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Creative Engagement with Julian Talamantez Brolaski’s Advice for Lovers (City Lights, 2012)

“I am a love poet, and dedicate all my verses to Love, that god among goddesses, goddess among gods, that cavalcade of hearts”

The purpose of a cavalcade is participation more than display

“And if you can come suck my goodly cock”


(“Doesn’t know how to speak non-erotically”)—


Sensuous in dawn, daylight, dusk and night, Julian’s new book Advice for Lovers is a primrose-rich , self-indicating rite of passage that in order to progress, must pass well through itself. Itself, a between as it moves amidst statuses. From “how to leave your lover” to “fuck me harder” to “how to brag to your lover” to “how to transform an imaginary into an actual lover” to “what to do when your muse becomes your lover” the pieces in Julian’s confessional love-zone pack (yes, they are possibly packing hard (“a herm in the stars with a hook in xir hand” / “to hold a thorny thing tenderly”)) a drawing punch. Is a drawing punch an unforeseen poultice? In Advice for Lovers’ case, the answer is yes.

I see moving through the pieces in this book similar to moving through aspects of initiation ceremonies, but the diction (and tone) is unique in that it offers addictive sensory quality rooted in sonnet-ish shape, in Elizabethan tendency. The sweet-and-savory something of its music is based in liminal (threshold) straddling. Do we need a saddle here? Depends on how in sync we plan to get with the horse that is bucking beneath us.

When I reference cavalcade above, it is because as we pass through Advice for Lovers we become participants in it (“one pluck of a rib and I’m enchanted”), in ways that are similes to addiction. When we ride this horse bare-back (and maybe not just the horse (“the very next wet dream in a series” / “to fuck me in the ass instead of sleep”), without a saddle, the muscles in our necks that would usually be strained with regard to such radical bucking and whirling, extend then extend further (enigmatically they do not retract (“fix your sentiments on myth or bust”)). I am saying that this book did not break my neck, it extended it (“last night I burned sheets I didn’t even know I had” / “magic become desire”).

What a compelling system of layers, of acts of naming as alternates to tame. From something like “even swans say their concern without a crack in the voice” which reminds me of the changes that happen in the body in regard to the voice, when someone starts testosterone injections (“I cannot envy you until you bud”), to Julian’s detailed description of the both-aspects of the preferred flower (“phallic in overall form, labial in detail, the tearful caveperson—capable of smelling colors”). From “put me in a suit and call me Mary” ((“there is no missus I am among”) so possibly drag, or any other excess to socio-cultural norms and strictures re what is ‘appropriate’?)) to “I’d eat the sun if it meant what I want it to mean.” When we read this book we are literally IN what Julian wants consumption of the sun to mean (“things get completely butch”).

There is beautiful sexual and erotic explicitness in Advice for Lovers as well. In that regard (as well as in others) this book does not fall short! In the case of the “alchemist’s habit” xe is “on [their] knees to suck you off” [] dips [] head for fruit” [that “cocaine mirror”], there amidst “creamy nymphs” where “the ants are fat on the fat.”  In other words we are prompted to always consider the possibility that we must “hype harder, angel, than [] can [be] handled.”

Salty stanzas of billowing tegument moving toward pudenda then further, into penetralia (the interior heart?), the within-within—a “soft place to fall” inside an “etymological halo of light.”



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