cover image Alien Tatters

Alien Tatters

Clark Coolidge / Author Atelos $12.95 (202p) ISBN 978-1-891190

""Just kind of a nice frying person. The rest was on the latch moved over. I could just see a foot or threat of one because my head was lying on my head. A bit."" Hot on the heels of his massive group of loopy lyrics On the Nameways (Forecasts, June 5), Coolidge checks in with five long prose pieces, turning the odd tatters of language until, in a swoon, we fall squarely into his lush warp. As Coolidge writes in the afterword, he was very attentive to reportings in the papers of UFO sightings and alien abductions, and had a ""huge desire to participate somehow. If I couldn't go, then perhaps at least I might learn to speak the language, and use it to take myself further in, or out, to what?"" The long title poem, which opens the collection, takes up this theme most strongly. ""Puzzle Faces"" is framed like a discovery narrative, an air of mystery created out of the speaker's subjunctive lack of agency as he or she, lotus-eaterlike, tries to avoid panic and indecision, soon breaking down into Coolidge's idiosyncratic stand-up-parataxis comedy mode. Coolidge may not be for everyone--one has to be able to get through long works with no significant themes, linear narrative or apparent correlation with social realities to read him. For those willing to be beamed up, the trip is rife with its own peculiar pleasures, irreproducible anywhere else. (Dec.)