American Idle by Jae Dyche and Patrick Trotti
Jae knows about West Virginia. I don’t. West Virginia is one of those places I’ve driven through but will never understand. Alpha males confuse me too. I am not an alpha male. How do alpha males come about? Are you born as an alpha male or do experiences transform you into one?
Patrick mentions the pain of picking up people. Musicians are hard to pick up. They are elusive creatures. Punks in particular have a strong sense of self. Drummers for punk bands may be the coolest people I have ever met. Can anyone understand them? No, of course not but that is part of the joy: never knowing.
Sharing a family moment is important. Everyone has a moment right before they find out the truth about their family. As children we fail to see the tell-tale signs of a family less than perfect. Love from our relatives provides a glare. We can’t see through it to the darker elements. That’s why family love is powerful. It keeps children blind if just for a shimmering sliver of time.
Baths are gross. They can cleanse more than a shower. Wintertime is the worst time for me. Feel the pain of Wilson. All Wilson wants is silence. Underwater noises are blurred away, memories blur away. In the water everything is impermanent. Little waves carry you away. When you see yourself shed and go down the drain there’s a worry. As a bath though, stewing in your own sweat and juices, there is an acceptance there.
August is for the dog days of summer. Nothing happens in August. Revolutions take a break, November is more their thing. Summer flings wind down in August; passion dissipates in the hot, humid air. Beyond the heat is a reality coming soon. Even after you leave school there’s a huge sense of regret associated with August. Perhaps it is the realization that the summer is almost over and the hopes for the summer are gone. It is similar to the pang of regret felt every Sunday night as we realize how little we accomplished on the weekend.
Long after our relatives have passed away their cherished possessions remain. We give these items personalities, attributes, and wonder about the history behind them. Her grandfather’s watch kept time as railroads began flowing across the US. Eventually the steel rivers were replaced by Pavement Rivers. What is the follow-up for our present? Is there a future, something worth telling future spawn about? Or will we opt to pass down stories of better times, harder times maybe, yet more honest.
‘One hit wonder’ comes too close to home. Childhood is so lonely. Even after you grow up the loneliness of childhood is unbelievable. For a while you coast by on the cuteness. Then you get maturity or some other behavior. After a while that is not enough. You need a skill to attract attention. Poor kid had his imagination ruined by cruel reality. That’s why I do not live in reality. I live on the internet.
Plants love conversation. When you talk to a plant it doesn’t walk away. In Japan plants blog because Japan is the future. Someday I hope plants will have their own online personas. Jae wants to share a bed but doesn’t know what to do after that. Space is important. We fill it with ourselves and it becomes somehow important. I love seeing empty space and wondering how it ended up so under-populated, why no one ever settled there. Patrick ends it with the coin toss of a miserable childhood.
This is a distinctly American collection. Photography between each section is beautiful. Jae’s photos show the decay of America, the rusted glory. It adds to the content of each poem and story. The stories give off a general feeling of helplessness, particularly Patrick’s stories which have no future. At least Jae’s poems focus on a better past. Together they show a present that could go either way, but not today.