Review: Durable Goods #79 & #80

Various Authors
Poetry, Prose Poetry
Aleathia Drehmer, ed.
Durable Goods
Painted Post, New York
Available HERE
Review originally published on 2/8/13


It’s always a good day when Durable Goods shows up in my box. This little gem of a micro-litzine is seeing its last days as we speak, and she will be sorely missed by those of us who have come to relish her steady intrusion of the p.o. box once or twice a month for years. I’ve been with Durable Goods since the beginning, having every issue in the collection all the way back to number one, sending out free DG samples with all of my paid orders on Alternating Current, and even achieving a Guest Editor slot at one point. I’m sorry to say that this fantastic microzine is coming to an end.

But tears later! Right now two more issues have arrived: #79 and #80. Issue 79 features poets Helen Losse and Sara Uribe, with a translation of the latter by Toshiya Kamei and cover art by Isabelle Pruneau; and issue 80 features poets Lori Desrosiers and Neil Serven and cover art by Andrew Post.

My favorite of the pieces in DG 79 is Ms. Losse’s “At noon,” a poem about a train resting:

[ … ] in a valley-grave.
See that girder bridge
off to the right. That’s
where to look.
[ … ]

The poem reeks of a tragic-romantic history and the resting places of so much more than just trains. You get the feeling we will all come to rest in a tragic valley grave somewhere.

“Our Place” by Neil Serven is the standout among issue 80. It’s a tale of a house, passing hands and papers, that has a history of children’s scrawls on the walls and safety locks impossible to remove and police records in the middle of the night. It is a tale of images and honesty, beautifully penned and condensed to only glimpses of a past life, just as the new buyers only get glimpses of the past life.

Children lived here. Matchbox cars
keep turning up in the backyard, dirt
clumped in their wheel wells. Puzzle
pieces behind the radiator. Height
marks penciled on the door jamb.
Finger smudges. In the basement: a
ring of woodpecker holes. Dart scores
in chalk. After papers were passed
they made the mistake of looking up
the address and found the police
logs. [ … ]

DG is no longer taking subscriptions due to their waning days, but I’m sure if you sent a dollar and a self-addressed, 46-cent stamped envelope to Durable Goods, you could probably get both of these issues.