HUNCKE by Rick Mullin
The ghost in the machine (see title page)
is just around the corner. Leave him there.
His mechanism is the hemorrhage.
He bleeds into the scene. He's no Voltaire,
But the Enlightenment and golden age
Beatitudes, the poems and the prayer
to come, will bear his stamp. Defining "Beat,"
the prostitute enables the conceit.
Originally published in 2010, this second edition of Huncke is a reconsideration. Many of the stanzas have been improved with care taken to keep the original narrative on track. That narrative, which uses Herbert Huncke as a scaffold for a gloss on American social issues, art, and history, has been extended with the "discovery" of a lost canto.
With afterwords by PAUL STEVENS and SIHAM KARAMI.
Illustrated with 17 paintings by the author.
An epic narrative poem where time is a many-layered thing, Huncke is a world-in-a-poem, where its titular hero/anti-hero, inspiration and name-giver to the Beat Poets appears in many dimensions: in memory, in history, in the here-and-now, in poetry, in dialogue with "angels" and "ghosts", in holographic animations, in real and fictitious characters of every stripe, all contained within the constraints of a medieval form (ottava rima to the cognoscenti) that creates the sense of a forest or a feast of cantos winding their way, stoned-soul fashion, through haunted catacombs or buzzing "red-yellow" honeycombs, an underground world that all begins at a poetry reading attended by Mullin himself.
This is clearly not the sort of poetry that "molders in the stacks / of storage rooms," but the kind that actively creates a world whose ecosystem can't help but stimulate a heightened awareness of the interaction between life, politics, and art; an ecosystem that also contains, for your reading pleasure, a funhouse, where you will definitely get deliriously lost.
(SIHAM KARAMI / author, To Love The River)
Illustrated by the author