Nick Demske, Skeetly Deetly Deet, Strange Cage, 2012
Reviewed by Charlie Rossiter
If we accept Babette Deutsch's claim in the Poetry Handbook that “one of the notable features of a poem is that it cannot be paraphrased without injury to its full meaning,” there's no question Nick Demske's Skeetly Deetly Deet is pure poetry.
Demske is not quick and easy. On the other hand if you enjoy poetry that engages and challenges, this slim volume will provide many pleasures by way of verbal pyrotechnics and a plethora of absurd and surreal poetic leaps. As these poems are truly beyond summary, I provide here a few opening lines to let you, the reader, draw your own conclusions. Make note of Demske's extremely long lines; indicated here with the traditional “/”.
From “Glory Glory”
Show me your asterisks, the silky mullets of scintillation training from that comet. Show me your penta-/grams, the blurred convexity broadcasts deemed more obscene than murder, or crack addicts, or four cen/turies and counting. I do love them hoes, which is oh so ungangster.
From “Naughty Mudflap Silhouettes”
Paparazzi-flash volcanics. A blockbuster. A showstopper. By virtue a pr\yrotechnician. Organized sky fire./ A sheet of tinfoil blasts sunlight goliaths. Me Likey. The fireworks snap flashbulb magica.
From “Dung Cart Hydraulics”
Mizzle the township in boo boo sauce. Briong out your dead, your poor, your huddled masses. The Star-/gangsta throbs subsonica baritones, tints the windows to its soul. If the 8o8's my heartbeat, the hoopty is my womb.
Demske is an engaging poet. I don't always know where he's going, (sometimes I'm not even sure where he's been.) but I enjoy the ride. Strange Cage is to be applauded for publishing these extraordinary poems. I only wish their production were a bit more careful. On a couple of pages, the margins are sheared a bit unevenly and end up dangerously close to the words.
Charlie Rossiter, NEA fellowship recipient, host of www.poetrypoetry.com, has authored four books of poetry and numerous chapbooks. He lived in Milwaukee in the 1970s and maintains contact with his friends there while living in Oak Park, IL.