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     The Boston Strangler:  A Review of Interstate Chokehold

Review by Franklin Metropolis

Frank Reardon makes the river wide & carves a transcendary vessel; in which to drift upon and down the tumultous current that is the Interstate Chokehold. As you read this book, you find that this theme completely transcends the tangible concept of the road, and refocuses our attention to the gravel in the heart..the yellow lines in the middle of the soul, that lead us on hot highways and cold swamps of a deeper sense of self. 

The Open Road of Your Bookcase

“across the great colony of despair ad seeing the real suffering. The real deal
all over, not to look within the same walls of one, two, or three towns, I shall
listen to similar winds across the plains 
of my own sorrows and gain the slick 
confidence that most will not even 
attempt to try.”

The narrative voice of the poem is boisterous, unapologetic in the face of certain melancholy. Frank greases the common frown with promises of tireless adventure-only to end up right before your naked eyes. The bookcase is where you will inevitably die of affixiation; not an auto-erotic, but neuro-symbolic death..rebirth..life.

Sexual Innuendos in the Great Southern Baptist Convention

 “Love the sinner and hate the sin is
a philosophy I was never able to buy into…”

“These minds sought out the tasty serpent, their
hate of sin was more of their own, their love of
the sinner was less than could be shown.”

Frank revives the classic image of the first sin within the stanzas that seperate the two passages above. The poem describes the search for that same temptation that was first uttered by the serpent’s tongue, and thus Reardon draws the conclustion that it is the human desire itself, that ultimately failed and continues to fail men and women; making it so much easier to reach out for young flesh to bruise and influence rather than the skin of a forbidden apple. 

Nietzsche made the alliteration that the eagle was the sign of pride and the snake the personification of wisdom in his classic novel: Thus Spoke Zarathustra.. In this poem, Frank’s wings are broken, but the serpent’s tongue is ever fluent and experienced. 

On page 6 you will find his voice standing defiant in the face of that hopeless endeavor of immortality. 

I Call on You, Immortality

“I challenge you deeply, immortality! I pound upon
my chest with defiant rage! I beat upon lasting
convulsions with the nomadic faithful! I face you
in every possible place, chills of a dying spine
tingle in every corner of sunrise, it is so surrounded
by my face….”

All things must fade..but leave metaphysical traces in their wake. The call of immortality, does not go unheeded. 

Of course, it helps to have:

Some Attitude Like Southie

which is another type of call in itself. A call for you to be well seasoned in the art of combat, the drudgery of the bludgeoned inner city; to see the eyes of this kid from South Boston. Look up from your sideview mirror while you sit outside the bar reading this book. That shadow carries a heavy pair of ‘mitts & unmitigated circumstance on his breath.

A Hot Shot in a Stride Piano

“The sirens whipped around in pastoral
motions and rocked back and forth as
if a sexy stride piano from Fats Domino
rolled in my pirated plasma….

Blueberry Hill and her bass line in
slow motion would be the last touch of my
earthly flesh.”

The i.v. drips like an over ripe berry. The self-destructive nature un-reels, o.d.’s and forgets the ordeal:

"I don’t recall much more of that night other
than drifting in and out of Fats Domino’s mouth,
a slow drip life moving in stride while saving
my life…”

Further down the line, at:

A Place Where Outlaws Have No Meaning

“She laughs in silence and looks
at me, her eyes wanting a 52 pick up match.”

A beautiful disarray all in the name of collection..or recollection.

Across the way stands:

Stained Glass Martha

“Sometimes her eyes would 
notice puffs of breath in red,
sometimes green, or even blue.
his head was made of numerous
parts, ovals, rectangles, triangles,
and squares, each one containing
a different emotion attached
and told by color schemes.”

At this fork, you will find Reardon a romantic at heart-in love with brute tragedy and simplistic deviation from such terms as outlaw or anatomy. He makes the heart a boxing match, a four-sided ring with the image of truth in one corner and the bloody silohuette of memory in the other. There is no clearly defined victor of course; only the punches thrown in the dark and the subsequent bruising.

The title poem:

Interstate Chokehold

is a more of a series of affirmations for himself than for the reader. A pledge that although he finds his identity in the “pause” of his heart, he knows that it is not the lasting version of identity itself. That some new, updated version be born of the tension in the struggle.

“It is up to you and I
to lay the ground work that breaks a chokehold.”

He refuses to be comfortable. Comfortability leads to a stale existence. But conflict, internally recognized and fully embraced-leads to glorious battles..ample losses and victories.

“I am myself when the world is in the pause of my heart,
interstate chokehold, a six pack,
and a blonde bride lighting another cigarette…
everyone else is always gone.”