Saturday, July 24, 2021

"i saw god cooking children / paint their bones" by John Compton, reviewed by Hex'm Jai

Greetings and salutations bibliophiles!

This is a small and powerful collection.  I make it no secret that I am sucker for well crafted imagery.  If poetry or the literary canon were an organized religion, I would be a devout zealot of the deities Rimbaud and Baudelaire.  That said, there is imagery and then there is IMAGERYIMAGERY being beyond the aesthetically pleasing window dressing of ‘imagery’ which, unfortunately, is the more prevalent of the two.  ‘Imagery’ is decorative, it is filagree, form without function and therefore, though beautiful like a floral arrangement, ultimately free of substance.  IMAGERY on the other hand is a fantastic delivery system.  It provides the same aesthetic nature of ‘imagery’ but with function and purpose.  It’s not just ‘pretty,’ it is engaging and transportive; it can be beatific / horrific but always has an effect beyond two dimensions.  IMAGERY is visceral.

Reading this collection is like being emersed in barrage of film shorts…each image or scene carefully crafted and delivered to your core.  Through his concise use of IMAGERY, John paints images into your eye that you can feel, taste, hear and smell as well as see.  Through this delivery system you are provided with both emotion and meaning that you can experience.  These are not longwinded, verbose bouquets of language.  You will not become lost in impressionistic imagery and texture.  You will BECOME the imagery and texture and therefore experience it.

Sample poem from i saw god cooking children / paint their bones:

like & but & &

i went into the room


a song bleeds from my ears

i am deaf

i lie on my back

floating          the river

is dense

saltwater like

the dead sea

like the salt


somewhere in utah

like a log like a

dead fish like a leaf

i drift

in my current

unharmed but


but screaming

but somewhere there is an old lady


swimming to me

paddling & clawing

through the liquid substance

digging at my eyes

my mouth my chest

clotting my ears

with her fingers

with cotton

breathing into my lungs

her oxygen her carbon

dioxide her meager life

When you have finished this collection, you can put it on the shelf right next to “Les Fleurs du Mal”. 


i saw god cooking children / paint their bones

is available at Etsy via Blood Pudding Press

john compton (b. 1987) is gay poet who lives in kentucky. his poetry resides in his chest like many hearts & they bloom like vigorously infectious wild flowers. he lives in a tiny town, with his husband josh and their 14 dogs and 3 cats. he feels his head is an auditorium filled with the dead poets from the past. poems are written and edited constantly. his poetry is a personal journey. he reaches for things close and far, trying to give them life: growing up gay; having mental health issues; a journey into his childhood; the world that surrounds us. he writes to be alive, to learn and to grow. he loves imagery, metaphor, simile, abstract language, sounds, when one word can drift you into another direction. he loves playing with vocabulary, creating texture and emotions. he has published 1 book and 5 chapbooks published and forthcoming: trainride elsewhere (august 2016) from Pressed Wafer/tba; that moan like a saxophone (december 2016) from kindle; ampersand (march 2018) from Plan B Press; a child growing wild inside the mothering womb (june 2020) from ghost city press; i saw god cooking children / paint their bones (oct 2020) from blood pudding press; to wash all the pretty things off my skin (sept 2021) from ethel zine & micro-press. he has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies.

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