Monday 24 October 2016

Review of McCarthy (Flat Singles)

VANCAL, Christopher McCarthy, flat singles press, TorontoON., 2016. no price, paper.  

What I have here is a twelve page quick chapbook by a postcard writer, who also rides public transit in person and in spirit. No mention of postcards in this double stapled offering, though I know personally of his postal predilection.  This chapbook sounds more akin to automatic writing or stream of consciousness, in which one thought or event leads to another and another, and so forth. Even so, surprisingly it snags reality, or what should be reality, with its motion. The book’s pivot is on a found bus transfer “haggard & torn/ like it had gone through the war.” “Vice – Tom Cusses” begins as a blurry war poem – from the front lines a death – scratches its (the poem’s) head in incredulity (“numbers aren’t substitutes for words”), shifts to hey, “Here’s my bus” and finally transfers as a call and response.

This transfer                                                    You have survived
is valid                                                             your first experience
for the day only                                               survived
                                                                        the deception
                                                                        of bus transfers

Or, to put it another way: “for one day only/ you must live & die.” Once McCarthy gets rolling he becomes rhythmic. In “Calgary transit” he verily sings “Miss the bus/ Miss the cab/ Miss the show/ Miss the internet/ MR Lonely.” After that “062 rant transfer” sounds more like a chant than a rant, and “90 minutes” brings us back onboard: “Red sock/Red house//Red rock/ Red route.” This is fun writing devoid of preciousness and seriousness. It’s exactly what you’d want to read riding any city’s public transit.

Reviewed  bAndrew Vaisius, approximately 260 words. (Pictures below.)



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