“But a cat is any cat
a block away. I came into the world
bloody & I will leave it feral.”
– John Allen Taylor
John Allen Taylor’s newest collection, Unmonstrous, is brutal, feral, honest, and unapologetically blunt about all that life throws our direction. It’s rare to read a piece that so beautifully captures the anger, emotions, beauty, and need for survival while trying to navigate all the evils of the child-to-adult journey.
There’s quite a bit of Plath strewn throughout Taylor’s style. The talk of hospitals, and the hating of carnations, and the bleakness of waiting and wondering when the next nurse will come by for another stick-and-poke. There are pieces that remind me of my favorite line from Plath’s “Tulips”:
“I am nothing; I have nothing to do with explosions.”
John Allen Taylor is not here to wallow in the past, but rather to grab it by the metaphoric, and sometimes quite literal, balls, and remind us of why it’s always important to learn from our history.
Much like there was an ever present beauty in the hopelessness of Plath, there is an ever present longing for beauty to come from the darkest parts of life. In Taylor’s own words, “My sternum becomes stone. You bring the mallets, the chisels, the picks. Let’s unearth me from myself”.