Praise for this Book


Reading the work of _____________ ,  I feel like the slime on okra. I feel like the cerebrum inside a walnut, thinking of winter, thinking of being buried by rodents. Reading the poems of_____________ , I am both shower scum and political victory. I feel like a viceroy with all the official hats. Thrust into a river of black paint, each poem introduces itself as a foreign gentleman then proceeds to melt into my mother. I’m angry when I read the poetry of _____________ , angry at birds. In the poetry of_____________ , ninety-eight percent of the emotion is tied into the silence. Two percent is a sex moan heard through a motel wall. 

In the poetry of _____________ , there is so much prologue it becomes prejudicial, like some pre-birth. It’s hard to say. It’s like a stickybeak old man comes in your jewelry store and tilts his head like a bird with one cataract-covered eye. You feel occluded from something very important while guarding gems. It’s a deep itch, until you’re all cramped and decoy, but then something bursts and you’re suddenly all river, motherland, and hearth.

To imagine the poetry of_____________ , imagine a funeral—traditional, black draped, maybe an aristocratic family in England. Everyone is somber and decorous, speaking in hushed tones. But in this universe all corpses dance. They stand up on the stage, head sagged, arms limp, swaying back and forth; and every mourner must take the stage and dance with the corpse and whisper the worst thing they have ever done in its ear.


The poetry of _____________  is like following a long orange extension cord through a forest only to realize it powers the smoke machine that the gods use before they appear.

Reading the poetry of _____________ , I feel the dark musculature of the horse. I feel the fat fondling of some goose. I feel the goat from the goat-perch perspective. I feel betitted as a mother hog on her side. I feel all the barnyard awake in the bright bake of fable. I feel child acoustic. I feel strummed. I feel the grass growing so fast after the summer rain, I think it prodigy or predictor. I sit on the tractor and it shakes me like a can of paint.

The poetry of _____________ is like that intense sleepiness in the middle of the day when you fall asleep on the couch with some innocuous show on in the background—golf, or a judge show—and then you’re out cold, drooling on the couch pillow. In a dream, you’re standing in a room that is very cold; maybe it’s a cell. One incandescent bulb emits the only warmth, so you put your hands up to it and notice something written on your hands in runes. The runes tell the story of when you were young and did something cruel to a friend on an October night in Indiana. Your friend was crying, and far in the distance, from across the neighborhood, you could hear the poetry of _____________ like your mother, calling you home.


In the poetry of _____________ , I’m always waking up just after the earthquake and looking for my beloved. Oh, did my beloved fall back into the earth? The poems only reply with trees, so many trees they form a canopy. So much real estate in the higher spheres. There is a whole separate ecosystem. And from this perch, what were our worries or loves anyway (thin as steam) when we consider the rain, the constant rain.

No one likes a police officer, but it’s not because we don’t like laws. Try living somewhere without laws for a while and you’ll understand. It is unnerving being that close to people’s natural violence. No, the reason we don’t like police officers is because the job attracts a certain type of person, a person that we say (colloquially) has a “chip on the shoulder,” a person who enjoys small powers a little too much. It’s easy to see that it compensates for some insecurity. Why would someone want to be the enforcer of laws if they didn’t feel a frightening lawlessness in themselves? This is the essence of the cop drama—the untamed impulse civilized by the moral code. But we like to see it unleashed at times, the cop gone maverick, the regression back to earlier codes of justice. The poetry of _____________ slams the badge on the table. The poetry of _____________ will take the law into its own damn hands.

The poetry of _____________ is the only one staying at this truck stop motel. There is one bent cigarette in the golden ashtray to prove it. The poetry of _____________ is the reason the sheets are stained and the television stuck on the Weather Channel, tinted green. There are storms over Kansas. The poetry of _____________ doesn’t build a shelter for the storm, it builds a psychology for the storm. It’s a tempest tantrum, and it fits in a coin.

Shoshana Kertesz

Copyright © 2019, Otis Nebula Press. All rights reserved.



