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review 2016-04-02 15:26
Your Glass Head Against The Brick Parade of Now Whats by Sam Pink
Your Glass Head against the Brick Parade of Now Whats: A Beautiful Nice Poem - Sam Pink

Or as Pink subtitles it, "A beautiful nice poem". Now I´m no stranger to Pink´s prose, having previously read Person and Witch Piss, but it´s the first time I have dived into the madness of his poetry. I´m with him on the beautiful part, even I have a slight different definition of nice.

It would be easy to write a 2000 word essay about depression and suicide but ain´t no need for that, Sam Pink did that one already and he did it better than - maybe not everyone else - but at a minimum better than I would be able to do.

Kind of similar as to everybody´s darling Melissa Broder´s @sosadtoday Twitter account you have to laugh about the dark things in life in Your Glass Head Against The Brick Parade of Now Whats as not completely get bend out of shape. It simply would hurt too much otherwise. Sam Pink doesn´t care one bit to be "empowering" or "uplifting", he chases demons instead. His prose poetry in Your Glass Head Against The Brick Parade of Now Whats - the title is borrowed from a sentence in the book - is pretty messed up and dark and ... alright, it´s depressive as fuck; if you let it affect you that way.

There is a reoccuring theme, or a pattern, of the "firing squad"; from "talking shit" to "spitting at" to "making friends" to "laughing at" where life is like that. From depressing to overwhelming to "Smiling/laughing more not out of joy but out of a feeling like, ´Yeah, fuck this.´"

(Unrelated fun fact: Since 1960 there have been three executions of death row inmates in the USA by firing squad, all in Utah.)

Which the masochist in me appreciates, not the death sentence by firing squad, but the writing. I would think (almost) everyone has those thoughts once in a while, which makes Pink´s stream of consciousness style so endearing and charming. Those mental pictures of my own which makes myself creep out, just Sam Pink writes them down and makes a book out of it, where despair is established in a lackluster of a reality that happens exclusive in his dark thoughts. Or like if you are standing in an empty room, alone, and the walls suddenly demand to know what you think is going to happen. Doesn´t sound like much fun to me.

Still, I feel like with his honesty he is taking a bullet for the team. He has the tools (words) to talk about all those shitty things in life, which makes it even more exciting to be alive, and indeed read about what is not only Pink´s darkness but everybody´s, one way or the other, including my own. It is powerful in a way that is unique to Pink and Pink alone, and actually not very far from his more usual books. His sarcasm comes across as wildly inappropriate, but that´s kinda the point of sarcasm. "Death like the slow addition of more and more tiny weak hands to your throat until it works. And it works. Man, I´m telling you, it works."

From my previous reading of Pink I always left with an impression he never quite fits in, even he is not above making fun of himself as well, "Given that I´m everyone´s favorite all the time." Writing in a landscape that values different things than his characters who have nowhere to go and nowhere to be, even it is clearly designed as something born from the consequence of the times we live in, where there are "Ideas instead of personalities. Moments instead of life. Like who the fuck left me here."

The whole book is like tidbits, drawn from every day life, that seemed - apparently - funny in this ha-ha kind of way, or remarkable, born from self-loathing without being able to distance himself/itself from it, like "a photo of myself holding a picture of the earth and doing a thumbs down." From "Painful periods of no self-worth" to "Painful periods of high self-worth."

Even yeah, I totally acknowledge that any kind of comparison is unfair and vague and does a disservice to Sam Pink. I do guess that you have to be pretty fucked up, and knowing it, to enjoy the dark humor which is between the pages. For what it is worth Sam Pink can do in a single sentence things other authors would have to write an 800-page novel to bring the same point across. It helps that this beautiful and nice poem is written like prose, using full sentences and once or twice full chapters, instead of fragments of thoughts where you have to piece together the context of what is happening.

What Pink isn´t, is sentimental. The book is like a bored, lifeless, frustrated person full of sadness and suicidal tendencies, "Shooting yourself in the back of the head while smiling at yourself in the mirror.", but never ever sentimental. Something real, a human personality.

Now excuse me, I´m off to listening to some JapaNoise or Free Jazz to get my brain back in working order. "Which means on to new problems. Because why not?"

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review 2014-07-13 15:00
Witch Piss
Witch Piss - Sam Pink

Witch Piss is about a guy who strikes up a conversation with a homeless man that leads to many days spent hanging out with several homeless people in the streets of Chicago. It's written in first person and the writing was so natural and realistic, I feel like Sam Pink actually spent time with homeless dudes. Actually... he might have. I'd be more surprised if he didn't.

