THE FRANK POEMS by CAConrad, with German translations by Holger with assistance from Jonas Slonaker and Sigrid Mayer
(ypolita press, 2007)
CAConrad’s Schadenfreude, a mini review of THE FRANK POEMS
N.B. THE FRANK POEMS is a small chapbook of poetry that proves ‘Frank’ exists, each poem taken from a different time in his life. They number 19 in all and come translated into German.
CAConrad has taken his mother’s children, and like George Foreman’s Audio Science German Electric Grandmother Translator, named them all Frank.
When Frank was born, his daughter had no cunt. His son was without cunt too. Possessive to possessive, the daughter’s cunt who isn’t born, the subject of tidings, “this is your awful son Dear/your son has no cunt” she-male, he-male: the power of Fe-mah-lee compels you!
In traditional societies, anthropologists will study the television family and conclude that a son’s possession of a cunt refers to an object foreign to his body but constantly wanting to get on his body. The objectification of women is expressed in fatherly language via Whack-a-mole imagery, like this:
“My son’s a real ladies man. He has to beat them away with a stick.”
These are statements only possible in a maimed world, wicked, dark and spinning on one leg, maimed like a son without a cunt, like a daughter with one in male-dominant societies, one child regulatory China. CAConrad debunks the stereotype of lacking, not merely of being without “cock” and “cunt,” but by missing, lacking. The Spanish speaker knows that the former exists only as a physical state (Estar), the latter as a permanent physical trait (Ser). The absence of the one object adorns the whole object of which it should be part, and designated by that omission as belonging to a maimed world, a maimed body. DARK!
Frank is masochistic and seeks capital:
Frank puts 4, 5, 6
he lights a match
gold it’ll knock
out of his head
CAConrad takes on ‘eating with crow,’ Frank takes capital from his father’s mouth:
Frank grew crows for hands
it was a difficult childhood
at dinner during prayer
his crows flapped
excited in the name of the Lord
“FRANK! KEEP STILL!” Mother hollered
“did you wash your crows!?
Did you wash your FILTHY STINKING CROWS!?”
when Father died
Frank was found
his crows picking the seven
Here it isn’t enough to know that Frank grows “crows for hands,” but that this might not necessarily be the reason of his difficult upbringing. We aren’t told. We make the jump, we assume, “it was a difficult childhood,” because of the crow hands, but we can’t be sure. What made up his feet?
Scavengers by nature, crows hear the name of the (dead) Lord and become excited, either in Halleluiah-esque reverence, or with the prospect of a fresh dinner. CAConrad operates in the dark scales, not necessarily composing the seedy underbelly, but the probability that it’s the rot we’re all here to see.
Frank is sentient. CAConrad delivers, in short lines, a narrative of hate:
Frank hated the 9 miscarriages
kept in jars of formaldehyde
Mother burped each one
spooned peas against the glass
she rocked them all at once in her arms
no room for Frank
“you are too big for a jar my child
you will betray me the rest of your life”
“The” nine miscarriages are definite, and caged, souvenirs of both fertility and the inability to bring to term, similar to having poems written about you when you hate, and hate poetry, Frank!
But Frank seeks the fire escape. He will betray in his growth. And he grows, “too big for a jar,” taking refuge from his mother, the miscarriage tally catching up. Frank’s joy must be constrained: These very appliances offer evidence as to why -- to date -- he’s an only child. One bullet missed. Frank seems accidental, an irony I can live with since he remains in the chapbook, a now-finite creation.
Ryan Daley, malcontent, sometimes el infante terrible, other times El Chupacabra, grew up in Georgia and New York, mixing accents and 80s childhood slang. From there, it gets foggy: New York to Maryland to Spain to Florida to Costa Rica to Providence to New York City, where he now resides, teaches, drinks coffee and writes. His work has appeared previously in Galatea Resurrects #8, GlitterPony, JACKET, Shampoo, COMBO, horse less press, and the-hold. He thanks you for your time. He wants input on how to NOT sound faux-naif.