Dark Brandon

Brandon Downing, Author . Faux Press $15 (103p) ISBN 978-0-9765211-1-2

Nothing in Downing's The Shirt Weapon (2002), which offered a highly accomplished, thornily insouciant verse, prepares one for this glossy black book, which purrs and reflects like a highly polished Mercedes that may or may not have machine guns in the trunk. It's dark, all right, and buff: "his disc breasts/ Taped down, like the King of Heaven's," the speaker doesn't so much articulate as outtalk the "pious shadow of a stocky planet's soliloquy." He does so by drawing on the major medium of representation of the last 100 years; jokingly categorized as "Poetry/Cinema Studies," the book in fact invents a new kind of ekphrasis for the moving image. Of the 50 or so poems, about half are titled after movies and utilize a combination of first person and quotation that seems to speak simultaneously to and from the films, putting the reader, uncomfortably, on-screen and in the chair all at once. The result, over the course of the book, is a brilliant self-portrait in a convex display. It's hard to quote quickly, but suffice to say that there is no other book quite like this one, "a handprint puddle leading to my blissfully angry remains." (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 08/15/2005
Release date: 01/01/2005
DVD-Video - 978-1-934639-05-4
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