Ascent

Ascent by Matt Bialer

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Authors: Matt Bialer
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PRAISE FOR MATTHEW BAILER
    Matthew Bialer’s epic historical, lyrically explosive, narrative poem, ASCENT, about what happens when ‘a flash of light’ hits the town of Van Meter is immediately generative. That is, it generates speed and tenderness and devotion—to a vision, Bialer’s vision—which is superlative and, ultimately, generous. This poem is a gift of the imagination rooted in ‘a happening’—a creature, a creature!—because Bialer has figured out his own way of telling a story through poetry. His cadences coupled with his imagery allow the reader to be swallowed up completely. This poem is a visitation in as much as ‘the creature’ that visited Van Meter in 1903 was a visitation. The difference, though, is that Bialer’s poem is about the beauty that comes with mystery and not the fear that can take hold when something unknown enters the psyche, the field of what is and what is not. Whatever you do, hold your breath, take your time, and become swept up in Bialer’s illumination and brilliance.
    —Matthew Lippman
    author of AMERICAN CHEW and MONKEY BARS
    When everyone else seems to be exploring their own navels or has just figured out that “language” doesn’t “mean” “anything”, Bialer takes our hand and pulls us outward into a much larger, stranger world. Bialer is a successful street photographer and painter and he brings his artist’s eye to these amazing poems, showing us the unspectacular real world behind the supernatural. These are poems that celebrate imagination and folly and the heartbreak that is being human and trying to make sense of a world that is infinitely bigger than even the craziest of us imagines. I read a lot of poems and I never have come across anything quite as beautifully strange as Bialer’s.
    —Matthew Rohrer
    Author of RISE UP and DESTROYER AND PRESERVER
    Matt Bialer’s epic poem, Ascent, is a chilling dive among America’s forgotten monsters, that still dwell in the walled-up caves of the Striped Beast’s subconscious.
    —Seb Doubinsky
    Author of GOODBYE BABYLON and SONG OF SYNTH
    “The most intriguing poetry collection of the year for me was Matt Bialer’s collected narrative poems—we’re not talking “The Cremation of Sam McGee” here. These are sharp, modern narratives, my favorite being one about Charles Fort.”
    —Lucius Shepard

Bizarro Pulp Press
    an imprint of JournalStone Publishing
    Detroit*San Fransisco
    www.BIZARROPULPPRESS.com
    Ascent
    Copyright © 2014 Matthew Bialer
    All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval systems, without the written consent of the publisher, except where permitted by law.
    Printed in the USA.
    Cover Design: P.A. Douglas
    Interior layout by Lori Michelle
    www.theauthorsalley.com

FOR MY FRIEND AND GREAT POET AND NOVELIST
    SEB DOUBINSKY

In the darkness
    He thinks he sees
    A flash of light
    1 AM
    Ulysses G. Griffith
    Of Brothers Implement
    Implement seed
    And vehicle business
    Pulls into hometown
    Of Van Meter
    In his brand new Model A
    Two cylinder engine
    Ten speed transmission
    With full elliptical leaf springs
    At the rear
    Mechanical brakes
    A flash of light
    In the darkness
    Coming from the roof
    Mather and Gregg’s Building
    A light
    Like a search beam
    Where there has never
    Been one before
    Gets out of the vehicle
    Adjusts his sack coat
    Waist coat and trousers
    Walks over
    Where there has never
    Been one before
    What is that light?
    A burglar?
    Looks up
    At the brick building
    Cautiously
    Walks closer
    Nose twitches
    Foul sulfur odor
    A flash of light
    Something strange
    Unexpected
    The light
    Floats across the street
    Relieved
    That it’s not a burglar
    But what is that?
    Floats
    To another rooftop
    Opposite side of the street
    What is that?
    And how?
    How in the name of God?
    The light dims
    Gone
    To open their eyes
    And to turn

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