Because I did not die
in the log cabin where I was born
I shoulder the Green Mountains
everywhere I go, breathing best
when the leaves turn to flame.
Gunmetal Blue is a book after my own heart. Full of unapologenic apologies and “yes-I-know-who-I-am-thank-you’s,” Jason Allen’s new book with Jane’s Boy Press is a fun, thoughtful read through a small slice of scars and blood and love. If you have ever thought that modern poetry is too watery and easy to digest, without grit and reality, too “wonderbread” and milk, too haughty, this is a book to show you that doesn’t have to be true.
I will always be the white trash kid,
the dirt-poor little shit who stumbled
into smart-kid classes in hand-me-down
sneakers and odd-fitting pants, the wrong
haircut, curses my only adjectives.
Blunt to the point of the poem’s comfort, not yours, in almost every line of every poem. Allen’s prosey (don’t care if that’s a word or not) take on the realest parts of life is light enough to keep you reading, but dark enough to keep you interested.
I am the smell of this morning coffee,
attached to sunlight over an hourglass,
There are “gem lines” in every poem. Including every line of the title poem. This poem is haunting and riveting and I have read it twenty-five times or more without it losing the punch it gave me the first time I read it. With lines like,
My back cracks when I sit up
and shake off the dream of a dead man
this is a perfect lens to view the entire collection (although the very next poem is about discovering sex by seeing Deborah Harry on The Muppet Show…trust me, somehow it works). This is an un-mannered collection that respects you for reading it, a worthy read on any level that made me want to drink three pots of coffee with the author (until the blood thunders through my brain) and find out what the next book will be done so I can read it asap.