This is the second book of McNair’s poetry that I have reviewed. Thematically they are very similar. The poet hangs out in bars, and also drinks outside of them, at times waking up in a field of crops without knowing how he got there.
There is an explicit language warning; while not excessive, there are quite a few f-bombs and the like sprinkled through the poems. A few are understandable, but at times it seems as though McNair thinks his inner Bukowski mandates such things. I do not mean this as a criticism necessarily, but more as an observation.
For me, the book really came to life in the second section. “Death in the Middle”. The book takes a turn into mulling over larger issues than finding the next drink or trying to remember how one got where one woke up.
After McNair’s “big heart boom boom” a tone of introspection enters into the poetry. He speaks often about his wife, and in loving ways, She, incidentally, does not accompany him on his drinking excursions. Fro “My Wife Seve Years Ex Post Facto”, he sees his wife as having moved on after his death, remarried and belonging to a country club:
And that one word, “steak”
will instantly transport her
back to life with me,
Poet Laureate of the Absurd,
founder of Bits of Steak Press,
her first true love and father
to her only son.
From there he recalls the deaths of his grandfather and of the father of some boyhood friends. And then it is a short step to his own death. Pardon my pun, but it is a sobering thought.
The second of any creative work has an inherent danger. Too often they consist merely of things that could not fit into the first book, album, whatever. As a result they do not break new ground. Make it a Double avoids that trap rather nicely. That’s why I recommend it.
I am a published poet with four books out there of my own, and two in collaboration with artist Carol Worthington-Levy. Additionally I have drafts of a novel and one short story in the process of being sent out.