cover image Lost City Hydrothermal Field

Lost City Hydrothermal Field

Peter Milne Greiner. The Operating System, $18 trade paper (150p) ISBN 978-1-946031-11-2

Greiner tours a series of dystopias and alternate realities with infectious linguistic verve in his uncanny and wonderful debut. Wandering amid invented landscapes, the poet introduces such cleverly named locations as the “Topiary of Terror,” an American bar in Reykjavik, and the “Chapel of Her Divine Counterfeit Brain Tissue.” Greiner frequently asserts himself as the reluctant hero of some strange quest; for example, he must “turn over a non-leaf and lift/ the spacerock from the heart’s bitter peninsulas” in order to appease the “God of tardigrades.” In one of several excursions into prose, Greiner imagines himself living in the wreck of a cruise ship amid a perpetual hurricane; in another, he draws preposterous associative links between the lost continent of Atlantis and Mariah Carey’s Super Bowl performance of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” His ingenious metaphors include “Your gaze like steady impersonal drone footage/ [that] writes a San Andreas fault through my center.” What resonates is the collection’s vast loneliness—that of the last man on Earth roaming the countryside in search of life. What sets this collection apart from other speculative poetry, aside from its exceptional quality, is Greiner’s way of moving through time, somehow visiting both origin and culmination, the primordial and the apocalyptic, and demonstrating their interchangeability. (Oct.)