Hardware After Hours
Brandon S Hursell
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 9, 2012)
I have never prefaced a book review with that before. And do now because if this is Hursell’s first chapbook, I can only imagine what the remaining two must be like. Just to garner an idea of how other readers interpreted this literary offering, I opted to do something else I never do prior to writing one of my own: read current reviews. Regardless of only three reviews ( soon to be four ), it rates 5-star ( and will after I am done ).
Hardware After Hours is divided into ten brief chapters. With the exception of the first chapter containing an exchange of letters, and the final containing poetry, it is interlaced with prose and short stories. Many chapters appear to encapsulate what seems more like random observatory thoughts.
My body divided hers. She was a ferocious beast, a worm, an ancient hatred.
The dials and switches and levers of the compass in quick disrespect.
( “Pneumonia in the Happenings” ).
In two succinct sentences, Hursell has encapsulated the struggle of feral copulation. Or so I interpret it as such. He has a unique talent for trimming an event, circumstance, or even thought to the bone of meaning, disregarding the fat of language. But this is a writer who values the meaning of communication to the point that man-made definitions seem inadequate in capturing the true essence of whatever is being observed. That once the words have been spoken they become inaccurate, not good enough, shortchanging in aspect of the truth.
Every word that I say I wish I could swallow back back into my mouth. I hate them. They are false and inaccurate. ( “ Big Days “)
In addition to an uncanny ability to flay excess from expression, Hursell has a natural metaphoric nature which allows him to merge with varying aspects of individual freedom. Where some writers conjoin with nature or animals to escape expectations in a rigidly mechanical environment, Hursell blends in that environment by taking something mechanical and using it as freedom, in one case, driving:
I climb into the shell of the vehicle.
I am at the controls and they reach into me. ( “Landscape” )
Not that Hursell doesn’t appreciate the natural elements of life contrasted with manufacturing, he simply finds a way to adapt befitting his goal. After all, wasn’t it Professor Leon C. Megginson who said “According to Darwin’s Origin of Species, it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.” It appears Hursell has discovered the fountain of conformation in order to survive the antiquated tools of inadequate expression where language is concerned.
In our old apartment, we used to eat everything with chopsticks. It was grand. ( “I’ll Be Damned” )
Hursell’s poetic style is the perfect combination of flow and depth. His writings flow as if they were random thought poems maintaining a strong thematic depth. This is all enhanced by Hursell’s cautionary vocabulary selection. He thoroughly utilizes his careful command of language to find words befitting the theme he is trying to convey. In no other place have I read the word chopstick with so much inference and double entendre of meaning.
Is the choice of chopsticks portraying poverty in that silverware can’t be afforded. Or does it depict a more natural sense of surroundings. i.e. - wood versus metal. It could go as far as to infer budgetary restrictions in that Chinese/Japanese take out is typically less costly than American fast food counterparts. It wasn’t enough to just say we used to eat oriental takeout ( or even bags of raman ) - he specifically selected ‘chopsticks’ to demonstrate beyond what to how – and then beyond how to the value of it.
Hardware After Hours is filled with such articulate diction that unless careful attention is paid, it could be stepped over like a rare coin worth thousands of dollars lodged in a sidewalk crack. This is what I believe Hursell to be – an upcoming writer who is still discovering his voice, and tested the waters with this first chapbook. There are some who will hear that voice and recognize its immense value; others will let it pass as random thoughts. Neither would be wrong, as we’re all on our own adventure to discover what it is we connect with, how we connect with it, and, lastly, why.
I choose to connect with Hursell; to me it’s as simple as Truth.
For as long as I can remember I have had this string of thoughts that cycle through my body and it is a fantasy of her. ( “Heat Like Cold” )
Perhaps because I feel that I too, for as long as I can remember, have sought to discover this type of everyday thought transcend the mundane to be transformed into the beauty of poetics.
Degrade death with his troubled pursuit
Chandeliers are speaking
Let the streets go away
Let the streets go away
Let other things under my feet
When she slapped him around
Forms of rows
Teeth in ever-loving splendor
Tissue like slides of plant cells
Her creaking bowels
Saw that in the photographs
Dead in the resin bath.