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Book Review: EVERYTHING IS QUIET by Kendra Grant Malone


Kendra Grant Malone {lives here}
Scrambler Books, 2010

Rather than walk and risk not making Bouldin Creek’s Happy Hour, I held my messenger bag against my side and started some toe striking. I had to cover about 1 mile in less than 17 minutes. This wasn’t hard, but my heart was racing when I walked through the back door and took a deep breath and gathered myself before the barista, who immediately said,


“Hello. There’s 10 minutes left in Happy Hour, right?”

She looked at the clock high up on the wall behind her.


“Sweet. Could I get 1 Ruination.”


She dug into a small fridge and did that thing.


I gave her blue plastic and she asked if I wanted to leave my tab open. I said no, just the beer. She ran my blue plastic and asked if I wanted a receipt.


I gave her a $0.50 tip because I once worked in a coffeehouse and liked it when people gave me something to be happy about, like money.

That was it for social interaction. I sat down at the bar, and the barista faded back into coffee beans.

The only things that kept my messenger bag from being superfluous were 2 books: Paul Auster’s LEVIATHAN and EVERYTHING IS QUIET by Kendra Grant Malone.

LEVIATHAN pulled me into the story at times, but mostly I was very aware of the plot. I didn’t feel like reading a story. I wanted to read something real. I’d rather be bored by real life than pulled into a fake story.

That’s why I chose Kendra Grant Malone. Her poetry can be something tonic. I know because I’ve already read each poem and taken shitty notes. Every time I take notes they’re shitty. I don’t even know why I try.

Kendra Grant Malone writes sentences that she then parses into verse. I think this is called prose poetry. I like this kind of poetry because I don’t have to try too hard to follow it. I can read it the same way I’d listen to a rhythmic thing. I can feel the beat and I kind of wish Scrambler Books figured out a way for EVERYTHING IS QUIET to play a drumbeat every time it was opened. I’d like to read Kendra Grant Malone’s poetry underground, waiting for the blue line, while a person with fingerless gloves slapped an overturned bucket.

A lot of this poetry is about being with someone, sharing your space with someone, loving and learning to love someone.

Kendra Grant Malone calls herself a monster because she chases pigeons and made an opossum scream, but I think she wanted to imply that she’s a monster for other reasons than just these. Who doesn’t want to be a monster sometimes? We scare things because scaring things is a way to affirm our little existence.

Strange how Kendra Grant Malone admits to being a monster, but in writing about this, I’m the one who seems like a monster.

There is a picture of the poet at the end of the book. She has a sweater on and a dragonfly brooch. She looks like she’s looking at something that’s very important but fading too quickly. I wonder what she’s looking at? It’s not me. She’s looking to my left. Maybe it’s a lake, or a graveyard, or an alley with a dumpster full of newspapers and empty cartons of almond milk.

Where does anything come from?

This is just 1 big fucking ego trip.

I liked reading Dawn. I liked reading The Book You Gave Me. I liked reading You will Always Be The Ones You Have Lost. I liked reading Hellfire Amongst Other Things. I liked reading Please Don’t Misunderstand Me, Honey. I liked reading Something My Father Just Said To Me. I liked reading Naked with Trish. I liked reading My Father’s Friends. I liked reading My Friends. I liked reading Quiet As Death.

I really feel terrible for the small irish man gone missing. Once our cat was missing, and I remember taping on a dumpster an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper with her picture on it. She came back to us late that same night, when we were a search party of 3. I want the small irish man to come back to the people who love him.

Read this book.

I’m going to reread some more of her poetry since I feel like I could get something more out of it than I’ve already gotten. Before I left for here, I took an aspirin. My head feels better now. There was 1 big throb that nearly sucked my eyeball into my brain matter, but now, with the Ruination empty, I feel better, good enough to walk around the dark neighborhood streets and make people think twice about where they live.

I liked this piece of poem:

the third cup
i fill
using the same tea
bag is so
worthless that
i just watch it

Kendra Grant Malone has zen respect for people’s heads resting on her lap.

In My Father’s Friends I wonder if the guy who survived for many months on a life raft was the same guy Gabriel García Márquez wrote about. I also got very silent when I was reading about the woman who survived being drowned. I’ve read about her 3-5 times times, and each time I hear Daft Punk playing some shit, and I taste what it would taste like to swallow sea water. I guess that’s what happens when you’re drowning in the ocean, you keep water out for as long as you can, and then you have to breathe, you have to swallow.

No periods (as in punctuation) anywhere, I think.

all lowercase, i think.

Here’s another raw piece of poem:

then you will continue to do that
graceful nod you do
just like i imagine your mother
does when she is listening
maybe the two of you will
do it together for me
nod while i tell
wild weird stories
about moralistically unsound
things that i do

Kendra Grant Malone would like, for a while, to put her cat’s face into her mouth.

Kendra Grant Malone judges people who don’t have at least 1 tattoo.

It Is All A Little Acrid Depending On The Time Of Day mentions cocaine. I Suppose This Is Alright For The Time Being mentions cocaine. Everything Means Nothing To Me mentions cocaine. She Will Be Dead mentions cocaine. The Third Day mentions cocaine.

Having said that, I think it’s very dangerous and highly unrecommended for addicts to read Kendra Grant Malone’s poetry. I think everyone else is safe.


February 25, 2011 12:07 pm

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