These are gritty poems that draw attention to urban life’s tendency to fold beauty and death together so thoroughly that they become indistinguishable, and Rage’s own self-image is predominantly upheld by art and pain. Her observations are raw and resolute, yet when she describes the humid metropolis as a “dishrag of particulate // matter imitating a fogged up // bathroom” in #72 or writes “I am alive // an alcoholic // in an arrested state of decomposition”, her commitment to realism is an act of devotion for her city, her body, and her agonizing, precious life.
That brutal honesty skewers even the most introspective moments, as when Rage laments her body turning against her in #26: “I know it spends a lot of time // plotting further ingenious // ways to bring about // my untimely miserable // totally unglamorous // demise”. In their weightiness, Rage’s poems extend beyond the boroughs of New York City and inhabit American urban life across the continent, holding a mirror up to the world itself. It is a ghastly world from Rage’s perspective, but a brilliant one too, with beauty and cruelty operating in tandem and compelling humanity to “ride and ride // and never get off”.
Takeaway: Charles Bukowski, William S. Burroughs.
Comparable Titles: Seething, subversive collection exposing the sludge of urban life.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-