Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Tommy Pico, JUNK

Frenching with a mouthful of M&M’s dunno if I feel polluted
or into it – the lights go low across the multiplex Temple of

canoodling and Junk food A collision of corn dog bites and
chunky salsa to achieve a spiritual escape velocity Why am I in

this cup holder? B/c yr bubbly, dummy But I feel squeeze cheese
uneasy In Fagootland coupling is at best delicate precarious &

rarefied Eggshells At worst, a snipe hunt Love in the time of
climate change Should I be nervous? No, it’s too dark in here

for that There’s light and ascreen & our moon faces, reflecting
This is an epic, dummy Get yr muse Hail Janet Jackson, patron

saint of Eternal Utility but Selective Relevance I whisper Feed-
back, feedback into the bedding Usually when you gag it’s bc

something needs to come out So it strikes me as funny ha ha
funny to gag while trying to stuff someone’s whole Junk in

Brooklyn poet Tommy Pico’s third poetry title is the book-length accumulation/epic JUNK (Portland OR/Brooklyn NY: Tin House, 2018), following on the heels of IRL (Birds LLC, 2016) [see my review of such here] and Nature Poem (Tin House Books, 2017) [see my review of such here]. In JUNK, Pico’s lyrics move at the speed of thought, from point to point, furthering and accumulating and intricately-wrapped in observation and a sharp wit. JUNK exists as cultural critique, meditation and examination via a language that revels in making the familiar strange, twisting and turning, and including a legion of references, from Cindy Crawford and another #BadSelfie to the Indian Removal Act and Japanese Internment Camps, reveling in a perspective that is energized, politically aware and impossibly contemporary. Throughout the poem, Pico utilizes “junk” as tether, mantra, throwaway and a series of central images, set as a core to the swirling poem that surrounds. “This is where // you come to lose yrself and This is where I feel extra jagged / Junk not immediately useful but I’m still someone I can’t stop // lookin at ppl’s Junk generally so u can imagine how hard it is / at the gym [.]” In keeping with his previous work, the language of JUNK leans into a language of short-form, utilizing the language of text messages, composing a poetry that lives and breathes in an age of social media hashtags and abbreviations. Why, one wonders, aren’t more writing with this language with which so many communicate?

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