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I Shot the Moon, Calamari Press, 10 / 39, TRILCE

Click through for a review of James Wagner’s TRILCE, the tenth in this full-press review series of Calamari books.

Here is how I felt about TRILCE:

Say a crazy uncle that you love has come over for dinner & brought with him his new motorcycle. This perfectly shiny, lovely, beast of a machine. Now you are not really a fan of motorcycles, they scare you & you’ve never even taken a ride on one. But he is your favorite uncle (the other uncles are all jerks) & you want to be his favorite nephew (or niece), so when he says ‘Hey kid, let’s jump on this thing & I’ll give you a ride’ you say ‘Sure’ – because you like him & you don’t want to be seen as a weakling. But while you are on the ride all you can think about is getting off of the ride, hanging onto your uncle’s ribcage wondering if the bike will crash, hoping that the grip you are keeping will still seem cool to your uncle in retrospect & not like the sweaty terrible grip of panic that it actually is.

James Wagner is a hell of a writer & Calamari Books is a hell of a press, but with TRILCE, I was honestly just holding on to the words like handles, hoping that the bike didn’t crash, hoping that I would still seem fashionable when the ride was over & all I came out of it with was fright & nervousness & panic & confusion.

I wanted to love TRILCE, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t find my footholds. I couldn’t find my bearings. There are all of these references to a character named ‘Ken’ & I just wanted to know what was happening to him, where he had gone or was going, but I couldn’t. That is my review of this book, I just couldn’t.

Here, take a taste:

from I

“Ken has a taunted bell a,                you know day should

test our lost eyelids Cuban kids and dough.”

from XI

“He contradicted a moon at 9

and local, he may have abrasions.

He quits, deserts, Ken laughs and laughs,

no land was a recorder.”

from XLIII

“Ken somebody        seventy.   Know occults.

Can somebody murder god.

I care I swear. No leaded gas nothing. It’s the

the road locals eye and enter.

I care I swear. End it. Come later dry his penny.”

from LXII

“Almost had a

your solo couldn’t have a most mortal Ken sobbing!

Oh no. Ken sobbing!

In touching no house moss separates.”

Hang on Ken, I know how you feel.

Check out TRILCE here (you want your uncle to think you are cool, right?)


2 thoughts on “I Shot the Moon, Calamari Press, 10 / 39, TRILCE

  1. Thanks for reviewing J.A., i don’t have a hog-riding uncle, but i once said yes to a total stranger (think it was in Puerto Rico or some Caribbean place) to a ride on a Jet Ski and it was terrifying.

    I think it might help readers to point out that Trilce is a homophonic translation of Vallejo’s Trilce.

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