It begins with the stark and simple image of reality (p. 2):
This acts as a sort of epigraph, presenting the humor and harsh realism that will pervade the rest of the work as motifs.
The next poem is written partly in "sheep speak" (p. 3), with the repetition of "bah bah." There is a mixture of deceptively nonsensical humor and horror akin to Carroll's The Walrus and the Carpenter; the inclusion of "sheep speak" offers a frivolous counterpart to what is some seriously ominous imagery. The sense of oppression, of dehumanization under homogenity--furthered by the implicit relationship of the speaker to these animals--is apparent:
the dead deer on the wall of my parents' house is silent
when it was alive it was mute except for the nights it performed as a vocalist in a
my parents aren't aware of the deer's background...
they just knew that when they fired it in the forest it fell to the ground and obeyed
like shepard fairey tags
That the deer, already mute, was a figure struck down to obey denotes suppression; it is also important to note that only the "dead sheep on your feet are speaking to me"--only those who have fallen in line, "guided by shepard fairey," are given voices.
A dehumanization similar to the "sheep speak" poem reprises in "i am the happiest bench in the entire park" (p. 6). The speaker is literally objectified, given the perspective of a bench. There is a certain desperation in tone; the bench desires contact--"i want your bare ass on me/i want to feel your bare ass skin on me"--but, desires aside, is left at the mercy of the sitter: "you consume more shit than me and i let people shit on me/actually i don't let them/it just happens." That the bench is the unwitting submissive to the veritable world presents a disturbing allegory for all people, vulnerable, susceptible to abuse. It is still more commentary on suppression, framed comically, as though coping with unmitigated tragedy.
Though with arguably less clarity, this theme continues into the poem of "gradual" and the monkey (p. 16), differing in that it is guided to the ultimate upliftment of the animalized character. Gradual, the man, observes that "monkeys had hairs on their feet just like him," noting their similarity. The human is quickly shown to be the weaker character, amplifying a clog in his sink drain to the intensity of a perpetrated "murder." It is the monkey, who enters as Gradual again notices his hairy feet, their mutual quality, that is able to "save" the sink in the end. That the man envies, is apparently inferior to, and, in his failure, is inspired to emulate the monkey supports the notion that any presumption of perpetual dominance is misconceived: the humanized character is not always superior to that animalized.
Consistent with the theme of humorous dehumanization, Schüirmann also glamorizes self-devaluation, as in the poem about "potatoes" (p. 15), in which inconspicuous plainness is reinvented as an advantage:
Many of the poems are frank or emotive, very direct-to-life (p. 4):
Life is naturally unjust, suffused with inevitable suffering, but we must all find our salvation amid the disappointing chaos of reality, create our own comfortable place in an uncomfortable world.
|this is the most comf ortab le place in the entir e world|