Sunday, November 29, 2015



(Magic Helicopter Press, Northhampton, MA, 2010)

Wow!  That was some ride! I began reading Jason Bredle’s Smiles of the Unstoppable with no particular expectation in mind.  Didn’t matter.  I was swiftly yanked into the inescapable whirlpool of energetic riffs, hilarity, wit and surrealistic twists that make up the poems.

The poem’s strengths rely partly on wonderful openings into words that don’t let go or let up until you’ve read every single one that makes up the poems.  Here are the openings of the first three poems:


Como se dice please don’t kill me


Sometimes I write my name on my underpants to remember who I am
and sometimes I write someone else’s name on my underpants


Pretend it’s not raining or pretend the city has enough awnings.

Don’t you, after reading these starters, want to continue forward?  You don’t?  Don’t matter.  You’re propelled forward by some propulsion that works like a kick from the first line.  Here’s another opening based on randomly opening the book:


One doesn’t make a bowl of cereal, bowls of cereal just happen

The only downside to reading this book from first to last page in one sitting is that the grin on your face doesn’t disappear during the entire reading.  Entonces, to finish the book is finally to feel the pain from that prolonged grin that disfigured your face during your reading.  In this sense, though, the book is well-titled.

So read this book.  Your smile will be as unstoppable as the poems.  Here’s one in its entirety as I want to show the wonderful tone shifts within a single poem (something elided by my focus above on the gunstarter type of openings):


Pretend it’s not raining or pretend the city has enough awnings.
Pretend you remember the last time we spoke.
For example, I could talk about the ferris wheel—
shaped like the elbow
of a dancer you once loved,
shaped like a dancer who left you for Tokyo Disney.
How much involvement, I wonder,
did the Oak Ridge Boys have in developing the world’s first
atomic bomb. My favorite story
isn’t the one about the boy
who falls into the abandoned grain elevator
but the one about the boy
who erases his memory to save his dying mother.
Pretend this song doesn’t remind you of the desert,
pretend this song reminds you of the carnival.
But what do I mean by this?
Becky hates this song anyway, it reminds her of the desert.
I wonder if the Oak Ridge Boys
have ever discussed Japanese tea gardens.
Pretend I’m writing to you backwards, pretend I’m in love with you.
Here, you said, handing me an elephant ear,
pretend this is my heart.
When I’m hiding, you yelled,
when I’m hiding from
oh my God I’m so scared oh my God I’m so scared
oh my God I’m so scared.
I love this song, I yelled back.
There are blue ribbon goats and then there are blue ribbon goats
and then there are blue ribbon goats!
Like an oasis of light
rising above the energy,
like an oasis of quiet
rising above the energy.
Now, pretend there’s a body of water in front of you.
Now pretend there’s a body in front of you.
Last night,
I dreamt I was a teenager again,
but I knew things I didn’t know the first time,
so when X threw a rock at Y, I explained to adults
how this is completely retarded,
Y’s head and shirt covered with blood. Later, I dreamt I explained
my dream to a woman with many
l’s and j’s in her name. I awoke four times covered with sweat.
Being in love will make you do crazy things on ferris wheels.

Crazily hilarious and hilariously crazy.  A welcome unstoppable read.


Eileen Tabios does not let her books be reviewed by Galatea Resurrects because she's its editor (the exception would be books that focus on other poets as well).  She is pleased, though, to point you elsewhere to recent reviews of her work.  I FORGOT LIGHT BURNS received a review by Zvi A. Sesling at Boston Area Small Press & Poetry Scene; by Amazon Hall of Fame reviewer Grady Harp over HERE; and by Allen Bramhall in Tributary.  Her experimental biography AGAINST MISANTHROPY: A LIFE IN POETRY received a review by Tom Hibbard in The Halo-Halo Review, Allen Bramhall in Mandala Web and Chris Mansel in The Daily Art Source. SUN STIGMATA also received a review by Edric Mesmer at Yellow Field.  Recent releases are the e-chap DUENDE IN THE ALLEYS as well as INVENT(ST)ORY which is her second “Selected Poems" project; while her first Selected THE THORN ROSARY was focused on the prose poem form, INVEN(ST)ORY focuses on the list or catalog poem form.  A key poem in INVENT(ST)ORY was reviewed by John Bloomberg-Rissman in The Halo-Halo Review, and the book itself was reviewed by Chris Mansel in The Daily Art Source and Allen Bramhall in Mandala Web.  More information at 

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