REVIEW: MOTEL OF OPPOSABLE THUMBS – STUART ROSS (ANVIL PRESS)

Do you remember
me? Dad, has the earth done things to
your brain so now you don’t remember?
Mom? The earth has had you for so much
longer. And, Owen, I’m twelve years
older than you ever were. I want you
to know I’ll never forget you, but I
can’t go on writing poems about you.


from “You Three, With Stones Upon Your Heads”

It’s easy to get trapped in a series of oft-odd poetry with awkward syntax, and lines that just don’t always line up. This, afterall, is a key feature of Stuart Ross’ poetry. If you’re not looking for the “serious” then you probably won’t find it here; however, if you are looking between the lines, and really reading what Ross is saying in Motel of the Opposable Thumbs, then you are in for an eye-opening journey through a life of misremembered moments, and hopes that maybe you’ll take these words for what they are – honest.

It’s a reminder that not everything is immediately important, but if you take a look at the smaller details, and find yourself inside the everyday world, you want to remember that “if you double a bubble / you will have two bubbles / but this information isn’t worth / a pile of rubble.” We don’t always want what we find, but we are often the reason we’ve found ourselves there.

Not everything works out for everyone, but we are the straw that stirs the drink. We are the reason for our own rational. Ross spends a lot of time writing poems for people. It’s almost as if each person checked in and out of the motel, and written their stories inside the guest book. Because, afterall, who are we if not a short story. So, “Soon we will / meet in the place we agreed on in a dream / you’ve confused with a best-selling novel. / You are concerned about readership.” Maybe, just maybe, you’re concerned with the wrong things.

Purchase your copy of Motel of Opposable Thumbs from Anvil Press.

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