grave2.jpgIf you are a Todd Moore fan you will enjoy Gary Goude, and vice versa. Goude’s poems are cut-throat, matter of fact images about those who live trapped in the everyday horror of the human condition. Goude is an outlaw poet, and by that I mean he’s been places a lot of readers may rather not go. He also uses an economy of words, in the style of Moore. You may imagine through his poems that he has probably woken up next to the train tracks more than once in his life. Like Moore, he has lived hard and close to the bone.

two poets fit perfectly together in this outstanding chap, which includes a color cover image taken from the film Reservoir Dogs. Goude takes us through the depths with tight lines: “I believe in the destruction/of everything man has touched and created,” (‘I Just Sit & Wait’); and from ‘The Bitter Life:’ “your teeth will begin to fall out/one by one/ your dreams will haunt you/with visions of ex wives/faces of your children/memories of dead love. Welcome to Hell.”

This is definitely not poetry one might read while sipping herbal tea in the garden. This is blood and guts writing while living in a world full of humans and rats, with not much distinction between the two. The 2nd half of the book will not be disappointing to long time readers of Moore. If you light a match the poem will have ended, but the scent will linger in the air and you may feel like you narrowly escaped having your flesh singed. Moore’s section is entitled: “Lost in America,” and he is speaking for the forgotten: ‘benny always:’ “ask benny what the war was like/benny smiled/sd what war/then tapped his temple/steel plates/no pictures in my head.”

Each poem he writes is a unique story, a flash, a quick movie, a jarring of the senses, unforgettable. Moore has by now mastered the long poem (“Dillinger,”), and no one else can deliver a short poem like he does. I prefer to read his shorter poems, but no matter the length, the delivery is always clean, sharp, delivered with dangerous style. I also like the inclusion of old black and white movie posters in this chap. by Victor Schwartzman

Gary Goude is a machine shop worker in Los Angeles. He’s also a Vietnam vet. And he happens to write the most gut-wrenchingly real poetry you’ll have read since the death of the originator of blood and guts poetry Charles Bukowski, who interestingly enough, found an audience among the uppity poetry folks when he was first published in the NYQ back in the early ’70s. Well, folks, Gary Goude is the new Bukowski. His stuff is about the real everyday hell we all go through. He is an every man. Married. Divorced. On the outs with one son and now the other. He can’t maintain a a relationship with a woman. He has few friends. His trust in his fellow man all gone. And he self medicates with alcohol. He’s nearing 60 and his words should be read by everyone who can’t stand regular, dull, lifeless, having nothing to do with anything poetry, you know, the flowery bullcrap that makes no sense and means even less than the next word out of President Bush’s mouth.

Also, his interview in this issue is his attempt to plead the case for a better poetry product, one that is of and for the people and not the green hedge blocked view of the campus poets, the dull bark of a human shells sitting at a machine knocking out their latest volume of poetry gunk, that won’t be read, that won’t sell a single volume but will be hailed by the New York Times book critics as the best poetry anyone, even the cellar dwellers like us, can and should read. BUNK. Gary Goude is the man people should be reading. You’ll identify with his short, understandable rips on ex-wifes, the job, the life of hell we all exist in and survive through…and for what, we don’t know. And neither does Goude. But we know a fellow survivor when we read him and Goude is a survivor and an artist who can chew it up and spit it out better than anyone you’ve read since Bukowski left this green Earth for poetry readings alongside Jesus H. Christ. byRobert W. Howington