John Dorsey's and S.A. Griffin's Virginerotica
Two very distinct styles from two great poets: SA. Griffin uses the title as a first line, paints pictures, evokes feelings with his words and takes you inside himself, where he lets you see out through his eyes at the world around him, his lens-your emotional reaction; John Dorsey, on the other hand, demonstrates a stream of consciousness roller coaster ride through each and every fractured image, thought, and synchronistic connection he can fathom. Dorsey uses names of others to mark a pin point - a place in space and time that is easy to reference if you know the name or have a concept of the persona he is describing.
This is Kerouac's Mexico City Blues on meth; it is fast and jumps in harrowing turns through history and around the planet. The best pieces are different from each other; the one collaborative poem, “On the Road to Kingdom Come,” that would seem an uneasy work is a well-blended mixture of lime and whiskey as well as a reflection of the mutual admiration expressed for each other's styles.
The best lines of these poems provoke thought and compassion: From Griffin’s “On the Wall” where "...eyes half shut in mellow introspective ecstasy like some high bred mongrel animal...;" to Dorsey’s “The Hunger of Divine Mermaids” when "I used to play with starvation that black cat of magic as if it were my daughter though there was nothing there but a plate of hollow bones carving out dead languages..."; to Griffin’s “Love Poem for My Wife”in which he becomes "...a sucker for such sweet affairs built upon the slightest gesture I will die as I live happily lost in the forest of the real."
The drawbacks are few. Dorsey’s work requires a great deal of concentration to grasp all the nuances. The name dropping can be overwhelming if read all at once, though, granted, it is a more modern flow style, and if you dig that none of this will bother you. Griffin challenges the status quo by reminding folks that hatred of white people is still hatred, no matter how justified it may be in your mind.
Virginerotica is powerful and moving. Dorsey and Griffin’s words and the well placed graphics make Virginerotica a book not just for a quick read, but one for the collection.
Virginerotica, copyright 2006 John Dorsey and S.A. Griffin, Greenpanda Press, 3174 Berkshire Rd. Cleveland Ohio 44118, $ 8