Things Impossible to Swallow • poems by Pamela Garvey • number 24 in the 2River Chapbook Series2River

A Review of Manson's Album

The black and white, wide-eyed
Charlie on the cover
couldn't have prepared me for acoustic guitar, calypso
rhythm, a love-sick voice dropping
an octave: It's all in the eyes of a dreamer . . .
This could be a hotel lounge
where a man with a sliver of a mustache motions
to a lone lady in Boca Raton. The singer opens
a capella: pretty girl, pretty, pretty girl . . .  He slaps
the guitar to speed up the song, his signature
for all the catchy refrains. Clang, bang, clang
goes the big, iron door, my favorite.
Mid-album he preaches about parenting
himself in the bowels of Arkansas
where plucked strings fed him plenty.
A whore-momma and seventy-something
daddies bring his voice to a quiver, then
a crack, bolstered by women who segue into an ode
to a garbage dump, the hint of a carousel
in the melody. The sopranos preach against The Man
in leitmotifs—London Bridge, burn
all your bridges—phrases he accents with a nasal
whine as he names each woman of the “family”:
Sadie, cease to exist; Squeaky,
cease to exist; Linda, cease to exist . . .  and one voice
slightly behind another, holds that last word,
America, until barely a hum.