Walking wearily into the house, the work day now over with a fervent wish to merely relax and recharge, I poured a cup of some well deserved coffee before taking my position on the long worn sofa. Black dress shoes voiced annoyance as they fell from foot to floor, while tightly embracing cloth relinquished its professional death grip when pulled from torso, thus creating a sense of peace. It was at this time that my eyes spied The Slip by Michael Montlack.
by Michael Montlack
Poets Wear Prada, October 2009
Poets Wear Prada, October 2009
soft cover/saddle-stiched/32 pages
$10 ( S&H $1.50)
I received his chapbook from a mutual friend and had the privilege of hearing him read on more than one occasion, opening the book my eyes transcribed word to psyche and I found myself drifting though a linear time stream of my life and similar occurrences, and I smiled. I, myself am a gay writer and Community organizer, and such poems as “Boy Witch," "Christopher’s Mother," "Brothers and Sisters," and "Didn’t You get the Memo” awoke slumbering memories of past events, and relationships. Enlightening me as to the inner strength I must have possessed when refusing to negate myself and my individuality, as well as the strength of my family and friends in their support of me.
Utilizing his humor, with such poems as “Vanity Smurf”, I saw many a Fire Island acquaintance reflected in his written mirror of type, yet while following the verbal maze of clarity and confusion to clarity back to confusion through the intricate play on words in the poem, “Gertrude you had Alice, But I had him (so briefly) and now we don’t even talk,” I felt like I was a newbie Suduko player with no grasp of the concept of the game, only to complete the board and question how on earth I succeeded.
In “Didn’t You Get the Memo”, I must admit a mischievous grin did take my face in envisioning a gay strike encompassing goods and services and a world where artistry and craft were left to the heterosexual masses. Where as "Christopher's Mother", shows everyday dysfunction and judgment issues which change over time to acceptance in the matters of being gay, only to be replaced by judgment of the "normal sons". My favorite piece in this collection however is that of "The Mythology of Death," it speaks of heartache and loss, while addressing the "what if?" aspect, and relates to the metaphor "You can paint a broken fence, but its still a broken fence," it leads one to ponder the second chance, and the pain that one would endure yet again if the path leads you to the same end.
When critiquing others, it is often my rationale that if an artist's expression is conveyed, then his goal has been met. In poems where upon the reader may not directly connect, its is not always the flaw of the writer as for if an experience is not shared, it can most certainly be appreciated, but will never invoke the same emotion of loss, heartache, happiness and or sorrow. I can honestly say I did not feel disconnected from Mr Montlacks collection of poems. I find that many of his works connect with the reader on the interpersonal level and that most can relate through similar life episodes; be they straight, gay, male or female. This is extremely evident in "Boy Witch" where one can see where the conditioning or roles are enforced, even if it means the sorrow of more than one individual.
Kevin G. Wisher received his fine arts education at School of Visual Arts and New York's Fashion Institute of Technology. He is currently working on his PhD in Nursing Education with a minor in Forensics. He is a staff writer for Population Arts Merge and was awarded Pride Alliance of Long Island's Diva with an Ink Sword award. He is a GLBT activist and served as the director of Outreach for PALI (Pride Alliance of Long Island). He curates the Rainbow Readings at Pisces Cafe in Babylon, Long Island and helped organizes the music and arts festival known as Out In Sayville. He often writes under the pseudonym Edweena Scoot-a-which.