ADAM ATKINSON

JACKET COPIES

Jacket Copy for I Am Beaten to 
Death by a Thug in a Back 
Bedroom

Often   this   poet,  “fisted   into / a   sack
of   bruises   on   a   buzzing,  walled-in  / 
carpet,”    pauses    between    blows     to 
suffuse  the  scene with  his  perspective. 
The  results!  These  poems   inflict  even 
as     they    are    inflicted    upon.    Fists 
emerge  and  retreat  into cartoon holes. 
Bruises   hover  in  the  air,  purple   with 
glee,  dragging  across  the  reader’s  face 
like  semen.  The   poet’s   face   too   and 
the    crowd’s   face.  Poet,   fists,   crowd, 
holes,   bruises:  it   all   hangs  in  the air 
and  dies, which  the  poet  negotiates by 
crafting  one   poem   for   each  of   these 
deaths.  Yes,  he is  Beaten to Death.  He 
writes   “love / letters  to  the  Homicide 
/ Division  on  the  carpet / in semen.”

 

Jacket Copy for Other Eyes on 
the 
Same Screen

In   these   two   long   poems,   a  double
feature  tour  de force, the poet  watches 
two   films   at  “The  Circum  Specto”  (a 
cinema    that    revolves).    In   the   first 
poem,   all    of    the   film’s    actors   are 
blindfolded    except   for   the  gumshoe, 
who  finds   the   story  all  too  fantastic: 
Evading            flatfoots!           Kissing / 
malhonnête        hommes!          Kissing / 
flatfoots!   Solving  nothing!”   The poet, 
for   his   own    part,   seems   unable   to 
shake  the  feeling  that  there  are Other 
Eyes  somewhere  in  the  cinema.  In the 
second   poem,   he    resolves   dishonest 
men  into  kisses  (by force);  misses  the 
whole ending. ★★★★ 

Jacket Copy for Chewing Up the 
Scenery in My Favorite 
Film Noir

Some  force  propels  these  poems  (and 
halts them),  but  time  is not the culprit.
True,   from  the  ceiling, a portal  slowly
descends    on    the   “nude   malhonnête
homme,   /   prostrate     in      the     bed,
prostate  /  in  the air,” for  the duration
of   this   book.   True,   the  poet   calmly
makes   eggs   at  the  “one- / man  diner
across   the    room,   where   I am  /  the
cook,    the   waitress,   and    the    pansy
couple / in   the  far  booth.”  True,  time
may   pass.  But  mostly,  space  devours,
consumes      a     “spread-eagled       foot,
ankle- / deep”  for   hours.   “In  time, he
grabs  the roscoe / from  the  vanity  and
fills   the  portal / with   daylight.”  True,
he  has  vanished.  But  mostly,  the  poet
grows  to  fill  the  void.  The   eggs:  boil
"harder / and harder."

Jacket Copy for Life Unfinishes 
Like a Ghost

eeeeee eeeeee eeeee eeeeee eeeee ee e e 
eeeeee eeeeee eeeee eeeeee eeeee eee ee
eeeeee eeeeee eeeee eeeeee eeeee eee ee
eeeeee e  “Holy   here.  // page //    Holy
president   lungs,  // page //  dear   clear
lungs    in     the    president.   Keep     me
//  page  //   in   your   evacuate   room.”
eeeeee eeeeee eeeee eeeeee eeeee eeee e
the cries of  reporters as they  witnessed
the  infamous  1985   self-immolation  of
Rock   Hudson    in   the   White    House
Briefing   Room,  eeee ee ee ee ee eeeeee
for   all   eternity:   “Here  I   come,    the
holy // page //  smoke!   Seal every exit,
every   movie // page // star,   especially
Ronnie   Seal  the  smoke   in   // page //
his lungs."

Jacket Copy for Other Eyes on
the Same Screen

In   these  two  long   missives,  a  double
feature  tour  de  force,  the  poet  listens
to   two  films   at  “The   XXX  Oculo”  (a
cinema  in  which  you  close  your eyes).
In  the  first poem,  “Who  cares  what! I
am   getting   /  a   blowjob   from  some
Manhattan   /       spy.—Robin       Wood,
Movie.”   And:  “The   spy / is  moved  to
tears   by    the    femme   fatale,   /    her
operatic    confession. —Robin  /  Wood,
Movie.”   And:   “Chance  /  eroticism  at
its  best, visually  scored  by  the rapid /
flicker  of   light  through  our  eyelids!
Robin   Wood,  / Movie.”  In  the  second
poem,  there  is   no   blowjob,   just   the
poet   feeling    paranoid.   “★★ / ★★—
Robin Wood, Movie.

Jacket Copy for We Are Also in 
Dark Alley Lit by Fire

Though  often  referred   to  as  History’s
Librettist,   this   poet   merel  cups   one
ear  at   the  door  of   a   haunted   opera
house,  sets  one  hand on  the telegraph:
"-··   ··   ···  -·-·  ---  / ··  -·  ··-·   ·   ·-·   -·  ---”
As  Manhattan  burns  in  the  Great Fire
of   1966-68,   arias   shoot  out  of  every
stalled   subway   car,  each  melting  fire
escape.  In   the   lines  from   which  this
book  takes its  title, even  the  arsonists
at     the    blaze’s    epicenter—a    mafia-
owned   bar   in   the  East   Village—belt
out:   “We  are  also / in  a dark  alley  lit
by   fire!    We   are   also / pumping   ash
through  our  veins!  We  are also all / so
throated and fey!"

Adam Atkinson's poems, videos, and performances have been featured in Black Warrior Review, Caketrain, Evening Will Come, and other journals, as well as at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, at the Regina Miller Gallery, and (soon) on Trans-Q Television. He is a co-founder of Line Assembly and lives in Salt Lake City.