Words. By Nancy Gauquier.
Weird City Books. PO Box 8245. Santa Cruz. CA
Nancy Gauquier's poems are written to be performed, a cascade of
demotic rhetoric, rich in caustic wit and insight, as if her desperation at the
ironies, cruelties and injustices of the world force her into the release of
words, proving that sheer ardour of denunciation has meaning and value.
Nancy is worried, angst-ridden, honest, direct and full of
vigour. In 'How Are You?' she says:
'People answer 'fine', but -
I'm allergic to something
and I don't know what,
but I fear it might be something unavoidable
She doesn't want to leave, though, and go to Heaven, because
Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush and his entire family
'are all going to Heaven,
this Heaven sounds like
one terrifying neighbourhood to me.'
She confronts fashionable efforts to refuse aging with:
'You're either dead or you're aging,
there are only two choices
you get in this life.'
True, and funny. But her poems in themselves prove that the
world has joy in it - if nothing else, the joy of words. Once or twice she
transcends the rhetoric of performance poetry, and in 'Global Warning' deploys
an altogether higher rhetoric, ending a powerful tirade with:
'The furies are spinning shrouds
of black clouds.
as the mercury is rising,
the ice caps are melting
and the polar bears drown
in an empty sea.'
She complains that her Muse is:
'a lame old nag,
an estranged dark horse
shrouded in shadow'
The music of that verse proves in itself that this is not true.
Her Muse is a horse which gallops out of the shadows, the flag of pessimism
waved with a mordant wit which is itself a redeeming weapon.
Finally, she proves herself an authentic poet of a kind which
peformance can't compass, writing:
I don't want words.
I just want the empty
spaces between them.'
ending the poem
'. . . .time sits
and looks at you
with a wry grin,
as if you are standing
on a lone mountain top,
where the view has you
breathless, and you know
there are no words.'
Believe me, this is where poetry comes from, and when they come
from this place, words are real.