Ben Mirov on Ben Mirov.
GHOST MACHINE (Caketrain Press; May 2010) by Ben Mirov is 110 pages long. It is composed of 42 individual poems. Many of the poems were composed between 2006 and 2007 in the Mission District of San Francisco, California. The poems in GHOST MACHINE can be best described as collage poems. The poems frequently reuse certain lines, putting them into new contexts. Words like and, or, it and a recur frequently throughout the collection. Pronouns such as I, he, she and they also frequently recur. This repetition of words and sentences contributes to the sense that these poems are pretty boring. Very little seems to happen in individual poems and throughout the course of the collection. Many parts of the book seem to encapsulate moments where very little to absolutely nothing occurs. Here is a selection of some of the most boring sentences in the book:
1.) I was buying broccoli.
2.) I’m sleeping on a couch.
3.) I switch cheese steak for burrito and feel the same.
4.) My ideas are boring.
5.) I switch Hot Lesbian Sandwich for Elements Taken From Trees.
6.) I look at a plastic bottle.
7.) We find a boring lake.
8.) My penis looks at a table
9.) They have office-sex.
10.) I hang around on someone else’s couch.
Many of the sentences in GHOST MACHINE are about a young, occasionally unemployed male who spends most of his time making poor life decisions, in bad relationships, at bars or parks or asleep. The narrator in these poems seems like an undesirable individual who lacks a strong sense of ethics. The narrator in GHOST MACHINE can best be described as passive, emotionally ambivalent, under the influence of illegal narcotics, horny, lonely, confused or all of the above. Many of the sentences encapsulate moments of extreme ephemerality. Some of the sentences contain typos and or make very little sense. A large number of the sentences seem detached from reality. At times the book seems to contain a linear narrative, but mostly the narrative threads don’t go anywhere. Here is a list of places it would be good to read GHOST MACHINE:
1.) 2007, Hush Hush Bar, San Francisco, CA (14th and Gurrero)
3.) 2079: San Angeles, People’s Republic of California
4.) riding the “porcelain tractor”
5.) kitchen floor
6.) in bed, fully clothed, 2-4pm
7.) shower, fully clothed, crying
8.) next to refrigerator, naked, crying
9.) street corner, invisible, crying
10.) next to Ben Mirov, naked, in a loud high pitched falsetto
After reading this book somewhere between 200 or 300 times, I believe it is fatally flawed. Many of the poems seem content to be total failures. It seems like the only thing GHOST MACHINE succeeds at is failing. Here is a list of things you can do with your copy of GHOST MACHINE, besides reading it:
1.) Inadequate Halloween Mask
2.) short-range frisbee
4.) sandwich pedestal
5.) time machine
6.) mobius strip
7.) Valentine’s Day gift for loved one.
8.) Mother’s Day gift.
9.) 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective People
As a work of literature, GHOST MACHINE will probably never be considered “an eternal classic.” It will probably never be mentioned in the same sentence as works of literature such as The Selected Poems of W.H. Auden, or that one poem by Edgar Allen Poe about the bird. If this book ever becomes a well-regarded piece of literature, it will probably happen sometime in the future, like the year 2060. Someone, probably a disillusioned grad student, will find a copy of GHOST MACHINE in the dollar bin at a used bookstore and attempt to write his or her thesis on it. The thesis will receive a B minus, but because of the obscurity of the book, the grad student’s peers will embrace it as a lost classic. Consequently, they will write many posts about it on various literature blogs and futuristic media outlets, thereby rescuing GHOST MACHINE from total obscurity and improving their credibility amongst small select groups of their peers. GHOST MACHINE will go on to determine the course of American Poetry for about two or three weeks, but the author, Ben Mirov won’t care because he will have spent his entire life working as an adjunct English professor in downtown Brooklyn or he will have moved to Chico, California to raise llamas and die alone.