MELISSA FRY BEASLEY Reviews
Elvis Presley's Hips & Mick Jagger's Lips by Susana H. Case
(Anaphora Literary Press, Shantou, China 2013)
I have to admit I jumped at the opportunity to review Elvis Presley's Lips & Mick Jagger's Hips when I learned it was the latest by prolific author Susana H. Case. Such a unique and diverse writer, her eccentricity manages to remain grounded in the earthy and mundane while often touching the archaic and divine. Her work never fails to lift one up and out of themselves, offering an interesting co-mingling of the past with the present.
“The bullet of happiness hits me; I memorize how happy feels. My blindfold’s on to deflect any defects.”
From the poem “Political Homicide”
With the passage from innocence to experience, we are often carried firsthand into the primal nature of mankind. In bold strokes of honesty, sexuality, violence and playfulness we are delivered beyond the limits of the usual, breaking boundaries and norms, pushing and challenging readers to see everything in a new light and different perspective.
“Which do I prefer— you as my pill, you as my pillar? One day, love is my Dexedrine, It helps me focus on one thing, you. Next day, you give me a Valium, and I curl up and sleep by you. With both, I neglect work, and lose life for pill--‐tranquility. Passing out on the Valium, I find your pillar, and scratch my elbow on the concrete and plaster. What’s left is that delectable discretion of the skin, to sing: And I want you. And I want you.”
From the poem “My Love Ain't No Stranger and He Ain't Got No Car”
From the beginning this read is a smooth trip upon the light fantastic. Somewhere between beatnik and hippie, somewhere between personal history and confessional, one immediately has the sense of being there and going through these times and events. (The good, the bad, and the ugly)
“Because rock n roll (and rhythm and blues also to some extent) is the music I grew up with, every significant experience in my life is somehow connected to a song or a collection of rock songs. When I remember events from my biography, there’s a soundtrack attached.”
Having lived these rock and roll poems gives an especially strong voice to the book. This really is a fresh way to look at days gone by, more than reminiscent the writing here is so alive, exciting and tactile.
“I lie in bed for hours, my hand rubbing my breasts, as I rehearse Randall taking off my cat--‐eye glasses to tongue--‐kiss me after he tells me he never realized how beautiful I am: a page from True Romance. The need to remove the glasses to be beautiful is essential, a fast path to fabulousness. What’s best, he lives right here in what my local paper calls the City of Aspiration. I aspire to overwhelm him with my authentic sexual self, though I’m still vague about the details.”
From the poem “Motown Marvelous”
Not a new writer Susana, has honed and perfected her craft while keeping it edgy and fun. Her use of rhyme and meter is unparalleled, while being especially adept at free verse. (These poems are nothing short of feistiness left tingling on the lips) She commands a profound use of metaphor, slipping in only the smallest scattering of simile. Hers is poetry of sound as well as pictures, very textured and layered with meaning. (yet beautiful in its simplicity)
“trying to work out the logistics—him--‐her him--‐me her--‐me him--‐him, but I’ve detached from my body, became pure mind, one with the glass--‐grazed sky, so who cares if I’m with Rain Dance or Flower, because our bodies are mirage and there’s enough love along this edge of the Arabian Sea to encase a very large whale.”
From the poem “There's Someone In My Head But It's Not Me”
Elvis Presley's Hips & Mick Jagger's Lips is far from mild and is one exciting ride to read! It seems to be a journey from the 1960's through the 1980's and right into today. I intentionally didn't choose anywhere near the best quotations so as not to ruin any of the surprise. This is definitely a MUST READ and well worth it. This collection is a true classic and a treasure for those who love and live rock and roll!
Melissa Fry Beasley is a Poet, Writer, Advocate, and Activist from Oklahoma. She is proud to have red dirt running through her veins. Her blog is at http://melissafrybeasley.wordpress.com/ You can find her work in print and online, most recently accepted/published at Daily Love, Leaves Of Ink, The Dandelion Farm Review, Mindset Poetry, The Alzheimer's Foundation, Lake City Lights, Moov Magazine, Hip Literary Magazine, Churn Magazine, Cuento Magazine, The Shot Glass Journal, Stepping Stones Magazine, Tuck Magazine, Poetry Bulawayo, Eos: The Creative Context, Yareah Magazine, The Fib Review, Ken*Again, A&U Magazine, Big River Poetry Review and others.