Spiraling Pearls, The: By Jean Paul L. Garnier, 44 pgs. By Steve Hart

The Spiraling Pearls is a collection of poems from author and musician Jean Paul L. Garnier. Enthusiastically receiving my package of things to review, I opened to the contents page in a gym that is not very well lit and began reading. However, the titles for the poetry are in lower case letters and there isn’t a number assigned to them, so the titles themselves read as poetry. “coldness/story of the hand/mark of the devil/damn the modern times/in his image/put there by the devil.” At first I thought, what is this about? Until I noticed the page was entitled, “Contents.” I felt pretty dumb at first until I remembered my poetry professor stating that poets should try to write evocative titles.

I find that poetry that is used to reflect modern society is often powerful and this is where I find Garnier’s poetry to be compelling. In the poem, “Army of Meat,” he deconstructs the meat industry and our complacency within. “…to the tune of flavor/selfish theft/they demand retribution/an army of meat…” The mechanics of the poem, with tight, terse lines, brought an immediacy to the poem and reminded me of the song, “Grass So Green,” by the San Francisco band, A State Of Mind, which was sung from an animal’s perspective.

“Money to Play With” is another striking poem that critiques the relationship between strippers and their patrons. “…at lunch have their balls stepped on by the underclass/at home, undersexed wives/see television…” Garnier points out the hypocrisy of a man looking for absolution from the Church: “…transactions are sexualized/a few words in church/washed them clear of this…”

The Spiraling Pearls is a collection of unpretentious free prose written by an author who seems to have taken his time to look within his own thoughts and at the world around him, and used his poems as a small recreation of his observations. –Steve Hart (Hipster Death Press, hipsterdeath.com)