I like what Cody Todd's poems do with sound. Scroll immediately down to "Bosola" to see what I mean (looking for marrow and gristle. She died with her. / babies on a pedestal). But there are other things here to admire in his work as well. Specifically, the turn of images and events in "ORP-967," and the tightly contained poetics of "Otherness," a poem that seals hermetically upon itself in such a way that, like a lettuce in a Tupperware crisper, the visual descriptions retain their greenness. That's hard fait to accompli, a fresh ekphrastic. Finally, I have to give Cody props for the balance between innovation and tradition that these poems strike upon the page. Keep your eyes on this poet. He's going far.
I. Homer’s Coming Storm
Fog so abundant, the world had failed.
Medusa was the victor. The ocean
was illegible. Its sounds tallied our loss.
Atlas wept because the weight increased,
one thousand-fold. Gulls darted between
the milk of what could have been
a boat that was the half-erased first letter,
as in the third letter of the verb: Roar.
He is the born collector, but why did he want
to drop everything and run as far as he could?
A laugh somewhere. If we could hear it,
we would have probably all laughed too.
2. Hopper’s Night Windows
They’re endless. Everywhere, the city
is freckled with them: curtains, flailing
like respiratory devices. How quaint,
how intimate, this room, and while the world
crawls along like some starving, three-legged thing
on its belly, I want nothing more than a tall
glass of lemonade in the night and to watch
the moon, obscured by our neighbors
that we know of and never see.
3. Caravaggio’s The Tooth-Puller
It might as well be God there. The bored indifference
from the onlooker. The patient grasping at the
ineffable light that blankets his hand. Some judgment
hovering above them all, even the one
being dismantled. It is always a heaving cry
towards mercy, or the maiden-name of X.
It brings finality, like the patient,
who equated his tooth-pain with his disbelief
because most certainly it means, greatly,
to watch others suffer.
Carrion birds feasting on the rotten.
fruit above the mire. A very quaint.
devil in the flesh, listening to the hate.
eat itself behind his eyes and lycanthropes.
have smashed the hobbyhorse and ale kegs.
looking for marrow and gristle. She died with her.
babies on a pedestal. Her kiss. Uttering.
that point of light. Muttering. Fluttering.
Officer Hoyt, Boom!
Take heed, they’re flipping pigeons
to sound off to the neighborhood: I’ve arrived.
I didn’t know you liked
to get wet. PCP, angel-dust, you need to
hear this city, taste this city,
lick this city. God eats your heart.
I know it isn’t pretty. It’s ugly,
but its necessary,
Cries. You got to decide: Sheep
or wolf? Otherwise, God shrinks you
into an uneaten fig.
The innocent mothers and daughters,
they’re the ones who catch
a stray bullet in the noodle!
Make the criminals puke with a pen.
You slept with my child in your arms.
When you kill someone on duty, they have to be
your slave in the afterlife.
The shit’s chess, not checkers. Put this medicine
up in you. Cheers. Back to the world.
Boom! I will burn this fucker down!
King-Kong aint got shit on me! My white negro,
you know what the gas chamber smells like?
You said, "I will do anything you tell me to."
About the Poet:
Cody Todd is the author of the chapbook, To Frankenstein, My Father (2007, Proem Press). His poems have appeared in Hunger Mountain, Salt Hill and are forthcoming in the Lake Effect, The Pinch, Specs Journal and the Denver Quarterly. He received an MFA from Western Michigan University and is currently a Virginia Middleton Fellow in the PhD program in English-Literature/Creative Writing at the University of Southern California. He is the Managing Editor and co-creator of the poetry journal, The Offending Adam (www.theoffendingadam.com).
On the identity of The Nepotist:
Cody Todd never met any Nepotist. As far as he is concerned he/she doesn't exist. Of course, he inhabits a cave and writes his meaningless drivel by candlelight and stays warm wearing a fur coat, well, a faux-fur coat that came from the fibers of many a moth-antennae. He salivates when he looks at graffiti murals and loves driving around Los Angeles and listening to terrible songs such as America's Horse with No Name and Todd Rundgren's In Your Eyes. If you met him, you probably wouldn't like him, but if you laugh at his jokes, he may propose marriage to you, beware! He is from Denver and chews tobacco. His poems reek of wet cheeks and wet jeans. You can find him at the University of California, but if you have read this far, you really need to pick up a newspaper or a crossword puzzle, seriously.