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The Screwdriver's Apprentice.

Edmund Miller. The Screwdriver's Apprentice. San Francisco: Blue Light Press, 2017.

Edmund Miller has "got it," the exuberant joy of inhabiting one's own being, evoking in each of us "the living [essence] / [to] wing by with dance." There's a ripened wisdom beneath his frolicking, a hard-earned frankness. Slyly bold, his poems awe with the courage of calm acceptance of all that he is and "not making all that big deal of it," from the "dimples on [his] butt" to his "streaks of sweat" on his sensual soul for another man.

In compressed moments, his poetry embraces quick discernment of "quivering live" passions, the carnal and full immersions in what one loves doing. His outstanding graphic depictions of homosexual eroticism are lyrically intense and evocative: "eyelashes to his ankles"; "black curls / all over his forehead"; "a finger-licking boy / with shocking black eyes"; "an applesauce ass"; "smell the skin burn."

Miller aptly articulates vibrant indeterminacy in human relationships, especially in those long repressed by taboos: "I wouldn't let him. /I couldn't stop him"; "an oil lamp burns in his body. /... And now there's ice / in his eyes"; "If I agree to put you in [a poem], / will you stay here / at least a little while?" Ultimately, regardless of gender preference, Miller evinces how "Nobody actually knows / Another person in person."

And what is the price of self-deception? probes Miller. In a poignant reverie, he wonders about such consequences for his high school mate: "if he had to marry / what [he] sold [his] soul for." In the skilled irregularity of a "dithyramb," Miller suggests the frenzied inner conflict of his gay companion "marrying outside his own sex."

Miller's abundant emotional nuances and linguistic riches can be attributed to how he lets "life take [him] by wild surprise." He has truly "got it."

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Author:Teller, Gayl
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 22, 2018
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