"Long Shot # 26"
review by Maya Rivina
On plain white paper, with plain black ink, in under one hundred pages and only a few inches along the length and across lies the eclectic, yet powerful, diverse, and appropriate collection of poetry of this year's Long Shot number 26.
The black and white photograph on the cover is an artsy shot of a couple of Siamese twins in slips with face cream connected by their heads. Maybe the photograph is a premonition for what is to come, the slightly freakish ('cause it's left, sexy, and dreamy) and very personal assortment of thoughts. Maybe it is just a good photograph that made it to the cover by getting through much competition.
Though a whole lot of the collection is dedicated to political and anti-war agenda, such purpose does not take over the artistry and craft of the poetry. In one of such political poems, "we need," Reg E. Gaines relays the true needs of us all...
We need to be
free of hate/ free of contempt
free of jealousy/ free to repent
free to need/ freedom of speech
free to believe/ free to teach our beliefs
free to grieve for those we've lost
free from religious nails on the cross
and goes on...
We need to share wealth when others are poor
We need to leave ajar the door
We need to stop and think when the light says go
We need time to take time to say hello
"Penis Envy" by Rebecca Cook, is the epitome of the other side of the spectrum of this collection, a comparison of the highs and the lows of having a penis or a vagina; the free expression of human sexuality. "If I were a vagina in the morning, frothing over with last night's semen and contraceptive foam... I would cry out," "... But if I were a penis, bursting with come, stroked daily, petted, rearranged, protected... I would thank god, surely I would praise god..." The sex keeps going, "You are more dear to me than my elbows and knees" ... "However, I do need my knees for kneeling To fellate you and to thank God for letting me find you," however, this may not be as much about sex as it is about love, ... or desire, both being valid human emotions worthy of being included within the poetic verse.
The "fuck capitalism" slash "fuck me" stream of consciousness of the collection is interlaced with reminiscing poetry pieces and artwork - amazingly expressive glimpses at the expressions on the faces of prison colony inmates in the depths of Russia, photographed by John Ranard, a surrealistic mix of photography and sculpture in the midst of naked skin by Joel Peter Witkin, and Joe Borzotta's drawings of open mouthed voluptuous vixens. Danny Shot's last effort is a definite work of urgency as well as accomplishment. Sex and politics, and what else do people think and talk about these days? Long Shot was a gold strand, and its run its course, so I, for one, will be reading and rereading the back issues until the next such publication of strength, intensity and reality will come along. Plaudits to Danny Shot and his hot crew.
© Maya Rivina