This is the second time we’ve run a collection of Chris Shipman’s poetry. Here, like the first batch
, Shipman examines things we take for granted in their sentimentality and nostalgia: childhood, love affairs, and the like. And, again, he turns our eye toward the darker elements hidden beneath: it ain’t all Coco Puffs and rainbows. Shipman's poems reexamine the mundane, always able to find the sadness, humor, and—most importantly—the magic within that mundaneness. A cloud becomes a broken man, birthday girls cry most of the time, and sometimes it’s just not worth getting out of bed.
"One of the most heartfelt and humble admissions that could be applied throughout the collection, comes in 'Still Life with Lenny Bruce in Jail,' where because 'This whole generation’s strung out,' (meaning, both Bruce’s as well as our own), the speaker watches the late Bruce inject heroin in his arm because 'you don’t care, so I won’t too/As the cop down the hall watches me watch/You shoot up.' Such a line is important, not for the depiction of someone famous and controversial chasing the dragon, but because it illustrates that Long’s speaker is capable of being witnessed—just as we witness Bruce through his eyes, he is, and so are we, witnessed elsewhere. Just as with Long’s Kafka, we look at the subjects of Long’s still lives-in-motion, but we cannot see through him because he undercuts his speaker’s omniscience habitually, opting for the human, the tragically fucked up, and the carelessness-prone over the invisibly perfect..."