 

The people the unnamed main character (possibly Sam himself?) talked to were often drunk, high, and/or missing teeth. They didn't speak with correct grammar, they pronounced words incorrectly, and sometimes they made absolutely no sense. Pink did a great job of writing the dialogue as if you were standing there listening to the people talk. I also liked that the main character always bought the homeless people food and beer. He was very sincere and generous, just a normal(ish) dude hanging out with and showing kindness to the type of people the rest of us usually try to ignore.

 

I liked this one a lot, but not as much as Sam Pink's other stuff because there weren't as many of his own thoughts. Like, it was mostly conversations he had with people rather than the stuff going on in his head. Still a great read though.

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review 2013-09-16 08:09
Person - Sam Pink

So this is what I chose to read on a Friday 13th that occurred in the ninth month of the year 2013. This is, of course, absolutely inconsequential to anything I'm about to say about this book, but then again random seems to be my middle name lately. 

More to the point, I feel like I need to start this review by saying that this is my first time ever reading bizarro fiction, as well as the first time I read a Sam Pink book. I can't say what exactly my expectations were before starting it, as the book was a very random pick for me, but I guess that's better when it comes to bizarro fiction. 

Person is not about a story you could simply tell to somebody, it's not about a certain event that occurs or a specific person that you get to know and could later describe, but neither is it some abstract text about the meaning of life or, you know, something important like that. It reads like a kind of constant stream of thoughts that each and every one of us has, like an inner dialogue triggered by everything that we are surrounded by and by things we experience. It certainly feels like this is more than one person's narration, though; not necessarily in the psycho or schizo way, but more like having in front of you a person that's a collective image of all people. The overall feel of the book is definitely more on the negative side of the feels-spectrum than on the bright side; there's loneliness (maybe intentionally sought even) and awkwardness, yet nothing feels exaggerated or overdone. Although in only 87 pages, the author manages to put the person in a lot of different situations and contexts that add up to the collective person image that makes it easy for one to relate to the narrator.

I entertain the idea that if my present life is the punishment for a former life, then I would never want to meet myself as the self of this former life.

I mean, come on, we've all been there, right?

To say this book was bizarre or strange is probably the most stupid thing I could say about it given its genre, but yes, that's what it is. It feels wrong and right, you feel bad and then you laugh. Being slightly disturbed by the feeling of being able to relate, I reached the point where I honestly asked myself "Is it bad that I can actually relate to a lot of what I read?" No, I don't think so, because I'm sure everybody in this world can find something to relate to. Every person, that is...

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review 2013-09-13 00:00
Person - Sam Pink So this is what I chose to read on a Friday 13th that occurred in the ninth month of the year 2013. This is, of course, absolutely inconsequential to anything I'm about to say about this book, but then again random seems to be my middle name lately.

More to the point, I feel like I need to start this review by saying that this is my first time ever reading bizarro fiction, as well as the first time I read a Sam Pink book. I can't say what exactly my expectations were before starting it, as the book was a very random pick for me, but I guess that's better when it comes to bizarro fiction.

Person is not about a story you could simply tell to somebody, it's not about a certain event that occurs or a specific person that you get to know and could later describe, but neither is it some abstract text about the meaning of life or, you know, something important like that. It reads like a kind of constant stream of thoughts that each and every one of us has, like an inner dialogue triggered by everything that we are surrounded by and by things we experience. It certainly feels like this is more than one person's narration, though; not necessarily in the psycho or schizo way, but more like having in front of you a person that's a collective image of all people. The overall feel of the book is definitely more on the negative side of the feels-spectrum than on the bright side; there's loneliness (maybe intentionally sought even) and awkwardness, yet nothing feels exaggerated or overdone. Although in only 87 pages, the author manages to put the person in a lot of different situations and contexts that add up to the collective person image that makes it easy for one to relate to the narrator.

I entertain the idea that if my present life is the punishment for a former life, then I would never want to meet myself as the self of this former life.

I mean, come on, we've all been there, right?

To say this book was bizarre or strange is probably the most stupid thing I could say about it given its genre, but yes, that's what it is. It feels wrong and right, you feel bad and then you laugh. Being slightly disturbed by the feeling of being able to relate, I reached the point where I honestly asked myself "Is it bad that I can actually relate to a lot of what I read?" No, I don't think so, because I'm sure everybody in this world can find something to relate to. Every person, that is...
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review 2013-07-13 00:00
Rontel
Rontel - Sam Pink This is a stream of consciousness, slice-of-life novella about a depressed guy with suicidal tendencies walking around Chicago for a day. Oh, and it has nothing resembling a plot. Nearly all the “action” of the piece takes place in the main character’s head. And, yet, despite all of this, it’s a highly entertaining and funny read. Recommended to those who aren't put off by anything written in the first few sentences of this review.
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