David Mclean's a hunger for mourning
DEATH… the final frontier! You may as well make your peace with it, because it's EVERYWHERE, according to Dave Mclean in his intemperate and excellent new chapbook, a hunger for mourning (2007 erbacce press).
Mclean, a Welsh poet who lives in Sweden, has taken his existentialistic leanings and crafted them into a dark, turbulent series of 52 poems that present Death in various manifestations. Actually, Mclean isn't doing anything new; he's re-enforcing the timeless truth: Death is the future. It exists everywhere, in all creation, as in the poem "trees IV":
it is their patient complacency that holds these
trees so tight moulded to the growing
ground and they never frown as they eat
like animals the animal souls on which they
feed dead and lonely
today these outside me are raping themselves of leaves
to autumn's quilt, though most here stand
life's tiny obscenity spitting its contempt
for nothing we are and
for man is death and the word
is death, though the word "death"
is nothing to these trees
who today feed me their meaning
as my meat shall later
feed their need, their innocent
Not only does Mclean maintain this stance, but he poetically drives his point home with by illustrating that man is meant to embrace his inherent nihilism, an idea expressed so adroitly by George Bataille, a French librarian, scholar, and open disciple of the Sadean tradition that Death and Sex are inextricably entwined. And like Bataille, Mclean showers the reader with a hurricane of lyrical and intelligent obstinacy, as in the poem "passion and the passions":
passions are wild beasts fighting in a sack
possessed, goad them, inflame them
with lies, and put a liar's virtue to the knife,
murderous child, for war wins whoever wins
and a soul should be a loud battle-ground
and morals and obligations die like lives
tied to orgasmic altar of the mad god,
the body's only virtue, vulpine vigour of a
victor, raping the passive pusillanimous
heart, these fragments of a god's
foetuses we are, stuck in us, a devil's
fucked eye inside night and the cold kiss
of the hottest life, that dead beats fast
In a recent interview for Lummox, Mclean states that “the relation to death is fundamental for finite beings doomed to disappear. Anything else is the bad faith of a mayfly.” Although his viewpoint is vastly unpopular in today’s global culture due to medical advances that ensure longevity among first world populations, the systematic desensitization to the horrors of war and famine through a glut of multimedia, and a general tendency for men and women to filter out such unpleasant thoughts in general, those few readers who give Mclean’s poetry serious consideration are more in touch with their humanity, as well as their inevitable end, than those who bury their heads in the sand.
Mclean’s a hunger for mourning is not to be taken lightly, internally or with food, and his poetry IS worth a read. If the shadow of a scythe falls across the pages while you are immersed in these poems, you will have the satisfaction of knowing a hunger for mourning will be the hot topic of conversation at whatever funeral or wake takes place after you shuffle off this mortal coil!
(a hunger for mourning, David Mclean, copyright 2007 erbacce press, 978-0-9555-7545-7, 40 pages, available in perfect bound ($10.01 + shipping) or as a pdf ($1.25) through www.lulu.com. )
Marie C Lecrivain
Â Â Marie C Lecrivain is the executive editor and publisher of poeticdiversity: the litzine of Los Angeles, a jewelry designer, and a writer in residence at her apartment.
Â Â Her prose and poetry have appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including: Edgar Allen Poetry Journal, The Los Angeles Review, Nonbinary Review, Gargoyle, Spillway, States of the Union, Orbis, A New Ulster, and others.
Â Â Marie's newest poetry chapbook, Fourth Planet From the Sun, will be published in 2018 by Rum Razor Press. She's an associate fiction/essay editor for The Good Works Review, and the editor of several anthologies including Octavia's Brood: Words and Art inspired by O.E. Butler (Â© 2014 Sybaritic Press), and Rubicon: Words and Art Inspired by Oscar Wilde's "De Profundis" (Â© 2015 Sybaritic Press).
Â Â Marie's avocations include photography; meditation; Libers CCXX and XV; marmosets; Christopher Eccleston, H.P. Lovecraft, and Sean Bean (depending on what day of the week it is); her co-owned cat Puff; expensive handbags; the number seven, and sensual tributes upon her neck from male artists-except male poets, who only write about it.
Â Â "Writing is like having sex with a beautiful freak; adventurous and uncomfortable to the extreme." - m. lecrivain 2004