Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Dickhead - Wayne F. Burke (BareBack Press)

Today's book of poetry:
Dickhead.  Wayne F. Burke.  BareBack Press.  Hamilton, Ontario.  2015.

DICKHEAD_by_Wayne_F__Burke

Happy New Year Puppets!

Today's book of poetry thought about you guys every day.  We were in Toronto checking out the Aga Khan Museum, the Turner show at the Art Gallery of Ontario and a production of Kinky Boots on King Street.  It was by accident that we had lunch at Korean place called Ka Chi, it is on Dundas, one block west of the art gallery, a basement place.  Incredible.  Excellent food, excellent service and very reasonable.  It was the bomb.  Toronto really is a great city.  Hooked up with old friends, argued too much because I am an ass, drank our share of wine, came home sated on the last train out of town.  

Today's book of poetry wanted to start the new year off right so we kept Dickhead in mind.  It is a monster among us, a dangerous beast in our midst.

Dickhead by Wayne F. Burke is a great book to lead out of the gate.  Start as you mean to go on I always say.  If you read TBOP at all you know our fondness for St. Charles of Bukowski.  Burke, in no small way, reads like the best of Hank.  Dead serious, no nonsense and it feels absolutely true.

Showdown

As I lifted weights in the cellar
I listened to the floor boards overhead
creak
from the weight of my Uncle's feet;
I thought of my fist
landing SPLAT in the middle
of his fat face.
His days as boss man
were past
and he knew it too;
and one morning, in the kitchen
as I combed my hair,
which I had let grow long
he asked when
I was going to get a haircut
and I said "never"
and he flinched
like he'd been slapped
and stared
black-eyed
with the glare that used to
pin me to floor like a rabbit
but this time I glared back
and we stood
with the sun burning the roof above
and the years piled up between
us;
and then he turned his head
and with a sick smile
fled
out the door
as gutlessly
as every other bully
whoever ran.

...

No pawing the ground for grubs here, no pretense, Burke is going for the big game.  These poems power off of the page with beautiful raw energy.  But that alone is never enough - what lifts Dickhead to a more elevated plateau is that every poem Burke writes resounds like the retort of a pistol, stings like a slap to the face.

No way around it, these poems are not gentle.  They won't warm you up by the fire.  TBOP felt right at home with Dickhead.  Burke speaks our language.

Doughnuts

I got off work at 3 in the morning
after working another twelve hour shift
and I drove my car
to the P & C Market
where I turned a few doughnuts
on the ice
before I parked and
got out
and walked to the door
where some guy,
who stood looking at me
said "I don't care how old you are,
don't pull doughnuts in the lot"
and I said
"FUCK YOU"
and he blinked behind
his cock-eyed glasses
and I followed him inside
and asked if he'd heard
what I said,
but he did not reply
and I went about my shopping
too tired to
give a shit
or 
take any
either.

...

A man after my own heart.  I'm hearing poetry from the beautiful heart of the dead Bill Hicks.

And speaking of hearts, Milo and Kathryn were pretty funny this morning.  When they arrived, together, I noticed that Kathryn was wearing one of Milo's toque.  At this morning's read they made every poem in Dickhead sound like a love song.  They couldn't help themselves.

These may be love songs, but not the way my obviously lovesick interns would have you believe.  These are love songs the way a matador hums to the tiring bull.  There is nothing but hard cold steel at the end of these suckers.

8

good as winning the lottery
without having bought
a ticket;
good as watching
Ali vs: Frazier
or Army vs: Navy;
good as reading the
poetry of
Peter Jelen;
good as a Cadillac's
engine;
good as having my cock
squeezed by
Miss America.

...

Wayne F. Burke swaggers through Dickhead with such confidence you could almost resent his easy elan.  We loved it.  This is lead, follow or get the fuck out of the way stuff. 

These poems will wake you up, clear your head, knock shit around in your attic.

Wayne F. Burke

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Wayne F. Burke was born in Adams, Massachusetts and raised by his paternal grandparents. As a boy he was an All-Star baseball player, and in High School an All Class-A football player. He attended the University of Massachusetts—where he was a member of the freshman football team—and three other institutions of higher learning before graduating from Goddard College in 1979. His work history includes stints as bartender, moving man, cook, machine shop operator, sign painter, substitute school teacher, carpenter, truck driver, book reviewer (for the Burlington Free Press newspaper, Burlington, Vermont), and, for the past four years, LPN in a nursing home. His stories, essays, reviews, and poems have appeared in numerous publications. His first collection of poems "Words that Burn" was published by BareBackPress (2013). DICKHEAD is his follow up collection, which will be released June 2015.

BLURB
"A poet who takes no prisoners, pulls no punches, wastes no words and knows how to tell a good story...Burke not only has the guts to admit his part in the fractured society he makes comment on, he also has the audacity to make art out of it...A sane voice in a mad world."
     - Matthew J. Hall, Screaming With Brevity

"Burke writes with confidence, and swag...Unforgettable imagery, black humour...something in these experiences that everyone can, or will, relate to."
     - Peter Jelen, author of Impressions Of An Expatriate

"Burke is a tough young poet who, like all the rest of us, has learned some lessons from William Carlos Williams, but without imitating Williams.  Burke writes the language of where he came from and with respect for it, and more power to him."
      - Alan Dugan, Winner of The National Book Award and the Prix de Rome


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