[words on DURING MY NERVOUS BREAKDOWN I WANT TO HAVE BIOGRAPHER PRESENT by BRANDON SCOTT GORRELL]
I just read during my nervous breakdown i want to have a biographer present
by Brandon Scott Gorrell
& for the most part, I truly enjoyed it
this book was released by Muumuu House
I don’t know how I feel abt the blown up words on the back of the book
'low self-confidence' 'alienation' 'anxiety'
I mean, it’s kind of absurdly funny
& honest at the same
these words are ‘themes’ throughout the book
but shouting them specifically on the back felt a bit ‘gimmicky’ to me
which, shld this matter?
has ‘it’ gotten to the pt where the self-conscious ‘sarcasm’ / ‘irony’ involved in this climate
allows gimmicks to exist because of their tinge of irony
anyways, maybe I’ll feel differently abt this element of the book in the future
the ‘i’ is heavy in this book
the ‘first-person’ speaker, I mean
which I personally usually enjoy
although I enjoy poets like Edward Mullany who strip themselves of the ‘I’
that can be extremely refreshing
the ‘i’ in Brandon Scott Gorrell’s poems frequently ‘takes on’ a ‘larger than life’ persona’
not in a ‘too serious’ way at all
in a very playful way
his ‘speaker’ seems very interested in ‘science’ & specifically ‘the cosmos’ & ‘physics’
'the only things i find unpredictable are quantum theory and / particle acceleration experiments'
& in several poems he ‘transcends’ ordinary limitations
or, more accurately, imagines transcending ordinary limitations
'i want to be a deer in the rock mountains of northern utah'
'i will expand / into a giant flesh thing / the size of a volcano'
'i will vaporize myself in the core of the earth'
'sit inside my head and control my body'
'fly into an infinite void and unfold into a soft, / purple aura that absorbs the solar system'
'i am a 200 year-old android fighting death spheres with a / laser eye and two soundwave devices / my soundwave technology feels like a supernova explosions at / point blank range repeatedly for millions of years'
'how I want to be a flower / incapable of cognitive dissonance'
you get the pt
often these ‘imaginings’ of transforming into these forces ends in violence
often they ‘reflect’ the speaker’s existential ‘despair’ or ‘lonesomeness’
'reflect' the speaker's restless mind
the poems speak of the Internet a lot
'the internet is a large room / with hologram people'
abt the monotony of checking the same websites over & over
abt the ephemeral but desired experience of getting a new email
there are a few ‘i said / you said’ poems in this book
essentially stripped of punctuation
usually abt the ‘i’ & ‘you’ being far away from each other
perhaps in a long-distance relationship
'i said if i could teleport to your room i would’
'i said i want to move into the internet'
the speaker seems ‘self-deprecating’
'i avoid making eye contact with myself in the mirror'
^ that line ‘killed me’
I remember stopping when I hit that line
I put the book down & thought abt the notion of not being able to look at oneself in the mirror
think abt that
despite Brandon’s deliberate ‘simplicity’ & his I-don’t-take-myself-too-seriously ‘swagger’
his very keen insight & intelligence shines through as well
like the poem ‘face annihilation’
I wrote ‘political’ next to its title
whatever that means
in this poem he references ‘homeless people’ ‘rainforests’ ‘massive shortages’ of water in ‘africa’ ‘soldiers in iraq’ ‘economy’
I usually wouldn’t like a poem that references all those things, to be honest
but I like this poem, primarily because of its shift in register
an ‘oscillation’ from the other content in the book
a similar tone though – that of a lack of pretense
in this ‘political’ poem Brandon writes:
'pharmaceutical corporations have convinced a large / number of people that they think incorrectly; that they / must take pills to change the way they think, otherwise / they will fail at work, school, and personal relationships'
the last poem made me feel sad
I’m pretty sure I literally had moisture in my eyes
but the piece is so subtle, abt a ‘john and the space alien’ having a conversation
John ends it by saying, ‘I can’t really think of anything I can do’
in response to ‘doing something’ that will help ‘them’
& it seemed so desperate yet so emotionally-charged
he has a bold frankness throughout these pieces
a fearlessness (to ‘express’ his ‘fears’ & his ‘anxiety’)
largely, this book seems to be a keen exploration of the condition of ‘the internet culture’
the ‘emptiness’ it can potentially cause
the ‘addictiveness’ of it
the reliance on it for ‘happiness’
here are my other favorite moments from the book:
'you said would you scratch my mosquito for me'
'you said the internet fell asleep'
'brandon wonders if repeating ”nothing” would help him / make his mind blank'
'your connection with yourself is stronger than my / connection with you / / forever'
'i am an organic extension of my computer's hard / drive'
'we went to a booth and had small, two sentence conversations'
'when i die my interpretation of reality will not be stored in / a usb stick'
find his book here: