Some Birds Walk For The Hell Of It. C. R. Avery. Anvil Press. Vancouver, British Columbia. 2014.
For sheer step on the mother-bleeping gas excitement you'll be hard pressed to find a better ride than C. R. Avery's Some Birds Walk For The Hell Of It.
C. R. Avery is obscene, unruly, rude, over-bearing, condescending and more fun than finding money in your wallet you didn't know you had.
Avery packs an intense and intelligent dynamic energy into everything he machine gun rat-a-tat-tats onto the page.
Left the desk in the spare room
to be ravaged by a handsome scholar.
Unavoidable heat-score writes his graduate thesis
on the back of non-refundable train tickets.
Sitting by Mrs. Old Age
to talk 'bout everything
all at once
in 1956 monologue.
Sad wet dog,
still curious, wagging her tail
as we leave the station,
the toothless outlaw still hanging from the noose.
A reminder to locals and visitors alike:
an owl can turn its head clockwise
but its wings are criminal in these here skies.
Spare rooms are most attractive
when you arrive and as you leave.
As I grabbed my suitcase
your desk played a silent note,
like a diamond earring dangling from a peasant girl
pretending to be a princess
or a TV on mute
glowing with the historic images
of those black leather pioneers of rap
or a photograph of my grandfather, who I never knew.
Hard to imagine having more glee reading a book of poems than I've had tackling Avery. I read a few of these poems out loud to the office minions. There were gasps and gulps, much laughter. One of our interns ran into the bathroom and locked the door.
The New Messiah
Any guy who says "Divine Blessings" to the line cooks
in a passive baby-lamb voice
as he leaves a restaurant,
so two girls can overhear him sounding like a bearded shaman,
a Reiki-messeuse, the new Messiah,
deserves to have a donkey take a shit in his mouth.
When Avery starts rocking there can't be anything else worth looking at. These hyper-active, zoomed-in-focus, dead heat inducing missives really can be blistering good.
That and Avery has one hell of a sense of humour. He doesn't take much seriously, including himself.
There were longer poems that begged to be reprinted here and I almost took the bait. But these short poems are teaser enough.
Do They Play Zoombie Zoo?
I asked my long-time guitar player,
"What was the big-paying gig the rhythm section got,
that they'd rather do than play mainstage at South Country Fair?"
"You're not going to believe this, but they joined a Tom Petty
cover band, it kinda broke my heart."
"Well," I replied, "they're heartbreakers now."
Some Birds Walk For The Hell Of It is Dylan's electric guitar, John's Yoko, Sylvia with her head in that oven and the mournful voice of an aging Gordon Lightfoot all compiled on the razor's edge of a knife being juggled for your amusement.
Then C. R. Avery throws the knife at you.
And any poet who gallants Bill Hicks is always going to be a pal of mine.
C. R. Avery
C.R. Avery was born in Smith Falls, Ontario in 1976. He has released seventeen albums, written and directed three musicals that have been produced in New York, L.A, Seattle and San Francisco. Avery has toured ruthlessly throughout North America, Europe, and Australia with his rock & roll punk ensembles, hip-hop circus’s with 12-bar blues high kicks, and his infamous string quartets and burlesque revues. Some Birds Walk for the Hell of It is his third book of poetry. He presently resides in East Vancouver’s Little Italy neighbourhood.
"First there were the Beats...then there was Hunter S. Thompson...now there is C. R. Avery."
Luke Starr, Kruger Magazine, UK
"A cultural magpie who's impossible to pigeon-hole"
David Kidman, Net Rhythms Magazine
"Birdcage" by C. R. Avery