I wanted to say Damn this book, it is labeled as a poetry collection but it isn’t poetry, it is a smattering of pseudo blog posts that have little to do with literature except that they are written and published – otherwise, they are only sex-lists, filth-of-consciousness, and personal scandal spread as far and wide as a whore’s legs, open for business in the same way that all who wrote blogs prostituted themselves to the cyber-world.
I wanted to, but I can’t, because Megan Boyle’s writing crept over me the way I suppose crabs do, as an infestation, and this review is maybe the only way for me to shave and de-louse.
What holds my interest the most in Selected Unpublished Blog Posts of a Mexican Panda Express Employee, the latest release from Tao Lin’s Muumuu House, is the idea of negation in tandem with an explosion of revelations. How Boyle wraps the internet into this crazy romp of a poetry collection bursting with sex and embarrassment and rampant, unchecked honesty is astounding.
‘Selected’ means not all were included. This is the first act of negation, of withholding. And though this book is clearly a concrete publication, the idea is that these were posts unpublished by the blog’s author at the time, making ‘Unpublished’ another act of negation. And what is a blog, a personal one? It is a dead tool at this point, the world having moved on, but in its prime personal blogs were the ultimate negation: Who wanted to read what you had to say other than your family and friends? (and even they only pretended to subscribe to your feed sometimes). A blog was an act of simultaneous revelation and negation, a futile attempt to be heard in a place where you couldn’t amplify your voice enough. Selected Unpublished Blog Posts of a Mexican Panda Express Employee is mired in negation but also revels in being a part of the internet where people revealed themselves, the selves they were ashamed of, embarrassed by, and saddened with.
The title is what grabbed me, what made me want to read Boyle’s book, but this poem in particular is what turned my opening volley of anger into a mush of compromise, coming to see what Boyle was doing inside of this festering sore she had created, these poems:
there was a big snowstorm and i didn’t have school or work last week
minimal contact with other humans, minimal showering
on thursday night I drank a bottle of wine by myself and some old
friends from high school simultaneously texted me ‘14/m/md wanna
then we text message cyber sex
they would send me text messages at the same time
think i took it up the butt and got it in the mouth and face too, said i
wanted to be ‘blinded with cum’ then ‘sat on their faces’
i asked where they were and they were too far away for me to hang
out with them
a few minutes later i drunk dialed my mom and told her i loved her
and didn’t want her to die, ever
the light in my living room looked pretty from the snow at night
This is a beautifully complex poem that doesn’t look like a poem or sound like a poem but that seeps into a reader as a poem, eventually, when we aren’t ready or prepared. And it is poems like these in Selected Unpublished Blog Posts of a Mexican Panda Express Employee that Megan Boyle used to make my anger subside, that brought me in another direction, that took me to a place where this book stirred me, and it will stir others, and for that it is a collection worth reading.
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by Joe Reese
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