Last Friday on Peach Mag, Mary Boo Anderson presented three visual pieces repurposed from Shutterstock images. Shutterstock has risen as a primary source for meme content over the past several years due to the blasé nature of their library, a collection of stock images somehow made more ridiculous by the Shutterstock logo semi-translucently stamped onto the background. Anderson’s text appears to have been painted directly over these images by hand, imbuing each of the ridiculous scenes with humor and pathos.
Kenmore poet Joe Hall had two selections go live on Peach yesterday. Hall’s “Sent to an alien in a capsule of brass liquor” relates to the reader a situation that is somewhat fantastical, yet easy to recontextualize as particularly urgent in our current social client. The speaker of the poem implores the reader that, “I know this will sound greedy. It is greedy. But we need you. We do not / need a savior. We need wanderers. We need homeseekers. We need refugees. This is / a good home. We love this city. It isn’t perfect. It won’t be easy, but, stranger, we / need you.” There’s a sincerity and a vulnerability in this poem, and the deceptively simple one-two punch of Hall’s “from Phone Pieces” cannot be ignored.
God Box by Mallory Whitten
God Box is the new collection of poetry from the Ohio-based writer Mallory Whitten. There’s a rough narrative stringing these short prose pieces and poems together, a beautifully plainspoken travelogue through addiction, breakdown, and recovery. Whitten is able to boil day-to-day minutiae down into its most jarring forms, simple acts are transformed into bitter failures and life-affirming victories, “the walk up the hill / burns everything.”
There is something intensely personal and urgent about what Whitten is able to do with a few sparse words. God Box compels the reader to understand the weight of a world in which we’re asked to heal an addiction by taking on a more socially acceptable one. Whitten isn’t remotely interested in pity though, she just asks that you revel with her in the small victories, “you think a lot don’t you? / you don’t have to save the world / you just have to be here / and you’re doing a wonderful job.”
Rotten Kid by Ben Brindise
Rotten Kid, the new chapbook from local poet Ben Brindise, tries to make sense of a past pockmarked with painfully sharp memories. In just a handful of poems and two prose pieces, Brindise is able to clearly conjure up a childhood spent in self-defense. Art is revealed to be an escape that can never hope to completely heal or protect us, but for Brindise, it’s the best defense against an ever-encroaching nothingness.
Rotten Kid exists in multiple looping versions of the past, but it knows when to aim the reader forward. The romance drains out of the memory, and the future shows itself to be a stack of fresh wordless paper—just because you won doesn’t mean you learned anything and just because you lost doesn’t mean you’re broken. “It’s a beautiful moment / I revel in it, / attempting to squeeze every last drop / that I can from it / But then the time is gone / the music picks up / and my moment / is over.”
“Peach Picks” is a new column of literary news and recommendations written by the editors of Peach Mag, an online literary magazine based in Buffalo, New York. For inquiries, contact Rachelle at email@example.com.