Review: Chris D’Errico’s “Vegas Implosions” by Michelle Gaddes

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Poetry Book Review
Vegas Implosions & Exterminator Chronicles

By Chris D’Errico

‘One day I will switch sides and help the
insects defeat the humans’
-Chris D’Errico, Black Flag.

Vegas Implosions is an intensely-woven mapping of a post-modern landscape, written by a disgruntled slayer-becoming in the shadows. Chris D’Errico, clearly a wonderful rhizomatic love-child of Franz Kafka, Hunter S. Thompson, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, begins a journey with grounded, loquacious, intricate observations and raw, reactionary prose-style poetry. D’Errico’s quest-driven compilation commences within a colourful, carnivalesque landscape; that which we know and love as – Las Vegas.

D’Errico’s narrator, like a multi-headed phoenix, rises from his constructed disillusioned, desert dreamscape, seditious and sore. He partitions his book by turning the poetry autobiographical, in the first-person perspective. This section is titled, ‘Exterminator Chronicles.’ D’Errico journeys from the physical landscape, to the personal landscape and finally concludes with his ideal of fantasy-scape, which sees his narrator holidaying in Hawaii, where, contrastingly, the vermin and insects he exterminates daily now live in serene unison with him.

Anything but obsequious (!), D’Errico’s work reflects an ambiguous and torn position in his world. The subversive poem, ‘Black Flag’ sees the narrator tired of his love-less, soulless existence and he imagines a new plateau where he ‘switches sides.’ Rather than ‘bringing home the bacon,’ as he claims, he entertains the idea of a different warfare. This may be read as a new Travis Bickle waiting in the surreal throes or he could be advocating a pro-environmental message too. Thus, the diversity of meaning in D’Errico’s pieces allows the reader to indulge in a rollercoaster journey of entertainment, apprehension and uncertainty.

D’Errico’s piece, ‘Exterminator takes a vacation’ offers audiences glimmers of hope. From the depths of self-annihilation, accusatory and destructive paradigms does he escape (for the moment) the cycle of reality’s tedium. The ‘voice’ in this piece transforms, like Kafka’s insect revelation; instead of death, rebirth is shown through use of language that transforms into the beautifully aesthetic and – spiritual. The South-Pacific trade winds have doused away the narrow mindedness and degradation that he perceived his home to be constructed of. His ‘take-home message,’ it seems, is that we are empowered to change and create the environments we desire to inhabit – and even if it is only via the vehicle of fantasy. Nonetheless, the psyche is able to be distracted, somewhat. Vegas Implosions is a subversive, manic conversation – emblematic of humanity’s continual, incessant, driving drudgery that plagues the modern world. It is sweat and loathing, desire and despising. Vegas Implosions is the every-day-man’s inner monologues screaming silently in queues and homes, everywhere.

D’Errico is a talented poet with a sharp, sardonic, journalist’s eye of his pocket of the world. He exhibits a mindfulness and awareness that understands part of the human condition which is duende-driven and prone to fatal implosion at any given time of day. Vegas Implosions is not just free verse, it is cheap-as-casino-chips verse and yes I would purchase this book if I was browsing in my lunch-hour for entertaining gratification. It may be read randomly or cover-to-cover. Here D’Errico offers diversity and autonomy for his readers to be the navigators of text.

While, perhaps not every reader’s ideal book of poetry, Vegas Implosions offers a ripped, psychedelic sketch of a landscape which has to be seen to be comprehended. Even then, one has to pinch themselves to know they are alive. However, D’Errico asks all the probing questions; indeed ‘why are all these people dying in bad shoes?’ When in fact we know the answer, as does D’Errico, all we need to do is kick them off! And then the world will show its passing, cold shoulder once more, but shoeless, we will be free.

*

Michelle Gaddes is a writer from southern NSW, Australia. Her poetry compilation, Pariah is available from Ginninderra Press, Port Adelaide, Australia, and her forth coming, Aurora Borealisfrom the same publisher. Michelle is currently editing her third manuscript and she teaches Regional & Environmental histories at the University of Wollongong, NSW. Michelle completed her M.A in 2011 with Deakin University (Writing & Literatures), Victoria, and her research interests are broad. She is interested in the contemporary representation of landscapes together with rhizomatic theories and post-colonial texts. Michelle has been published in the UK, Australia and North America via various print and electronic media; Danse Macabre, Gloom Cupboard, Carcinogenic Poetry, The Canberra Times, The Bemboka Times, Forward Poetry, Zygote in my Coffee, Scorpion Poetry, Rufous Salon etc.

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Back to Vegas, Baby: Vegas Implosions Re-Issued and Expanded

Today is a great day for Virgogray Press as we re-issue Vegas Implosions by poet and musician Chris D’Errico. We are proud to re-release this publication, blossoming from a saddle-stitched, home-made chapbook to a professionally bound and expanded edition that includes new text, as well as a few revisions to the first release. Vegas Implosions is a new book, for a new time in the expansion of our press. Author, Chris D’Errico, was one of the first to contact Virgogray Press in regards to publishing their work and was the first fully realized chapbook we put out back in 2008. Vegas Implosions is a script of poetry that is humourous, surprising, and well-written.

Vegas Implosions by Chris D'Errico
Chris D’Errico’s collection of poetry Vegas Implosions is (other than a down-right, damning indictment) an examination of the sordid city of sin from this Massachusetts born poet, but seeing as this is Vegas, we’re talking about, that’s okay.  Now in this new expanded edition that includes the ‘script The Exterminator Chronicles, D’Errico has broken down and recreated a new volume that is a macro and micro cosm of sin city itself, both as a citizen and as an exterminator. D’Errico’s unique visual/graphic poetry, intermixed with his snapshot/sketch type style plays a role as anew generation of beat-flavored poetry captures the Vegas landscape. D’Errico is no-holds-barred as he takes you from the airport, to the gas station, to the seedy, cheap hotels at the Southern end of the Strip, all with the narrative voice that is colloquial and captures the essence of a semi-jaded residents “cleaning up / after celebrities, frat boys, call-girls & family men.” It is the wit and wisdom of this collection that keeps people coming back, and really one that makes Vegas Implosion a kind of hitchhiker’s guide through sin city. In the mix of new poems such as “777,” “Tireless Vector of the In Between,” “Mojave Meditation,” ” Terminal Afflictions (Scenes from the Airport)” and “Pawn Shop Tattoo” readers will find revised or remixed verse scrambled into new order that remains true to the original vibe of the first edition chapbook. The Exterminator Chronicles presents a bounty, a look into the secret life of an exterminator–and surely, we’ve yet to find exterminator poetry, at least none written so keenly. Very funny verse ensues (the poem “Black Flag” is a real kicker) from rats to roaches, to pigeons and vinagaroons and cats (!?! — you gotta read to find out!)– The Exterminator Chronicles will surely entertain, but reader be warned: “Small vermin were harmed in the making of these poems!” A highly unique look into the life of a poet unlike most, Vegas Implosions and the Exterminator Chronicles is sure to refresh the tired, poetry reader. And so it is, this new tome from poet Chris D’Errico now available from Virgogray Press. Be on the look out for Ministry of Kybosh, also by Chris D’Errico, coming soon!