The 9th Letter

Dye Hard Press founder and poet of serious note Gary Cummiskey writes about 'minister's daughter stoned on crack', then moves on to write about 'so we slip down behind the counter/ and start to fuck', then jumps and writes about '...we watch the girl in the backroom sticking a knitting needle up her hole'. All in one book, titled today is their creator.

The title of the collection is a quote from Robert Rauschenberg and jells well with the 22 poems which have a strong leaning on social commentary (Gun, Telephone, Today, And we watched, etc), romance based nostalgia (Rain, Soft Words, Some bastard, etc), to those almost naughty notes reminiscent of Michelle McGrane (Mona Lisa, Little Prajna, Vodoo, etc).

Then there's the other box that eludes a tag where poems like 'space ship, wheelbarrow, garage, cyclist, etc are found.

Gary the Englishman has always had a serene playful demon fueling his muse, which makes this collection one in a long list.

The poems that touched me for very obvious reasons were 'And we watch' which is social commentary lacking from people who live the gutter life some of Gary's rants touch on, "and we watch the township lesbian being gang-raped, this will cure her and teach her to appreciate cock/...and we watch the drunk mother hysterical because while she was busy getting laid outside the shebeen her child was butchered for muti/...and we watch the torture and beatings continue in Harare/...and we watch the girl in the backroom sticking a knitting needle up her hole'. These lines are very rich, even though they explore human 'poverty' in all its forms, especially at the time when people one would expect to spit such reflections are pre-occupied with using their voices to sell Sasol Inzalo BEE shares as if they mattered to the average mother in the shebeen, girl in the backroom, and slain Banyana Banyana striker's family whose daughter was killed for her despise of cock.

The collection is classic because it's up to date, as you have seen with Harare on the quoted stanza. Many legislations later, lesbos and social misfits are still searching for heaven in the xenophobic Valhalla called South Afrika.

Another one that got me thinking was what's on today's menu?. 'a DVD played backward on the neck of an astrologer/ a loaf of bread rejected by a slaughtered seal/ a can of baked beans farting its way to the White House', and it reminded me a little bit of obsolete ex-firebrand Mbongeni Khumalo (Apocrypha).

In short today is their creator is a must have. Gary sounds like a cloned Eminem at times and maybe he and Marshall Matthers have a common gene in their bloodstream.

Maybe Eminem read a lot of Gary as this is Cummiskey's nineth collection outside of the anthology he edited before lynching it last year titled Green Dragon.

today is their creator needed chapters the same way the book of Proverbs and Revelation carry different messages and are chaptered (sic) differently. Gary should learn to put road signs, not to clatter his book with poems that should stand separately with their ilk. The collection should have been easier to digest if one knew what course they were in instead of just having the first and fourth courses all served at the same time.

This beautiful collection is available at Dye Hard Press, P.O.Box 783211 Sandton 2146 South Afrika.

For more of Gary's literary children go to http://dyehard-press.blogspot.com.

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