Confessional Existentialism


The Pistol Tree Poems,
Peter Hughes and Simon Marsh, (143pp, Shearsman)



Page 25 (extract):

Around about that time (it was the time of the Mortadella Man,
Dearly Beloved) Aikin' Bum and Lil' Fucker were strolling down a
bent country road when they come across The Third Billy Goat Gruff,
[POV Shot] who's sitting outside a sort of Tracey Emin beach hut,
knocking back DraughtFlow Body with Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox and
 pouring his heart out about some family hassle with a Scandinavian
punkabestia. -Have a crisp- says Brer Fox, -Ta Baby- replies Brer Rabbit,
 and seeing Aikin' & Lil', Brer Fox plot dumps the scene where BBG3,
 tired of the stench of boiled brethren, hooks a hind hoof into the
 soft foothill, whips out a Rocket Powered Recoilless Weapon and,
bleating a Vin Diesel one liner -you can flog a dead horse, but you
 can't make it drink- sends Sodaroundalot, the one-shot Troll, to
meet his maker, who turns out to be a sockpuppet astroturfer
(in reality, the Troll himself) high on glory holes and scopofilia -
the way she stoops; tightens her things- [Gaze Shot: Dita Von //

-her lip gloss stings the air with fruit pulp embedded with chrome
 shards; her storm-hewn eyelids are powder kegs. I used to tense
 at the sound of brittle hooves ratting; at the thin bleating of a faithless

       - Tempo da lupi- I reply -wolf weather-
the frottoir zips, unzips Acadian off-beats
   whisk broom spanked
       [why not? Grins the Witch]
as Boozoo Chavis tugs at the dance of the
                                   Rougarou

This example; first aired in Great Works
is perhaps a model of what is going on in this book of poetry. There is a clear diminutive, confessional existentialism, that refrains from the norm. There is a dichotomy of modern day existence taken from a post-modernist conscript set against a flailing duality of the self. Partake this and amalgam it to a basic corporate intersperse, thrown at the first person level and we are closer still. Combine all of this in a careful context of philosophy involving the vital shaping of a person's self-chosen mode of existence or stance with respect to their world and we get a little closer. We have logic enough - well I think enough - to govern each quantifier and thus asserting the existence of something by saying that there is at least one object in each poem that possesses the properties specified - an object - or objectivism.

Objectivism is a term that describes a branch of philosophy that originated in the early nineteenth century. Gottlob Frege was the first to apply it, when he expounded an epistemological and metaphysical theory contrary to that of Immanuel Kant. Kant's rationalism attempted to reconcile the failures he perceived in realism, empiricism, and idealism and to establish a critical method of approach in the distinction between epistemology and metaphysics.

Objectivism, in the context of this work, is an alternative name for philosophical realism, the view that there is a reality, or ontological realm of objects and facts, that exists independent of the mind. Stronger versions of this claim hold that there is only one correct description of this reality. If it is true that reality is mind-independent, then reality might include objects that are unknown to consciousness and thus might include objects not the subject of intensionality. This is here in these poems of extreme craft and confidence.

This is what I feel these two poets have achieved. Objectivity in referring requires a definition of truth. According to metaphysical objectivists, an object may truthfully be said to have this or that attribute, as in the statement "This object exists," whereas the statement "This object is true" or "false" is meaningless. For them, only propositions have truth values. Essentially, the terms "objectivity" and "objectivism" are not synonymous, with objectivism being an ontological theory that incorporates a commitment to the objectivity of objects.

Here is the truth of this work simply breathtaking.

Well worth a read.

    James McLaughlin 2011