In the poetry of _____________ , first you feel duped, but in an early 1900s way, like you bit a nickel and found it false. Then you feel duped in a 1950s way, like a kid sliding a comic book into his textbook. Then you feel like you just wired 30k to a Nigerian prince. But then, out of nowhere, after all this dime-store trickery, you are converted to a brand-new religion, a religion where you feel like the lungs of a wolf in pursuit of a hare.

The poetry of _____________ is full of overly simple ways to “save the world” like turning your thermostat down two degrees in the winter, like saving the wrapping paper of one gift to wrap another. The gift is always bath salts. The gift is always for your mother. A dutiful child should linger around a mother like a familiar scent, suggests this book.

Each line in the poetry of _____________ feels like a roll of quarters in those paper-wrapped tubes from the bank, how it weighs this beautiful amount, how nicely it fits in a fist, how it compels you to shadow box. Then, the satisfying crack on the edge of the change tray, flip of the wrist to open the currency like an egg, a finger popped in to push forth orderly rows of coin. I feel almost Roman among the silver legions.


The poetry of _____________ tries a little too hard at times, like those people who claim they love those off-brand Oreo cookies named Hyrdox. And it’s not really that they were bad cookies, it’s just a little too obvious of an affectation to insist you “can’t live without them,” or to believe you drove across three states to get a few last packages.

The poetry of _____________ is like the half-erased equations on the big chalk board in the lecture hall on campus. You wonder what kind of complex problem the class was trying to solve, but you wouldn’t know. You’re terrible at math. But there is a relief knowing that someone is thinking about these things. You appreciate it when flying on a plane or crossing a suspension bridge. It’s a kind of trust in the expertise of others, though the only expertise in this book is how to differentiate love from a nest of wasps.

The poetry of _____________ makes the claim that there was, indeed, an apex to human culture, one singular moment that all of humankind can look up to and admire, an unqualified summit, down from which we have spiraled since, into a slow decline. That moment took place on a summer night in 1982 on the hood of a blue Camaro after a Whitesnake concert in Dayton, Ohio.


It’s nice having a steady partner because sometimes you can just say, “I’m horny, let’s go in the bedroom and fuck,” and sometimes your partner says okay, and you do. Then you feel better and you go about your day, and maybe later that night you curl up on the couch with your partner under an afghan blanket and watch House Hunters International. It’s a pleasant life, a pleasant day. But late at night you wake up because the dog is barking, barking like there is an intruder. When you get to the living room, the dog growls at the curtains, which billow by themselves like some shade has seeped up from hell to enter your previously charmed life. Now imagine living in that moment for a whole book. 

The poetry of _____________ is like cheap grocery store cola. When you crack the can, it effervesces too eagerly. For some reason you must drink it warm on a hot day. If you leave it alone too long, it nearly congeals. It attracts sweat bees. In the moment it goes flat, it also goes sweet. In the wet pages of your child heart, you like it better than Coke.


The poetry of _____________ is like that book of CDs wedged under the passenger seat of your friend’s old Volvo. You put in an Alice in Chains album that has a picture of a dog with three legs on the disc. The nasal croon makes you shiver at how you once thought this music was good. Then you find the mix discs he burnt ages ago with names like “Chicago Road Trip,” “New Year’s Hangover,” or “Heartbreak 2.” You remember the heat didn’t work, so you wore your winter coat and smoked out the window. Your skin archived that feeling. The corn fields opened like novels of one previous harvest. Being young won’t come again, says the poetry of _____________ , but it says it privately, tenderly, because it knows deep down, this is still one of the hardest things to hear.


Frank Montesonti is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, Blight, Blight, Blight, Ray of Hope, winner of the 2011 Barrow Street Book Prize chosen by D.A. Powell, and the book of erasure, Hope Tree (How To Prune Fruit Trees) by Black Lawrence Press. He is also author of the chapbooks A Civic Pageant and Arts Grant. His poems have appeared in journals such as Tin House, AQR, Black Warrior Review, Poet Lore, and Poems and Plays, among many others. He lives in Los Angeles and is the lead faulty of the MFA program at National University.