SOME MANTIC DAEMONS

Garrett Kalleberg, Author . Futurepoem $12 (70p) ISBN 978-0-9716800-0-5

Conjuring a state of being in which outer and inner blur and reverse, these "daemons" examine the body as an abstractable form and treat mental powers like a set of abs: "I made a room/ out of a book and I wrote a book/ about the room." In 20 poems over four sections, Kalleberg (Psychological Corporations) calls down all manner of ancient gods and invokes a host of difficulties (and the history of ideas that fails to contain them) "until 'the author's guilt' on a Post-It note/ loses its glue." In "Beautiful Disaster," an incantatory, swirling list of apocalyptic tortures gives way to sunbeams, the taste of sea foam in the mouth—and permutes into the pain of breakup. Throughout, Kalleberg uses archaism ("I shan't say"), wry repetition ("languish/ in the languishing languish/ squish in the squishing shit") and apostrophe ("Come back!/ Come in! come in, do you read me?") to construct a "Theatre of tricks" in which mock-scientific experiments are performed on a helpless subjectivity: "I'd cut/ through artifice, tell you what I know,/ but once I made a pact to/ wear it like a skin/ like the skin of an anatomized cadaver/ anatomizing another cadaver." Taken alongside previous titles and Kalleberg's work as editor of Web journal The Transcendental Friend, this book makes an argument for aesthetic pleasure as being just as "real" as any other experience, one that takes forms that are more desirable than others, even if they lead one astray: "A daemon is called, gives up, and another/ emerges, gives his life for a cause/ and hence his sins forgiven and a place." The deeply orphic implorings of these semantic demons will convince many readers to finish the book along with the apple, if not to forgive their excesses. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 12/23/2002
Release date: 09/01/2002
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