Bless Mari Brown for saying I “save the world through poetry” in “Mr. Either/Or.” The world needs a lot of saving, and a lot of poetry:
Take an ancient legend, warring gangs (including a septic group of misfit-zealots and an interplanetary crew), politics and two savvy agents, fashioned in epic verse, Aaron Poochigian creates his own genre. In MR. EITHER/OR, he saves the world through poetry, with the help of a student-cum-FBI interlocutor, Zack Berzinski (aka Bob), and his “would-be wife,” Li-Ling, a PhD curator at the Met. Or, characterized by the author: “the young man universal;/she, your trusty sherpa, showpiece/and better half” (171). These two first force a phoenix and statue to outdo each other. Then, they combat aliens ready to take over New York. Not the usual content for a saga in meter, but that’s what makes it alive. The words want to leap off the page as, in their innovative usage, they transport us to our imaginations. We can imagine the scenes taking place on a stage. “Chill til chance/chooses a path” (30) describes our mindset while reading. Like Mr. Either/Or’s temporary side-kick, “a dork,” we witness heroism riding right along on a half-urban-half-fairy-tale adventure through sub-cultures and big ideas. Poochigian tackles forces of good and evil facing us today in a jaunty, on-edge style that inspires and jars. With Independence Day looming, I came away from this read with jazz in my ears and pride in my heart. “No Marx for you, though. Nope, to you this land,/like, Duh, is, was, and always must be free/from Alcatraz to Lady Liberty” (157).