I am extremely honored that my chapbook, There Must Be Something Wrong with Me, has been reviewed in Bay Area Poets Seasonal Review. That a poet with the stature and talent of Marvin R. Hiemstra thinks positively of my work is indeed thrilling for a novice and un-schooled poet like myself. I am truly grateful. Thank you, Marvin!

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Here is the review:


THERE MUST BE SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME
EUGENE DAVID
(BERKELEY)

There Must Be Something Wrong with Me by Eugene David (David Eugene Partch, Berkeley: 2005) 40 pages, 19 poems, $3.00. For information: www.theSighting.com

Eugene David is the best espresso poet/philosopher I know. Here is the forever topical "Con Job."

face it
we have an adverse tolerance for the truth
like raw meat
(not even in small chunks!)
we prefer the comfort of blatant deception
a cocktail of little white lies
served up in crystal goblets
before the main course of hard-core rhetoric
platter after platter
the product of a connoisseur think-tank
"Institute for the Advancement
of Propaganda and Manipulation"
with graduates scattered
among the talking-heads
televised and sponsored by the fickle public
and endorsed by every expert in the land
we satiate ourselves with the obliteration
of every relevant fact
and drown out any trace of guilt
with a chaser of denial
and in a chorus of laughter
we can ignore anything else
that might get in the way
of a good con job

This begins "An Apology," a complex repetition poem, effectively turning what we already know into what perhaps we should be feeling strongly.

to all those
who say political poetry is bunk

you see, i have to admit
there is apparently something wrong with me

take, for example, the polar bear
the polar bear's habitat is melting
melting! mind you
now how are we going to restore habitat
that's melting?
and because the polar bear's habitat
is melting
i ... have anxieties

The delicate hand-written script type style of the book gives a magnificent understatement to content that is so important it could not be overstated.

Here are the concluding stanzas of a stinging poem called "Building More Babylons."

what can you do with happiness,
after all?
you can't destroy anything with it
you can't use it to humiliate your friends
it gives you no competitive edge

its everyone's duty
to be vulnerable
we entertain ourselves
with the prospects of pending failure
because we are afraid -
so very afraid to be content
we are afraid
the raw beauty of life
will bore us to tears
we'd rather run around in circles
and tear our hair out
building babylons in bubbles
to distract us
from any real pleasure
we might actually stumble across

we cringe - even at the suggestion
that the little plastic figures
we play with
are not just toys
they are the actual elements
of a war
we are fighting against ourselves

as we motor down the highway
whistling a tune
nor realizing
it's the happy wake song
being sung by a choir
standing in their own grave
shoveling dirt over themselves

and the bell has a cracked ring
as it puts us to sleep

"Thru the Birch Leaves" blazes at the author's metaphor for the honest search for understanding, the theme throughout this book.

because the light sifting thru the birch leaves
fell on an empty creek bed
i was suddenly confused
and my confusion
shed light on everything

because the raven flew behind the oak
and didn't come out again
on the other side
i thought perhaps the world had stopped
like sand exploding in my face
from inside the hour-glass
by my concern was swept away
as i stepped into the river

perhaps it was when
he didn't finish his sentence
over a glass of loganberry wine
that left me dangling over the universe
and wishing
i had never been taught to think
it was a gaping hole
but it was not a lie
and i couldn't blame him for it

and when she smiled at me
sitting in a wicker chair
under the thatched canopy
i knew
it was time to come in
out of the rain
but this knowledge
didn't tell me anything

so i stared into the sun
and went blind
and my blindness
curled and crashed
like a wave on the beach
bursting into droplets
that never returned
to the sea

"On the Meaning of Poetry" strikes hard and lets us know, just in case we doubted, that there is understanding out there and we, as poets, can find it. Here's my favorite stanza.

it's all about creativity
the one that doesn't belong to anyone
the orphan truth
singing in the choir
all it needs is a voice
and a cup of hot coffee.

There Must Be Something Wrong with Me by Eugene David is a book for all of us.

- Reviewed by Marvin R. Hiemstra