“This Reality Of Man”, poetry by Michael Aaron Casares, published by Lizard’s Tale press, 2010. Reviewed by Elynn Alexander for Full of Crow.
Michael Aaron Casares takes a candid look at humanity, as an observer at times, at other times a participant. He asks us how we spend our time, what we are entitled to, what it means to live with authenticity, to be a “citizen” with responsibilities, to touch down inside our own lives in the context of the “mad swirl”. We live in a vast unknowable, without any sense of how these pieces fit together.
He doesn’t make the case that they do fit together, context being relative. He acknowledges that even he is at times scribe, at times “scribbler”.
They aren’t all related thematically, as poems that have been gathered together from various publications where they first appeared. It does create a cohesive sampling of his poetry, however, as a collection. Some of the poems are at times only peripherally political, at times they are overtly so. (Taxed Wages, Bastard Practices, Corporation And State-Kill The Bank, etc.)
Casares takes a curious view of our icons, from Jefferson to Darwin to Freud, and the intellectual act of trying to make sense of things. Should we trust them, and their conclusions? Our history books are full of lies, “history books like fiction” , and we are convinced of ideas that are biased in favor of the powerful, that perpetuate the status quo, consumption, competition…war…the convoluted messages of individualism, and “survival”, what that entails, what the goals are.
“breaking our backs to preserve a lifestyle”.
“believing our foundations steady”.
In his poems, Casares is often concerned with the regular person, the citizen victim, the powerless, and the relationship with the State and the Corporatocracy. He takes aim at the banks, at international monetary policy, at the war economy. But they aren’t all political, they are also about the self in search of meaning, purpose, connection. The role of the poet, the recorder, the celebration of regular people, and regular things.
…no slinging slang to
correlate the vernacular with the layman
We will discover the tempered beauty of history on this fictional bus ride,
this mind-myth produced
Pulsars sweeping through the sky,
I become the sun of distant system
far away wanting nothing more than to warm
your life. Visible hadrons in the sky, naked
to the distant eye cannot see what hopes
and dreams are locked inside my heart. Expand,
I breathe deep with cosmic lungs the dust of stars,
inhale the swarm, fragmentary like eclipsing
planets of the sun. Light is fractured into shards
and melt into thin clouds, glowing, emanate
celestial swans with twinkling eyes and dazzling tongues.
Whisper far sweeps swift into this space, gregarious
place of mild chatter hearth with heart deep warmth
inside, pulsing, beaming, still alive.
Eyes are missing, because they choked
on these they drowned. The
celestial wind breathes softly
longing for my brothers.
Michael Aaron Casares is based in Austin, Texas, where he runs and independent press called Virgogray and an online poetry blog called Carcinogenic Poetry. The cover art is his work as well.