auto producer, Robert Burton
The Red Ceilings Press, 2018 £6.00
Is the poet condemned to lament?
If the answer is yes, then it’s surely a self-condemnation or perhaps, as Rob Burton’s pamphlet auto producer suggests, an auto-condemnation.
We go about thinking we’re special and unique. Nobody asks for another’s great insight into our personal loss, despair or isolation. Yet, from Shelley to Radiohead, when presented with the results, we (the audience) consume the art hungrily while condemning the author for wallowing and self-pity.
But no. A poet’s lament is a service to any other human who chooses not confront those feelings during those long, dark nights of the soul.
Burton’s auto producer is a living confrontation with the self just before sleep takes us into the next normality. Those feelings of such clear genius ... if only we could reach over to the bedside table and write them down ....
The poet’s message?
Those feelings are as much genius as madness. He lays them out physically for us in the bright light of day:
tones stream toward
a narrow gap under the door
Disrupt the joy into
and i just speak
star of heaven
legend of death
Yessss! Those were my last thoughts on those nights when I didn’t have the poet’s pen next to the bed to review myself and, instead, chose to turn the pillow and count sheep.
Much better (and how grateful I am) to have these moments laid out for all their half-genius half-madness and total-truth.
Because it is not the poet who is condemned to lament. Instead, it’s the rest of us who are condemned, we who cannot look at ourselves and automatically produce the introspection so vital to get us through those nights.