John Turi?s Tequila Mockinbird-Poetry and Prose
Twenty one pages into John Turi’s Tequila Mockinbird-Poetry and Prose, the reader is reminded of the author’s disclaimer that the pieces in this collection are entirely "works of fiction." Turi’s first words in, "There is Nothing" state, "There is nothing good that comes from reminiscence." So is it true what he claims: that this collection is purely a work of fiction? Not quite.
Granted this collection isn’t self confessional, nor does it travel through spiritual or philosophical ruminations; nevertheless, Tequila touches upon the themes that run through Turi’s psyche and emotional depths. In fact for such a short collection, Turi manages to run a gamut of themes-death, social commentary on rape, personal relationship dynamics, and finally to writing itself-all without losing a beat.
Turi’s disclaimer can be taken to heart as much as Mark E. Smith’s statement that his lyrics aren’t about himself. This is especially true in his explorations of the male psyche, such as "Oedipus Doula," where clearly Turi manages to have done plenty of self exploration even as the ease of flow in his verse may lead the reader to think otherwise:
“The suffering of man is the key to his search
To drive the force of cock back into the woman
Is the only power a man thinks he is worth
Even if it is to a passing whore
Whose goal is give them self…
…The journey began when the first stench of breath
When man was flung into the world
To find her again
And when the time came for man
To show his rewards to the queen
All she could say was-
No, she is not the one, keep looking
The cunt who deserves my son waits
Smell her out and then come back…”
Turi’s prose manages to hide within the veil of fiction more easily. He makes good on his claim that Long Beach is the only city worth writing about, as he envelops these stories within with imagery of this city. His works are more character oriented, obviously, but the same themes touched upon the poetry portion are expanded and given new life and dimension using the characters in each story.
In the prose section the reader gets to meet the people who experience the emotions within the poetry. It is these people who ultimately make up the one central person that encompasses the emotional state of Turi’s persona. It is this persona in turn that manages to make Tequila Mockinbird-Poetry and Prose a raw and focused exploration of the more bleak aspects of intimacy in human beings.
Tequila Mockinbird-Poetry and Prose, 2005 Medium Rare Books, ISBN 0-9745927-7-3