Opera Bufa by Adam Fieled
(Otoliths, Rockhampton Queensland, 2007)
What to say about Adam Fieled? What to say about someone writing the way he does? What to say about a book of 60 prose poems, or is it one prose poem in 60 parts? Does it really matter? Does it matter when the fourth poem (or is it part, or even chapter?) lights these fireworks?
The principle of sufficient reason has pinned
you to a mattress and is coming inside you.
You are a plantation officer after the lost war.
Your cache of black carnations marks out a no-
fly zone, bloody scalps of third wheels. You
see how richly layered you are, but frosting is
You might say he works in a fiel(e)d of his own. Somewhere between the opera & the carnival. Somewhere between the romantics & Jello Biafra, who are not very far apart by the way. Somewhere between you & your mind, usually very far apart indeed. Wedged between a gang of bodhisattvas & one of anarchists with round black bombs in their hands. In strictly literary terms he has mapped out an area between the traditionalists & the so called experimentalists. But. Isn't every poem an experiment? Don't we all ask upon beginning a poem if this will work?
The one above works, at least to this reader, splendidly, with the first sentence pulling me in to this shoddy room & this principled clinical, no love made here, intercourse (missionary, of course) so devoid of passion you go back to formally colonial times in the second sentence, out of boredom.
Or as Maria Callas says at the beginning of #50. You spent forty-seven poems looking for me. You were talking in expansive, fluorescent, Crayola circles.
To which the reaction is
All I can say is, I remember
poundings and baseball cards and tons of
bricks. I remember daftness and deftness
disappearing. I remember gum, bruises,
abusing ice cubes. I know that I had to dream
an opera to really sing. I know I had to dream
singing to really write. As for fluorescence,
those crayons were always my favorites
anyway. If the color is off, it's because my set
collapsed, if not into nullity, then into
plurality. I remember a city and a story. I am
many stories up.
If Maria is happy with that we are not told. She changes the subject in the next poem/part/chapter.
& so will we.
There are several tons of bricks placed in these pages, the first one in #31. One wonders what they are doing there. Unless they are descriptive of the poem(s). Which wouldn't be entirely unreasonable. Because the musical tradition that lurk in my mind upon reading Opera Bufa isn't so much opera as an old thrash metal band like Metal Church who, by the way wrote a song called Ton of Bricks the end of which I will use to end this review, after recommending you seek this book out
do you have a clue
to what I'm gonna do?
I'm gonna stop
Lars Palm apparently sometimes writes reviews. his most recent poetry publications are some hay (Meritage Press Tiny Book no. 5, 2007), ten poems in the latest issue of Otoliths & (biotech), say (what?) a long poem in PFS Post. he has plans for the future, they involve translations &, hopefully, cats. just so you know.