Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hosho McCreesh’s Double Feature, Limited Edition collection

Alternating Current’s Propaganda Press has pulled out all the stops for the latest collection of poems by Hosho McCreesh available as a special and limited edition containing an artistic magnet (which is already on my refrigerator), a broadside signed by Mr. McCreesh that unfolds to reveal the poem “That We Each Fill the World With A Brutal Ugliness, One Passed Off as Life...,” and two chapbooks titled 4th Street Vagaries and An Adamant, Unmitigated Hope Even Amidst The Doom… 4th Street Vagaries centers on Albuquerque, New Mexico and focuses on the grittier sides of life. An Adamant, Unmitigated Hope Even Amidst The Doom is more philosophical yet bears solid roots. Below I’ll share a couple of poems from each chapbook:

The poems from 4th Street Vagaries are paired with photos of power lines and the lines themselves are snapshots of life in Albuquerque. This collection could really be one long poem, which it might just be. Below are two poems or excerpts:

an old woman
in a beat-up minivan
does the sign of the cross
as she passes a church

I have seen people do this and thought it an interesting snapshot-poem to feature amongst the other scenes in this collection of those who are homeless or down-trodden, as though this woman may just be praying at the same time for those living the hard life described in Hosho McCreesh’s previous and following poems.

barbed wire
atop a 10ft fence
an empty dirt lot
full of signs
for rent
for rent
for rent.

Wind kicks up
Dust & trash;



the sparrows &
the homeless.

These two poems follow each other and are separated in the chapbook with bold and un-bolded lettering. I think both provide the desolate and desperate scenes of a city and its hardships. The repetition of the sign “for rent” signals the hard times and then the rain scatters what little life and movement may be filling in the pictured surroundings which produces even more feelings of desolation and desperation as a scene empties out. The few words and short lines also lend to the scene as though we narrow our eyes even further upon it, which I think is a great technique.

In the chapbook, An Adamant, Unmitigated Hope Even Amidst the Doom…
As I said earlier, these poems can appear philosophical yet are rooted in the every day experience of human kind:

Call It A Battle Cry, Call It Gutteral, Call It A Harbinger, A Prophecy, A Vision, Call It Begging, Pleading, Call It Last Ditch, Call It The Knelling Of The Rusted Bell of Damnation, Call It Whatever The Hell You Need To Call It To Get Them To Listen…

I grow tired, hoarse –
all this screaming
& still nothing

They march onward,
insisting on misery,
denigrated by choice,
a careful architecture
to all their frustrated sadness.

This sadness hangs around low & bright,
like skittish, dirty, beaten children,
fills these centuries with horror,
fills lives we turn away from out of some
dismal, wanting, & unsatisfied respect.

Sitting atop lavish pyres waiting,
curled up & shivering like shavings
planed from hard black wood,
a hot wind enough to scatter them.

Yes, thus far, the bulk of it
has been wasted, little more than
an earth-sized pile of meat,
so useless to have never even
flavored our greens.

To tear open the mouths,
to pour molten metal
down their throats,
would return a cast
without edge, without definition,
return a crumples, unusable foil.

I have less & less time
for gaping yaps, for hollow maws.
There’s hardly room enough
for the bones of the forgotten &
for the mank of the unavenged,
so I say out with you
if you sense
nothing miraculous
in your very marrow,
nothing volcanic
in your deepest center.

I say, we have centuries & eons & ages of
ruse & trickery to unknot,
centuries & eons & ages
where it has all been
swindled from us,
& what I want
is this:

for all of us
to do more with it,
for all of us to do more
with whatever
we’ve got left.

for all of us
to die


This is probably the longest title I’ve ever seen on a poem, yet it is there to emphasize the following poem’s point. McCreesh has detailed the human existence of misery by unwitting choice, the “open maws” of people who talk instead of act, and calls on humanity to do more with its history and their collective voices to stand for something more than our individual selves and desires. That’s what I come away with when reading this poem. The idea of pouring metal down the throat and coming up with crumpled foil puts me in mind of the notion that words only get you so far, which I think is an extraordinary way to portray an idea if that is what Mr. McCreesh is saying here. The lines may at first be unusual but the message comes clear at the end to act and to die trying in our actions.

& The Laughter,
The Fire, The Cackle,
& The Goddamned Life Itself

It’s an odd kind of torture,
going out among all the faces
I will never know.

I don’t even know
why I do it –

just that it has
something to do with
truly caring about them

while also being
deeply disappointed
in them.

There is a struggle
in searching out
some way to help
while still trying
not to judge.

Each man’s hell
is his own to

So I go out
among all the faces,
& I see all the pains,
the insecurities,
the glaring failures,
the abandoned dreams,
all the compromises,
all the squalor & squander,
all the empty, distracted dying
& I begin to
regret caring,
regret trying,
& the laughter,
the fire, the cackle,
& the goddamned life itself
dampens, settles, fades,
sinks back to

until, eventually
there seems


left to


Hosho McCreesh is either talking about himself and his observations or he could also be speaking from God’s point of view because there is an omnipresent view here. The idea of it being from God’s perspective comes to my mind especially when the stanzas are indented and the lines discuss caring for humanity yet being so disappointed in humanity in general. As we join in the view and see the dissipation of lives in their failed dreams, their regrets, in the following lines of lives that could have been better lived, the poem winds down narrower until “there seems/nothing/left to/say.” We are left with the feelings of humanity’s failed attempts and become omnipresent and aware ourselves in this poem.

If you enjoyed this sample of the two chapbooks, you’ll be surprised to hear how affordable the entire collection of this Limited Edition is (which includes a magnet, broadside, and the two chapbooks 4th Street Vagaries and An Adamant, Unmitigated Hope Even Amidst the Doom… carefully wrapped) from Alternating Current’s Propaganda Press Catalog for only $10.00 (not including shipping and handling) at:


Please also visit Alternating Current to find out more about their poets and their press at:


Thanks always for reading, please drop in tomorrow for more Poems Found by Poet Hound…


open your mind. said...

Thanks so much for the exposure! There are less than ten of these bundles left, so get one before they're gone! Thanks for the support of the small press and one of the freshest and most talented voices in the small press today!

Poet Hound said...

Always a pleasure! Hosho McCreesh is one of my top three living poets I enjoy reading.

H. said...

Poet Hound--you're too kind! Thanks you for taking the time to bang the gong about this project. I won't speak for leah, but I am pretty darn happy with the whole package!

Poet Hound said...

Always a pleasure! Looking forward to seeing more poetry from you in the future!