‘Paris a Conqueror’s Guide’ seems to reference John Forbes’s great send-up ‘Europe a Guide for Ken Searle’, but I get the feeling Steve Brock actually likes Europe more than Forbes did.
His triumphs are typically humble though, and laced with self-depreciating humour: It’s enough to make you want to conquer Europe and after a kilo of raw beef at the Polidor I feel I probably could but it’s the small victories in which we find solace like finding the side entrance to the Louvre by Judy Dally is about her ninety-nine year old mother, but most of the chapbook is about her relationship with her father.
But today an old photograph called him to mind and I missed not missing him then. The language is achingly spare and plain, but it works, especially when read aloud.
by Louise Mc Kenna contains this quote from Albert Einstein: “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left.” So maybe we should look after them a bit better.
: In the Beginning was the Cliché And the cliché was with God and the cliché was God, and oh my God, the cliché was the best thing since sliced bread…
There are borrowings from Wallace Stevens’s ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’, and one of my favourite poems in the chapbook is ‘The Last Haircut’ which pays homage to Dennis O’Driscoll’s poem, ‘Someone’.
Armed with a certain ironic detachment, it’s smart, chatty, literary, arty, but humble about it.
Steve Brock’s work shares some to the humorous rambling discursiveness of Ken Bolton’s poetry.
There are poems about prejudice, image manipulation of the military by politicians, the boredom of poverty, the realities of meat production and our complicity in it, and the infamous tea party between Margaret Thatcher and the murderous, Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet.
There is an erotic power here, woman containing man, two beings overfilling each other: hunger and fulfilment fucking and sleeping and waking the filling and emptying of the world Finally, in part three, the couple, older, more freckled and wrinkled now from exposure to “the star at the centre of their universe”, sit at the kitchen table, observing their tiny place in the huge pattern of the world.
Here their human consciousness is seen as a vessel that reflects the pattern back onto itself: Maybe just this: paying attention holding these things in her mind until the light of them shatters. is a travel chapbook; the holiday notes of a forty something guy from the Adelaide suburbs on the loose in Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, and Los Angeles.
In part one, a child setting her place for breakfast is seen as a vessel being filled with worldly knowledge.
When she drops a cup she’s holding, she comes to a literally shattering realisation about being and not being: a first meme which will repost versions of itself again and again in her brain until she comes to see the cup isn’t what matters In part two we move into adulthood; a young couple enjoying a day of timeless lust in bed, connecting them to lovers over the centuries.