Kristine Muslim's Reviews > Conditions of Sentient Life

Conditions of Sentient Life by Bruce Poston
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Aug 05, 2008

it was amazing

Conditions of Sentient Life is a one-of-a-kind collection of 44 poems and flash fictions on dark red text against gorgeous cream-colored acid-free paper. The intricate illustrations are by Marge Simon. I only wished that the stunning illustration on page 35 was selected as the cover art.

The first poem, “Stars May Rise to Hell and Back,” tells the reader again and again that:

“…hunger has no mouth to sing…”

The piece’s musicality is a paean to the apocalypse which comes in various forms in the ensuing pages of the book. From the hopelessness of “Future Past: An Exercise in Horror” which starts off with:

“Assume tomorrow has already come and gone
and you now inhabit no more than a string of
damaged yesterdays…”

to the emergence of technology in “Human/Technological Dimensions on the Eve of the Bimillennium,” which scars us to the point when we end up asking ourselves:

“When did we
become so small
we can no longer
touch the moon?”

The flash fiction, “Dream of the Burmese Gardener,” is a surreal account of how galaxies are created. Mr. Saketa, one of the lascivious inhabitants of a certain manor house, carefully fashions “the first planet in the universe to be composed entirely of dead aphids.”

“Refugee” is a tight, meditative piece about the subjectivity of reality. Oh, and it doesn’t fail to entertain with juxtapositions like: “the mayor’s beautiful daughter…or is it the chimp?”

Conditions of Sentient Life is beautifully capped by “Gravity Drives the Blood and Bends the Light” which declares that

“…when we reach up it calls us down…”

These lines ring in the mind, and they ring hard.
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