by November 22, 2017 0 comments

POETRY: 1993-2016
By Paul Sexton

Poeticus Mundi Publishing
Arlington, TX 2017

23 years represents one-third of a man’s lifespan here in the great state of Texas. One third of any life represents a lot of growth and change, peppered with bits of joy and pain. One third of a poet’s life, lived in space and on the page, presents an evolution of awareness and development of voice.

MACHINE OF ALMOSTING is an autobiographical collection by our Contributing Poet, Paul Sexton. These 204 poems take us, chronologically, through 23 years of his experiences; from early observations of his surrounding world to forming his philosophical perspectives to surviving in the work force; from finding a mate to having children to separating from his mate to the heartache of divorce; from awakening to the realities of corporate control to bouncing through the single life again; from finding another mate to losing that mate through tragedy to struggling for meaning in what’s left over. That’s a lot to pack into any life. From this poet, in his unique voice, there is a lot with which we can all identify.

It’s Paul’s voice which makes this collection so engaging. (We read it over a couple of nights, like one would read a novel or a biography.) He turns life circumstances into poetic reverie; sometimes with exhilarating eloquence, sometimes with biting, sardonic wit.

Of these 204 poems, we earmarked many which we thought best exhibit Paul’s range of voice and subject matter. We could print them here, but it would be better for the reader to buy the book and read them all.

Let these few examples suffice:

From Stupid Suburban Jackoff Story – a vigilante rescue story with a happy ending:

…She says that number one, the roommate,
always calls me when she needs help, and could I come help.
So I grab my baseball bat BLACK JUSTICE,
jump in the Mitsubishi and drive like a bat out of hell
or Batman in the Batmobile or a guy with a bat or something…

From Bad American – a declaration (not a confession) of a contrary point of view; one of Paul’s many indictments of what he calls “the corpocracy”:

I am ill-suited
for this version of life.
I am not a proactive multi-tasker
that thrives in a fast paced environment.
I do not have a proven track record of success.
I am not a team player…

From The Passion – an identification with a suffering deity, making the ultimate sacrifice:

The scab of night is torn like
The temple veil, forsaken
By the creator of all wounds
Hemorrhaging desert sand…

From Machine of Almosting – a mad, abstract expression of the struggle to describe indescribable love/obsession:

Mad genius sloped back flicker in the sun,
Ethereal agent sacred clean
Caught up in Spiritus Mundi machine.
Echo flapping desert bird wings,
Toward slouching beast, lost, sing, sing,
Crestfallen desire…

From I Just Can’t Do-It – a naked cry of frustration and inadequacy:

…I just can’t do it.
I can’t fucking do it.
No credo, no manifesto, no apocalyptic visions
no dead gods, no live gods, no TV gods
no beer, no love, no poem, not even this
mother fucking poem
will save me…

But, he does do it; does it all through joy, wonder, sarcasm, tenderness and despair. We readers will experience it all with him.

MACHINE OF ALMOSTING is well worth the read. There is nothing “almost” about it. Paul Sexton is a complete poet, this is a complete collection. (Get your copies here.) We are the beneficiaries of the poetic results of this third of his life. We look forward to the next third; the next evolutionary steps in the development of his voice and his next collection of poems.

mh clay
Poetry Editor
Mad Swirl
November 2017

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