Published on January 26th, 2023 | by Conor Hultman0
Book Review: “Your Aeon” and “Revolution of You” by Atticus “Little Tank” Davis
Your Aeon and Revolution of You
by Atticus “Little Tank” Davis
Expat Press ($16) and Self-published ($12)
Your Aeon starts with a steel-toed boot pressed hard on the gas, poetically speaking.
“Who’s going to love without asking you to drink their Kool-Aid?” the poet asks on the very first page, in “Chet Baker Huffing a Gas Rag.” Imagery is kept to the essentials, second person is frequent (but unlike the confessionals, this is an interrogative, sometimes accusatory second person), and the effect is like what comes on after being alone in the dark in front of a mirror for too long. This is derealized poetry, a talented description of alienation so total as to be mystical. “When I marry you / I want our house / to sound like you.”
Atticus Davis is working the emotive field with some strange tools. “Stigmatize people you’d never approach in real life so people are / just as discouraged as you.” This potent distillation of loathing could be directed at the world, another, or the self. “Horror vacue: your fear of blank space / drawing on today’s dread of anything relaxing / for fear the police dogs are sniffing at your door.”
These poems blow open the same type of psychic space as something like No Exit. Hell is other people, and what the hell, you’re a person too. Your Aeon ends with prose that carries the desperation, obsession, and hopeful despair that the poems prime the reader for.
What a pleasure it is, then, to read a poet’s collections back-to-back and see a firm upward stylistic and tonal progression. Revolution of You sees Atticus “Little Tank” Davis painting pictures of suffering just as potent, as in “untitled 2”:
crushed under the heel of the orwellian face stomping boot
like a nut
the grass that is trampled
the men in between first love and now
a trail of broken hearts like a trail of dead
But these bleak vistas are shot through with an earnest optimism and self-assuredness. “I will survive off nothing / love is of no priority”; “I want to feel small but whole / humbled.” There is a shining faith in the self coming through, in the language and even in the form, now less experimental and more dependent on words in congress with each other only. There is a spiritual bedrock girding these poems, against the kind of nihilism one can see shining underneath Your Aeon. The title poem says it all:
burning a black flag
a revolt against revolt
revolution of you
Either of these collections, by themselves, are grand. Taken together, they are a holistic x-ray of the psyche, an artistic exploded view of what you’re feeling.
Your Aeon is available to order from the publisher: https://expatpress.com/product/aeon-atticus-davis/.
Revolution of You is available to order from Square Books.