Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Naked Myopia (& Other Poems) by Drew Bardo - Oct 26 - Loving Touch

Musician, writer, songwriter and poet, Drew Bardo has opened himself up through his work before via various formats, in song or on stage. And yet he remains a bit of a mystery. His strength has always been -the word, -both written and spoken. The poem format is both the purest delivery and comprehensive experience of his voice and talent.

With his name translating to an "in-between state" (from Tibetan Buddhism,) the writer has, through his work, embodied a vacillating, bridge-like aura.

This bridge, a moment of fleeting intersection followed by transition, from one life to the next and into a "mad experience" of rebirth, could well be the overarching motif of The Naked Myopia, (Lo & Behold! 2010) - a longtime coming debut of collected works. (available for pre-order at L&B's site)

Bardo has bridged rock n' roll to his experience in slam poetry via the bluesy "junkyard stomp" of his band The Questions and he helped bridge his own musical sensibilities to a house-band styled accompaniment to a burlesque show - but, whereas those formats had him merely poised upon "the bridge," tied to their suspension cables, the freer splay of Myopia's poetry, feels more natural, as though he has dove into the self actualizing river below, swimming the true unbridled "in-between."

"...into the great blue mystic / captured the reckless ambition / for the sake of controlling chaos and manipulating the mirrors of mystery." (Junkyard Spytactics p.41) - "Swim in the river of the absurd with me / wash my eyes blind from this mask I wear..." (Naked Myopia p.13)

Many of Naked Myopia's fifteen part introductory poem call out to the "Starry Eyed Angel of Eden..."

"...return to the womb of our existence / swallow the unborn dream."

Echoing his name's Buddhist connections, he conjures images of birth, rebirth, and fertility deities, with dreamlike verses incurring in-utero imagery. "The Naked Myopia" (opening poem) revolves around a strange love-hate relationship, a repudiate-yet-implore duel pronged calling out to this angel, who is simultaneously the "Eurydice" to his "Orpheus" and yet, also, a "passion thief" and "insatiable lover" with a "parasite tongue."

Myopia describes the "chimera of cruel fate." There is disappointment for what man has become, what man has done to this world, which results in expressed longing to transition to the next "birth." He sounds repulsed as he paints the apocalyptic imagery on display, whether across the montage pages of history or, live, daily, in front of the gas station down the street; and he bemoans the murderous greedy missteps of mankind

"...evaporating morality in wars for gold / oil for the political killing machine / strangling the pulse of our existence..."

In "Myopia," Bardo's angel is both an "executioner" and a "mystic healer."

In fact, she may be a tri-fecta: -at one end she will detach him from one existence and at the other she will purify him ("as she paints my dull canvas with sophisticated strokes") and, eventually, (thirdly,) completing the rebirth as Bardo slides out ("leaving me bare-assed / in puddles / to mirror the reflection of myself / the dying shepherd").

Through lines like these ^ Bardo's "bridging" can feel more like a see-saw. Certain circuitous lines amplify the dizzying "mirror" metaphor.

Bardo is candid about his feeling "alone and confused" and repeating a "reflection" back upon himself. He may return to childhood, via dark displays of pedophile haunting urban landscapes where prepubescent Bardo hides in refrigerator boxes from the fright of his fighting parents, or it may be more amorphous and stomach churning as he looks upon his current circumstance and his more recent past.

Many 30-year-olds could identify with such see-saw-esque transitory states:
"I've committed to death as my fathers son / so have I commit ed to life as my children's father."

But his own self-contemplation amplifies in a guttural wracking of the nerves and an overwhelming echoing of questioning; how to respond to the unnerving stare, coming back at you from the mirror.

His influences range from the vagabond poets at the fringe of Paris Salons, to the "mad to live" Beats of post-war America. His words, showing flares of romantic reverence for those lost "subterranean symphonies," are like a slow drip bleed; a tortured elegance with provacative bluntness, molded by styles and insights spanning 150 years from Rimbaud to Ginsberg, and finally up through today, ("this twentieth century strange") to galvanize his own voice. Through Myopia, he butts up against his own feelings of being "trapped by the image staring back at me in the mirror."

The bridging morphs, the reflection distorts. It becomes a mobious strip - "with death lights life / life lights with death / a fool fit for a disguise."

We return to his opening poem, calling upon the angel to "wash my eyes blind from this mask I wear..." And while he grieves over man's "breaking down nature like a silly science" and draining it's beauty "like a used condom" he, himself is painted with the mud of earthly imagery:

"cleanse my dirty water / / clean my tongue in your purified waters."

The mirror - that amorphous, clean, light reflecting, space of intersection; -

-the man looking back upon himself, the world looking back on itself-

-a thin layer between worlds that shines back -beauty and -horror equally, with earnestness.

..and through these poems, (some wallowing in despair, some seething with venom at corrupt systems, some singing out the crushed voices of hope and peace, some incurring the potential of rebirth,) it, the mirror, motivates toward transformation.

More info

Release Party - October 26th - Loving Touch (Woodward & Troy) - Ferndale

Available for pre-order

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