cover image Palm Trees

Palm Trees

Nick Twemlow. Green Lantern (, $15 trade paper (80p) ISBN 978-0-9884185-1-6

Twemlow’s debut thrums and jitters its way through late-capitalism America with a voice that can feel holy and scary as hell at once. Though he may search for the ecstatic in his workplace doldrums and “the lone gunmen” who “sync their watches,” Twemlow reaches his fever pitch by way of associative bleeds and jumps. “Last night,” he writes in “Glycerin Folio,” “watching you walk/ through the clearing smoke,/ glass pebbling your arm, I was so proud./ Proud to say that I don’t know/ you anymore, or never did, or never/ will. You’re welcome here anytime.” This blend of pride, dementia, and self-disagreement is placed under further duress in the book’s title sequence, a 21-poem toast to the maddening splendor of everyday life, in which “the war is happy to be alive” and Twemlow recalls with remove and numbness “the last thing I remember before I left Kansas was how easy it was to forget I was there.” It’s rare to see a poet celebrate our contradictions like this. You might want to sing for joy when “your bourbon’s/ warmed to a nosebleed,” even if you don’t know whether that’s sadness or mirth. (Apr.)