by D. FRENCH
Moby Jane is a whale of a title, but this collection has merely a fishy odour. Gilbert himself warns the reader, "when I write with ink I don't lose my mistakes."
A major mistake is surely a piece about Karen Ann Quinlan "Zombie," which moves from "I bet your shit/ is lily white" to "take a stand/ & die Karen Ann." The puerility and speciousness of that tone permeates the book, which resists classification as poetry, or chopped prose, or experimental word-play. Not enough is new here to excuse the obvious lack of craft or control.
Gilbert says, "I do like the likes of me," and reinforces what must be a minority opinion by spawning lines like "reading scientific american doesn't keep my bus from bouncing/ around / but it's better than wearing a wedding ring." Elsewhere, should the reader be nostalgic for logic, or meaning, there's a pithy reassurance: "things have their different speeds ! things have their different mice."
While Gilbert may suffer from a lack of technique and a shallowness of insight, he cannot be accused of dishonesty. In his own words:
can't keep my eyes open
or mouth sleet