07 November 2006


Charles Borkhuis's intriguing and powerful new work, Afterimage, is now out from Chax. I am so happy to be a part of this book, as publisher and book designer and delighted reader. I read the mss. first on an airplane a couple of years ago. It made the flight a great one, and I have been enthused about the work ever since, and continuing. Here's a snippet that may let you see why
echo's end
begin again

a little girl
hands me a blue box
I'm the birthday boy
pulling past the ribbons and wrapping
to a small bloody tooth
buried in white tissue

she smiles showing me
the space between her teeth
I want to climb in
but her mom's flash to the retina
goes off like a warning shot's first kiss

I stumble back in sparks
clouds roam through my temples
and the earth turns
in the opposite direction
Here's what Sharon Mesmer has to say about the book.
At the beginning of Chris Marker’s film Sans Soleil, the narrator says, “. . . in the nineteenth century, mankind had come to terms with space, and that the great question of the twentieth was the coexistence of different notions of time.” Like Marker’s film, Charles Borkhuis’ book-length poem Afterimage speaks brilliantly to that question in terms of the image/language connection. A plain-spoken (though subtly metered) narrative threads through a cinematic run of constantly reconfigured images, to bind them in time, but loosely, leaving enough space for readers to enter. Characters appear, but as “traces that self erase/or are transformed into repeating voices”; sometimes we recognize them, but it is characters from our own dreams that we are seeing. Likewise the “story” seems familiar, but it is a story from our dreams. One of the many strengths of “Afterimage” is the way Borkhuis illuminates the personal, so that we suddenly see its universality, and thus become like viewers in a darkened theater, together and alone, drawn to strange but familiar objects that flicker in and out of light.
And here's what Rodrigo Toscano has to say.
Charles Borkhuis is one of our most merciless vivisectors of the logics of bodypower exchange. We’re talking forensics here, not schematology. Like Hieronymous Bosch and William Burroughs before him, his art collapses cosmos onto mundus causing “reality” beneath our feet to crack open. Demons and angels (supersolid forms of evanescent knowledge) begin a wild romp in the
a f t e r i m a g e of that collapse. The dystopic postmodern city becomes at once funnier & more frightening. The Social Psychology Research wing of Borkhuis Poeticworks has been especially created to debrief each of us on our status as triple agents of late capitalism. You have special clearance. But so does everybody else. What the. Exactly. Add this book to your spy kit.
I hope you somehow read it and find out for yourself. It's not up on the Chax web site yet, but will be soon. Also will be available soon if not already from Small Press Distribution.

I'm working on 9 other books, simultaneously, at Chax Press right now. The ones to go to press almost immediately are SWOON NOIR, by Bruce Andrews, ANALECTS on a CHINESE SCREEN, by Glenn Mott, SINCE I MOVED IN, by Tim Peterson, and MIRTH, by Linda V. Russo. SENTIMENTAL BLUE, by Jefferson Carter, was just sent off to be printed. We're nearing the last stretch of a fine handmade book in the studio, by Kathleen Fraser & Nancy Tokar Miller; and we're even closer to finishing an artist's book by Dennis Williams that compiles photo-documents from performance art and other events by Williams. We're in proofreading stages of BEGIN AT ONCE, by Beth Joselow. We've passed that point with SOUND REMAINS by John Tritica, and are still working hard at layout on MEDITATIONS IN CROWDED AIR, by Gene Frumkin. So look for new Chax Press books in November, December, and January. We could publish as many as 15 books in 2007, some of which will come out a bit in advance of the new year.