Okay, so maybe this website was originally designed so a couple of white boys could introduce a bunch of strangers to music we thought was cooler than the lame shit that you probably listen to; and we won’t abandon that sentiment. This website was also established to commment on NEW shit, shit that’s coming out so you can find about it here first maybe, before it gets all big and popular and undesirable; well I don’t care about new things, cause lets face it–old shit is better than new shit. I mean, George Bush Sr is better than George Bush Jr (eventhough they both kinda suck), and the newest Jane’s Addiction albumm was shitty. Anyway, point is that I’m not only gonna review something that was put out in 1999, it’s not even fucking music. Is it a comic book? No. It’s a book of poetry. Do you think that’s gay? Do you think poetry is for queers and bards? Or maybe just for pretentious art students who carry around a book of Blake poetry to whip out and show off to some stupid bitch on the metro who thinks that William Blake starred in Baretta? Well, if you do think that, then tough. Poetry is cool sometimes, and this book of fucked up, quirky, googly-eyed poes should change your mind if you even cared in the first place:
Stuart Ross’s poetry is absurd. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Absurdity comes in many forms: there’s the silly Monty Python-esque absurdity, there’s the rebellious and odd Dada absurdity, and then there’s Ross’s absurdity. His is a mixture of surreal imagery, bizarre narratives, and an overwhelming sense of casual humor that allows his weird poetry to become extremely palatable. But don’t get me wrong, the “casual humor” I just mentioned does not detract from the legitimacy; Ross manages to involve and absorb the readers in his strange world and uses levity to keep them from being too uncomfortable. The Toronto poet’s second book “Farmer Gloomy’s New Hybrid” shows off his unique ability to write like an autistic gecko, and come off like a calculated genius. Is he a genius? He must be in order to convince people to take him seriously. Anyone who is twisted enough to talk about children planting pipe bombs on mechanical quarter horse rides should be shunned by society and possibly incarcerated. His genius lies in the handling of this imagery. His dark humor is kept in check by is absurd narratives, such as the image used above is in the poem “But, Mister They No Have Bowling Balls Before Christ.” The remainder of the poem talks about shelves full of products that cough in his face and mock him. After talking about his failed attempts at acquiring a bowling ball in a super market and the sight of a fainting rabbi, he “leaves empty handed.” This is the clincher, the reason this poem doesn’t slip completely into some goofy acid trip. The hopeless tone he takes with all of these cartoonish images and occurrences at the end brings you back into humanity (emotion, reality and all.) The sense of failure and consumerism is what people can relate to, but the best thing about his poetry is that his messages are not in the forefront of the poetry. The deeper meaning is covered in a pile of rotten animal carcasses and broken car parts. He uses his absurd imagery to take you away from the real but in the end you realize you never really left. He takes you on a trip, blindfolded and when you get out, after traveling for four hours, you are back where you started.
The book opens with “After The Event, But Before The Thing That Happened”, a quirky poem where he makes a list of seemingly random things he’s running from, like a legless duck, and a limp squeezebox. This sets the stage for the rest of his poetry, a long jumbled list of concepts and colloquialisms. Just like the title of this book suggests, this collection of poetry is full of dark (gloomy) imagery and motifs while combining the surreal and the mundane in an awkwardly cohesive 107-page paper-ink pastiche. The cohesion lies in his perpetual use of twisted and unusual imagery. Stuart Ross thinks up things that no clinically sane man could possibly conjure up without a secret brain tumor they were previously unaware of or some sick sexual fetish involving tire irons and leprechauns. Street cars delivering corpses, decapitated zebras, dominoes made of razor blades, fingers yelping in horror, dead rabbits hidden in jacket lining, etc.: these are just a select few images that Ross uses to drag you deeper into his world of comic decay and mutilated reality. A poem that uses this mind-warping laundry list approach is “Passed Over.” The poem follows the speaker as he rises above the earth and identifies a melting pot of human and geographical possibilities. From the “growling milkmen” and “umbrellas concealing hypodermics” to the “weeping dentists” and “devious deathclouds” he captures a dark truth about the world and compares it to a large black bug with many appendages that will travel to the desert and cannibalize. At first it just seems like senseless rambling but what seems to be buried underneath is Ross’s opinion on the state of the world.
Ross’s poetry is not all smoke and mirrors though, it is full of humorous situations and ADD tangents. In his four-line poem “Survival”, he describes wind-blown palm trees and raindrops shattering a serene lake, and then in his last line he says “The telephone rings in the next room”, taking you out of his world of pristine beauty and sends you bee-lining it back to the drab reality that is your life. Basically his poetry is a trip through his Dali-esque disfigurement of reality as we know it and gives you something so much more interesting and so much more humorous; it’s the same, but different.

so just buy this shit and try to impress your friends, but they probably hate you anyway so stop trying i guess…

(i think it might be out of print, get it at a library, its good)

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