Tuesday, December 16, 2008



Complications by Garrett Caples
Meritage Press, San Francisco & St. Helena, 2007)

COMPLICATIONS binds together the poems of Garrett Caples and presents a view of a style that often borders humor, malice, love and futility within the same ‘stream of thoughts’ space. His infusion of similar sounding/looking/meaning words in droplets of minimalist stanza create from one’s mouth a staccato of similar sounding sayings that roll from the lips quite lovingly. As one falls into their mantra chanting charm you catch yourself chasing someone frantically down the mazes of their mind. While following a thread through this labyrinth, it tricks you into searching for the expected blunt meaning and lowers your guard to allow the imagery to invade you incrementally, leading you into sensing something so ethereal that its meaning fluctuates like the semblance of a thought hovering on the edge of one’s mind.

In contradiction, the thick and dense multi-textured displays of his sometimes ‘in-your-face’ prose showers one in a dazzling rain of hot sparkling grinded out metal. These full-on molten dialogues with the reader reveal Caples’s Hip Hop-Rock DNA and show his gravelly from-the-street attitude in such pieces as "Dub Song Of Prufrock Shakur" and "A Little White Noise for Little White Boys". Even when dressed up a little in the King’s English in "Ordinary History America" we can see his Bukowski-like rawness. His sympathetic ranting of "Written On September 11, 2001" and sympathetic rooting of "The Delicacy Of Ambrose Bierce" show such extremes in writing persona it creates a pleasure to turn the page and see who he is next! A read one can drift through with hostile directness and subtle humbleness.

Here is one sample (prose) poem in its entirety:

our rock was entirely gothic. my people were fair and had ky in their hair; your people were foul and didn’t bring towels. otherwise we got along. my fowls were purple and howled like a hardened case of the nipples. you boiled your owls in powder and ground them into chowder. we came at each other like eggplants; we commenced to get down. my chickens were kickin and straight outta Dickens, but your owls had trowels and had read The Cask of Amontillado. by the second verse all hell broke loose. your devils were clever and played heavy metal while mine were just plain old bastards. they plastered themselves on Listerine and sucked on harmonica. your devils had a sister named Louise whose love of cheese was known even over the telephone. my telephone was run by gnomes who wouldn’t accept your trolls. your trolls had gone home, along with your people, who packed up their phones and their chowdered owls and chartered a bus outta town. your owls had disemboweled my purple fowls with their trowels so there wasn’t much point in taking them. my people had gone with the nipples. soon it was just you and me. we were naked under our clothes. my hose had holes and your shoes were easily misconstrued as toes. we blew each other’s nose and did voodoo in our underoos. this was the goal of all rock. then Louise returned with a mixed party of your people and my people and the few remaining devils, who brought their own owls, and , using the trowels to make a brick stove, boiled the dead fowl in owl chowder. we were briefly a community. Louise handed out Listerine. my people got drunk and started to funk while yours were content with rubber cement. your devils wore sweaters and wrote dirty letters that made my gnomes indignant. your trolls responded with a despondent guitar solo entirely inappropriate to the song. who gave them Danelectros? the souls of my chickens rose in protest and my hose was spraying Dickens. your people grew hungry again and it looked like your shoes had been chewed. the world was all old and folded. the harmonica was gone and Louise faded out like someone who never was. the telephone was cold, the coda colder. the end of the song threw its long shadows against us.


Brett Duchon was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1967. He lives in Chiba, Japan with his wife Michi. ”I am a painter, ceramicist, poet, martial artist, teacher with scholarly pursuits in both the arcane and the blasé."


  1. Another view is offered by John Olson in GR #12 at


  2. Another view is offered by Jeff Harrison in GR #16 at