Age brings dishonesty, and what would be more dishonest than to sum up Knapp’s work here in a few polite paragraphs. These poems are like photos from a crime scene, untouched, unexpurgated. The poet disrobes and shows what he sees in the mirror, warts and all, bearing witness to his own shame.
They are about trying to be not just honest, but brutally honest, about addiction and other personal failures—all in a world with its own addiction to half-truths and a weakness for outright lies.
Over thirty, most of us have come to terms with dishonesty. We learn to fool ourselves and one another. When the truth still hurts, we let ourselves be distracted by the junk that fills our mediated lives.
But youth has the courage to risk facing down demons. And Ossuary is a record of such an inner battle. Whether a winning or losing battle is hard to tell. From the other side of 30 you may want to say, “It gets better.” But how much honesty is there really in that?
These poems are startling in their reminders of long forgotten memories of our own dark days. They should come with a warning: May Open Old Wounds.
Celebrations in the Ossuary has been made available through David Cranmer’s Beat to a Pulp Press. You can find it at amazon in paper and for the kindle.
Coming up: Johnny Boggs, Spark on the Prairie