Walls of Insomnia

Brethren Demonica, illustrated by Jasbir John Singh

Publisher: Partridge Pages: 117 Price: (paperback) $32.70 ISBN: 9781482882841 Reviewed: October, 2017 Author Website: Visit »

With his poetry collection, Walls of Insomnia, Brethren Demonica appears to be adopting the mantle of Arthur Rimbaud, the French poet who advocated a “rational derangement of all the senses.”  As with some of the Symbolist and Decadent poets, Demonica’s lines of poetry do not always follow one another logically, but rather present as metaphoric shards of a kaleidoscope, seemingly meant to serve as a conduit to the supernatural or the collective unconscious.  “Disowned by numen,” Demonica states, “I’m a mutiny of metaphors, serenading an angel of death in operatic resonance.”

Demonica’s poems, for the most part, explore dark topics. Recurrent motifs in his poetry include alienation, death, toxic love affairs, and drug-induced hallucinations.  He also spends a great deal of time depicting various aspects of psychic hell, viz., the first lines of his poem, “Brume around the Death House”: “I’m falling through the crevice of a buttermilk sky/ The sheer monstrosity of my languish dissipating through my fears/ Mentally mutilating every last bourn of what it means to be human.” Jasbir John Singh’s illustrations for the book are also dark, showing shadowed figures and women in melancholy or horrific poses.

While it is evident that Demonica has a wide vocabulary and a love of words, he does not always choose them with care or juggle them with dexterity.  Demonica’s occasional rhymes can tend to nonsense:  “Hush and demure, suede as pip/ My winged angel calls me to dip…” His poetry is also marred by an overuse of abstracts. Lines like “Classical pinnacle of order retraced to the archetype of elemental pagan modality,” are too abstruse to convey meaning or resonate on an emotional level.

Demonica has a distinctive voice, and it’s clear that he knows what he’s trying to achieve.  This work requires revision, however, to attain the luminosity of the “numen” to which he refers

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