Review #84: ‘I Am Your Slave Now Do What I Say’ by Anthony Madrid

  • PUBLISHED BY: Canarium Books, 2012
  • REVIEW BY: Timothy Liu

madrid coverThis book is seriously funny, folks, even/especially if reading yet another ghazal written by an American poet will make you want to open up a vomitorium and start serving up some lyrical slop on that soup-kitchen line. LIU says: There’s nothing gratuitously witty here; you’ll get your money’s worth: “Tell me something about beauty. You get for free what others must pay for. / That’s why it’s an INSULT when somebody sticks their finger in your face and says to you: You’re gonna pay. // But the Christian high school where I work, I am exempt from every stricture. / I am free to play Lady Godiva riding a vibrator down the hall. // Oh violet thong underwear, exquisite and exquisitely visible! / Oh, shiny black leather riding crop and delectable jut of hip! // It’s about time MADRID turned a few heads. Just look at him: you could read / The small print on your marriage contract by the light coming off his face.” Enlightenment indeed! Ditching the usual use of rhyme and refrain that the form begs for is another wise choice that keeps all of our titties bouncing along as we follow our Lady to the apocalyptic ends of the Earth in poem after stellar poem: “Am I supernaturally eloquent? Yes, if you’ll give me a minute. I have to / Confer with my favorite author: John of Patmos. // MADRID is just now examining Scripture with certain of the Lord’s children. / Pull up a chair— // For, if hearing a single verse of the Diamond Sutra was enough to enlighten Hui Neng, / Imagine what listening to whole thing’ll do for a bright guy like you.”

Disclosures: No one reads scripture from cover to cover, and this book invites you to follow your bliss, starting with its antiquated “Index of First Lines” in the back. The titles are a riot, but caveat emptor: “Whoever reads more than a dozen ghazals at a time will be overstimulated. / After a certain number of hits, one is simply wasting a precious drug. // You should have been a pretty girl, MADRID. The whole world might have been spared / All this body-resenting satire in the tone of a parting shot.”

Favorites: They Have Built a Public Fountain; In Hell the Units Are the Gallon and the Fuck; I Am Your Slave Now Do What I Say; I Too Have Been To Candyland; Jam Me in Hot Hell; It Is a Perfect Day and I Must Waste It; Girls Who Are Unfaithful and at the Same Time Relentlessly Honest; I Shall Make Me a Book; That Starlight-Embroidered Sash; These Were Not Born To Be Lovers; It Is Not For Dogs To Tell Their Masters What To Do; Honeymoon; Now That I Know I Am To Be Destroyed by a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl; If I Am a Total Washout as a Lover (and I Am); Fuck Buddha I’m Buddha Nobody’s Buddha Quit Talking About Buddha; O You Beautiful Young Readers of Poetry; Apocalypse.


Read Madrid at The Poetry Foundation