Ideal Machine by Ashley Toliver

in future rites I lay down

on the operating table

glassy and overdue

The look and feel of these poems is something I love about poetry in general. Normalcy go out the window when you have a point to make. The real world is subjective in these lines, just like it is in real life. I had fun figuring out the puzzle this book is.

he wants to break the glass

casing on the firm grace-thump from the bulb

I will not try to copy the margins and spaces that are so masterfully placed on the page in this collection. I tried, and failed miserably. My computer was baffled, I was a drooling stump of a technophobe. That isn’t to say this is an overly complicated collection, just that both my computer and I are too old to do it. This is not only an imageFEST, but a driving, immodest work.

dear ophthalmologist

your hands wag the story I cleave to

There is a core of oak here. A tall, strong, unflinching feeling that you can’t escape. Every time I read it, I was impressed by the seamless stitching of topics that seemed impossible until they were right in front of me and the rigid forms that always added to the moment. These poems aren’t waiting for you.

I lean out over the bridge let you fall and burst

I place the nickel in your mewling mouth

don’t remove it

When a poet hears or reads a great line, the usual first thought is “Damn, I should have/wish I had written that.” I found myself, and other poets I read the poems to, saying that very thing very often. This chapbook made me feel smarter for having understood parts, and understood that I wouldn’t understand everything right now because it is smarter than me, but not in a bad way. It handed me the knowledge to understand that.

Purchase your copy of Ideal Machine at Powell’s Books.