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Poetry Book Review:

Lassoed With A Decorative Tongue

by Eric David Lough

lassoed with a decorative tongueEric David Lough in Lassoed With A Decorative Tongue seeks to bring Baudelaire into the 21st century using symbolism and free verse word swirls of titillating sweets. He often succeeds, but nearly as often his images fall like flies zapped with bug spray.

Still, I give him credit for the effort. On the back jacket of his book, which I must say is a cleverly packaged product with a finely crafted front cover, he borrows a quote from Baudelaire in a very fitting tribute:

The poet is like the prince of clouds, who rides the tempest and scorns the archer. Exiled on the ground, amidst boos and insults, his giant wings prevent his walking."
Taken from his poem "The Albatross", Baudelaire was likening poets to a bird that flies but what he's really saying is more akin to the metaphorical meaning of albatross, that poets are heavy burdens when at their best. It may mean to say that poets are both a blessing and a curse, able to free themselves of the burdens of ordinary men while burdening such even more with troubles beyond their dreams. If only Lough lived up to that expectation.

Lassoed With A Decorative Tongue has its moments. There are some great lines and some good poems, but there are also miserable failures. Lough needs to heed the words of Oscar Wilde and spend more time pulling the weeds out of the garden of his words. At his worst, Lough tries too hard to contain the mysteries of life; at his best he shines like a gold watch. His erotic sensuality is delectable. Examine these words from "The One," easily one of the best poems in Lassoed:
my bed head wake me up
my scone
my kona with cream
I wanna spank your ass
pull your hair
throw you into ecstasy
my blonde beauty full of innocence
my dirty little dream
pump my penis full of blood
pump it damn hard
pump it until it makes no sense
force me to shoot my lard on the coffee shop walls
across the wooden floors
make me have the best goddamn morning
than (sic)
All of his poems are not this sex-laden, but those that are might be his best. He also covers more mundane topics, but his word play is far from being common. Even reading the bad poems is like gawking at a surreal painting even if doing so as the canvas drips with wet paint.

Lough likes the short line, and the one word line in particular, which I think he overuses to the detriment of a sound device. He is at his best when he writes in the minimal mode. When he drifts into longer verse he tends to get wordy and hackneyed. Many of his lines are flat out fabulous, but most of those are stuck in the midst of mediocrity, which makes it difficult to truly enjoy most of the poems of the collection.

A bit more discipline and a lot more cut-throat self editing could carve Lough into an excellent poet. He's got the imagination. He just needs the scythe.

Order your copy of

Lassoed With A Decorative Tongue
by Eric David Lough


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