Review: Crazy White Devil: Poems by Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

Review by:
Lori Freshwater
on Oct. 24, 2009 :
(no rating)
Guy LeCharles Gonzalez takes the gloves right off in this wonderful collection of poetry. We know immediately that this is going to be poetry that lives up to its promise, it is going to be poetry that speaks truth. We know that because the poet tells us in “Crazy White Devil” that Evel Knievel was a better man than Elvis. “I was never inspired/to shake my hips to stolen glory/but I sped down glass-filled/urban ski slopes with abandon, /jumping curbs and milk crate ramps…” Okay, I’m an Elvis fan but I am no doubt on board with this real glory.

There are so many wonderful enjambments throughout this collection. There is pleasing and subtle internal rhyme which carries the reader along. There are many places where the beats slow and speed in marvelous ways. In the end, I came away thinking that contrary to one of the notions expressed in “Party Like a Rock Star,” some poets are indeed dancing.

Perhaps my personal favorite is “Old New York Love Story.” Perhaps that is because I was a bartender in Greenwich Village in the early 90’s, where scenes like this played out their magic in front of me so often. Or perhaps it is simply further proof of the poet’s ability to capture a sense of place, a sense of being, and a sense of humanity.

Some of the heaviest material is saved for the poems dealing with being young and “moist eyed” in the military during these uncertain times of modern war-fare and shadows for enemies. I grew up in a pit of a military town in the south, and men like the ones in these poems will be with me forever. These poems are honest, and they’re true. And we should listen carefully.

The collection is wonderfully ordered. Next Guy brings us back to the more innocent times of childhood in the touching “Breathless.” This poem reflects the painful journey of many of us who start out with a drive to make a difference, but who must face the brutal reality of changing anything, without actually giving up on the task.

I only have one suggestion for the poet. The poem “Mozer, Bethea and I” (which is wonderfully long and patient) should not end with ellipses. In should end with a period: “I know there are no easy answers.” Because there are no easy answers. Which is why we need poets like Guy LeCharles Gonzalez to help us along.

Wow! Thanks so much, Lori!

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