Musings of a Madman
By Ed Osworth on September 2, 2015
By Heath Brougher on July 7, 2016
Living on the Fringe
I had already read some of Adam’s poems on the internet, but this was my first time reading a collection of his, or in this case, 3! (For an exceptionally good price, I might add.) I was not disappointed. These poems are unique and confident in themselves; Adam is a poet with a Voice of his own and relentless courage, able to say what many would shirk. These poems are also inventive and witty, clever in their individuality. Some of the titles alone are fantastic in themselves, such as “Chasing Sanity at 7:30 pm” in Book 1. There are some damn good lines also, such as “For what it’s worth, / I did love you / But it was for nothing / because I hated myself more” in the poem “Sweet Darkness.” I’ve always been a sucker for sentimental, self-deprecating nostalgia, something Adam frequently nails in these collections.
Book 2 has particularly dark tones and imagery, such as in the poem “Phoenix in Chains” (a personal favourite of mine): “You had no choice / but to sacrifice your / only loved one / to keep the demons at bay.”
I could keep giving examples but there is no need. Every poem in here sings, sometimes devastatingly, and each will linger in your mind after you read it. The title of this box set is fitting, because these poems themselves are on the fringe of everything conventional, and it’s a massively creative and evocative place to be.
Fantastic to get three very different works gathered in a single collection. The first Book is much more metaphysical in approach, dealing with, and returning to common themes of sanity and madness, “self-doubt and utter confusion”, synapses and things seeping etc. There is also a strong historical element throughout from ancient crypts and mausoleums and Byzantine imagery to St. Augustine. Adam used his words to mine the emotional self amongst the demons…and deserted alleys..and notions of imprisonment, attaining :moments of painful clarity” as in the poem “Chasing Sanity at 7:30pm”. There are also a few uniquely quirky images sprinkled in such as a “flute [that] dies on the iced ledge” and the narrator “hanging my fears on the nightstand”. At the heart of this work is notions of pain and spiritual growth and rebirth such as in the poem “Dawn of Black Gives Birth to Light” and in the poem “Emotional Explosives” with the very perceptive notion that “when you look at death, death stares back”.
The Second book (These Streets Don’t Cry for Us) is a much more straight-forward narrative-based offering. Noticeable from the very outset and the poem about America is a strong political element that was absent from the first, more personal work. This book is more of an outward look at the exterior environment, though still strongly noting its effects on the internal being. There are recurring elements of propaganda and terms of marketing are used by the narrator such as product placement to drive his point home about the society in which he lives, but from which he feels an over-riding sense of alienation from as in the poem “I Am the Fallen” where he states: “I do not fit with this society”. And that seems to be the overriding theme of this book: alienation. And though much of the work is dark, there are some very funny injections of humour as illustrated by the poem title: “The bases are loaded and so am I”.
The third Book (Queer Confessional) is just that; highly personal and confessional. If you enjoy honesty in poetry, then this book is for you. As I said, three very different books in one collection, which clearly illustrate three vastly different aspects of Adam’s work. Definitely worth the read and for .99 cents a straight steal! Check him out and enjoy the read!