Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Microreviews: Bryan Borland's "Less Fortunate Pirates" and Aaron Smith's "Appetite"
Bryan Borland's Less Fortunate Pirates is available through Sibling Rivalry Press.
In a way, Aaron Smith's second full-length book collection, Appetite, is essentially a repackaging of his very fun, wonderful chapbook Men in Groups. This choice to make Appetite an extension of the chapbook rather than create something entirely new yields a limitation or two. A few of his additions feel dated: "The Problem with Straight People (What We Say Behind Your Back)," for instance, deals with gay rage, detailing the almost comic transcriptions of his friend's thoughts: "Brandon on the phone: We should start straight bashing. Find an asshole straight guy and beat him with a bad,/ fuck him in the ass." The centerpiece of the book consists of a prosaic litany of his favorite parts of movies. It lasts eight pages; he sometimes relies on the easy joke: "I love the part in Watchmen where Patrick Wilson is naked. I love the part in Hard Candy where Patrick Wilson is naked. I love the part in Passengers where Patrick Wilson is naked." The most memorable ones contain, to his credit, the most gutsy, depraved humor: "My friend Matt admitted he jerked off to the rape scene in The Accused: 'I knew she wasn't really being raped, and that one guy had a nice ass.'" The flat deadpan here works great. There are no apologies; Smith is good at being thoughtless and mean. It's his self-conscious that can from time to time deflate his own comic set-ups. A few of best poems here do come from the chapbook: "Diesel Clothing Ad (Naked Man with Messenger Bag)), "Fat Ass," and "Hurtful." With this book-length collection, you have to hunt around for them a little bit, rather than in the chapbook, they would pop up almost immediately. There's nothing anorexic about a chapbook; it can be a beautiful thing in and of itself.
Aaron Smith's Appetite is available through University of Pittsburgh Press.