut collection from Oneiros Books, is a collection of poems that detail the plight of the individual as s/he responds to the fatuity of the vocabulary that repeats itself through her/him. Everywhere where statements have been made and unnecessarily preserved in some psyche a king has died. These deadbeat decedents have constituted the warped psychologies of the young.

I will not say “existential” in this review – sadly I am excluded from suing the word since I know precisely what it means in its many affiliated uses. The word, like “phenomenology”, may only be used in reviews of poetry by people who do not know what it means in most of its formal usages, they know it as a straw to which one may desperately clutch. This exclusion, however, should always be borne in mind. For all the dead kings were pedants, too.

they took meaning from us. all
these words are just
empty hieroglyphs
to play with. I hear you
so sound exists. no song
the music stutters
but cannot end
repetition does not hold
our attention is on
burlesque dancers
who forgot to can

This is a poem called “theft”, in its entirety. And the question of course arises as to the identity of the accused, the general they. Is it the dead king(s), is it teachers, parents, politicians, priests, psychiatrists, any of those who are ill-disposed to the children we have been? Or is it just the words that may not say anymore? And here I surreptitiously cite myself. Because this is how identification works when it comes to poetry; the emptiness of the words in the sense of a missing hidden true meaning means that we insert our own interests.

Like the poem of modalities, potentia summa, since summa potestas is an obvious way of saying “god2, the sum of power qua potential is not god, but zero, and zero does not even indicate the void – it is a placeholder, nothing with which to trouble ontologies.

In Reuben’s poetry the focus is not the existentiell, as is the case with the poems generally referred to by the forbidden word – nor is the focus indicated by the word that I have chosen to forbid myself, stubbornly refusing the inevitable misunderstandings. The focus is the godless psyche as it meets the ontic and tries to achieve the happy, and it is how this may be in fuck, flames and farting. Not to raise a dead finger to some holy wind to see if you are forgiven.

Buy these poems in their book, they are songs the meat might say in order to be free.  It’s on sale here:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Alison Ross - Clockwise Cats

Clockwise Cats
Alison Ross
chapbook review by David McLean
Fowlpox Press, 2014, 14 pp.

Alison Ross’ new short chapbook is exquisite work. The poems are visual and depict a surreal landscape, drowned in dusk and darkness, like a painting by MirĂ³, since MirĂ³ is the theme of the book and Alison would like to live in one his painting. I suppose she might holiday in a Cure video, maybe even have nightmares there.

The poems are lucid and to the point, as

The hours rain down
like soft sparkling skulls.
The children catch them on their tongues,
eat them like they’re stars,
and become illuminated time

The poems all point to a more precise realization of the real. By showing how the twilight is time exploding into fat spiders who become fat and replete on the darkness before shriveling like lazy vampires under the cunning cruelty of the coming sun, the reader will be brought to understand the foul essence of temporality, unless she is only reading for the cat references.

There are few poems here, and they are enough. The book rewards rereading, and, like all decent poetry, will contribute to taking away your ontological blindness, or, at any rate, do your myopia no end of good. 

Here is the book of the clockwise crepuscular, whether to gaze at vacantly or steadfastly to purchase: