To the street that is a village, Daniel Zomparelli conveys a liveliness and wit that rhetorically towel-flicks its way from the sardonic bathhouse banter of ancient Rome to the cinematic musical machismo of the poets of the San Francisco Renaissance, with each poem “translating” another chapter in his documentary of gay male culture in Vancouver.
To the tune of mononymous deities Beyoncé, Madonna, Barbra and Gaga, this home-brewed Catullus flirts with the very concept of “translation,” not only representing the movement and conversion of event, time and idea to the written word, but also deploying a crafty methodology that in the style of Robin Blaser and Jack Spicer emphasizes an aesthetic sensibility and musicality that pervades the pretty wireless shell of personal relations. These are also letters to the anonymous, the proud, the panicky, the petrified and particularly the lonely, written everywhere—upon ripped bodies and diner napkins, upon bathroom stalls, and in Craigslist personals and Miss Lonelyhearts columns.
Ranging from the rhapsodic to the epigrammatic with his dangerously experimental narrative that snorts the alphabet, Daniel Zomparelli imbues the fast-paced drug and party culture of Davie Village’s young gay males with grand poignancy and pathos. Stitching serial poems into this imaginary patchwork in the fashion of Robert Duncan, with drag queens and porn fantasy figures in tow, Zomparelli brashly faces up to fears of HIV and gay bashing. On this poetic street that is a universe, we turn away from violence, “dance fight, or turn it into a musical / West Side-like.”
With poetic tributes to his Vancouver idols Billeh Nickerson, George Stanley and Michael V. Smith, Zomparelli demonstrates, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, that the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.