The Zero Eye
Michael Mc Aloran
Oneiros Books, 2014
Review by David McLean
This collection by Michael Mc Aloran is condensed and highly idiosyncratic, perhaps his most experimental collection thus far. It is equipped with an introduction by Aad de Gids that brings out the direction taken, that the poetry laments the absence of something it very well knew was missing all the time. It is of the “itch of the redeem” and the knowledge that the itch never gets to be assuaged.
The book servers as a key to the others in a sense, a description of what happens “in damage seasons”, a summary statement of the pointlessness and the beauty there nevertheless is in all of the emptiness.
the silent light/ the light by which no light may be seen/
hence the distil/ the teeth of it/ the bones of it in a
slaughterhouse of all/ mocking the lung lock/ awash with
bile and unspeaking reckless nothingness/ no prayers for
the now/ silenced/ shine a light/ here a breath there a
breathe/ in damage seasons/ having breached/
absconded/ not a bloody chance/ no nothing/ no not from
the commence of/ no no other route…
Mc Aloran, says de Gids, is expressing a point about the development of the polities and sociuses in which we live, that their ultimately arriving at this dreadful impasse where everything is excused in the name of political rectitude is what we all anyway wanted, the endgame, the terminus, the final fucked up destination. I see the point of the poems as more ontological, that if we were living in a perfect Utopia life would still suck balls because of finitude, and the fact that the fuckers have remorselessly destroyed any chance of jouissance anybody ever had is just icing on the suicidal cake, as it were.
Still, the book introduces itself as “a book of misunderstandings” so the vicissitudes of interpretation are all well and good.
Mc Aloran is also a visual artist, thus the “eye” is deeply involved in the book, the function of seeing, usually taken as the exemplary sense for humans, and the comprehension of light and color, the conquest of color being something Deleuze regards as fundamental and a source of great anxiety for the visual artist.
…the eye recalls it does not recall/ stratosphere of bled/
sun light of asked of promise/ spat out/ sheen purpose of
the whole/ locked to the might of virulent/ a-breeze/
shattered frozen flesh/ dead light what of it/ the half moon
circus of redeemed purpose/ knocking the teeth from the
broken jaw what laughter now/ fingers yet/ yet fingers
hands to caress/ there is blood beneath the fingers of the
unearthed/ the earth clogs the lungs there is nothing in the
hands of breaking lightlessness/ as if to say/ what speech/
what of the voice that imparts the dead colours/ the
tourniquet heart/ spasm/ spillage of blood/ asks of till
given silences mocking the reaching purpose/ which is to
bile less than ever was before/ a syntax of shattered bones/
till ever-dreaming in the shadow’s longing/ as if to be gone
were the only crosshair in sight/ and yet/ subtle the
change in the pulse/ here or there/ dead light what of it/
spit forth/ the raped tune of these silences that cannot be
acquainted with/ less or more/ dead songs/ dissipatory/
struck shine/ some detritus of light.
Thus the book develops its reach into the emptiness from the most fundamental percepts, from the bottom up, instead of from the abstract and at an already and exclusively semantic level from which the text never departs, as I would have done.
All in all, a splendid read, well worth buying, and it's available from Oneiros Books, here