NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
ROB A MACKENZIE: THE CLOWN OF NATURAL SORROW
HappenStance
21 Hatton Green
Glenrothes
Fife
KY7 4SD
UK
ISBN 0 9550280 4 3
3

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ROB A MACKENZIE: THE CLOWN OF NATURAL SORROW

Rob's vision falls into the periphery, in the title poem, the clown:

	He steals sticks of rock
	   from the mouths of children,
	sharpens then into stakes
	for the heart, or in gentler
	   mode, juggles eggs on
	the brink of hatching, careful
	   to drop all but one.
	That's his version of hope...
That's not to make the poems marginal, but a reflection of where the poet leads us: to the slipstream, the borders where a look at the strange tells us more about usual life. HAPPINESS falls somewhere before the kettle boils:
	...Then steam filmed across your eyes, floated them
	on its raft of dissipating vapour to the East wind,
	which smoothed out the scars on a rock's proud face
	and froze a crow's feet to a sycamore branch.
	It dropped you somewhere between the happiness
	you already missed and the one you'll never possess...
There's humour too and a neat way with portraits which expands them beyond the canvas, eg in THE BABYSITTER with a McDonald's meal and his daughter sharing it:
	...Will she end up like Janice, skin like a seal, eyes
	that seem to blur behind a film of grease, breasts

	that roost like lumpy sacks on her paunch?  Those breasts,
	what must they be like to touch?  My wife says, Time,
	and glares.  As if she knows exactly what I'm thinking.
The production values are elegant too: an ink drawing of the title poem on the lilac card cover and blue flyleaves with the poems typeset on cream paper. A solid debut.

reviewer: Emma Lee.