cover image Partyknife


Dan Magers. Birds LLC (, $15 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-0-9826177-7-9

With its sweaty-palmed longing and headbanging self-destruction, Magers’s debut is like a Fast Times at Ridgemont High of poetry, only faster. “I’m the Jesus Christ of making out with girls drunk,” he boasts. “I want to make love to your praise for me.” But unlike many of his wry and bantering contemporaries, Magers is just as interested in being erotically cracked as he is in cracking wise. Bitter, horny, and tired of looking for undiminished beauty in the age of information, Magers’s voice is that of a wallflower ready to lose it, the kid who listens to Slayer in his basement while daydreaming about “red on cotton violence.” And what’s scarier is he owns it: “The punk kid in the punk house laughs at the paint he wipes on my new shirt,” he writes in “Total Summer Vibe,” “but I am an insane god.” What’s fascinating about Magers emotionally is how his doggedness and grit are always built to fail. The same man that grabs us by the cheeks and tells us that his “dream is to drive a 1978 Lincoln Continental/ off Niagara Falls and scream/ WHATDOYOUTHINKOFTHAT?” is the man who kicks us out of the party on this note of defeat: “It was the beginning of tomorrow./ And today is all your life will ever be.” (July)