Zachary C. Bush’s hallucinatory poems, riddled with unexpected word choices, strong images, the occasional foray into surrealism and the razor edges of a hard young life being lived are the songs of an adventurous poet determined to squeeze each drop of lyrical imagination from the sun-burned, needle-pricked, aching skin of existence. These aren’t your usual poetic ramblings, the journal entries and diary pages cut up and repackaged then sold as poetry these days; they are rather something different. Zachary C. Bush, no matter if you find you love or hate his work, is striving to find his own voice, more specifically, if you are just looking for the next Bukowski, the next (insert favorite poet here), Bush might not be your cup of tea. He doesn’t shy away from experimentation throughout this exploration of lost love, addiction, nightmares, and the overarching emptiness of the twenty-first century.
My favorite poem in the collection and perhaps almost a good summary of the tone of Spiders is “Among the Cacti That Resembled Desert Gravestones:”
You spent your twentieth birthday getting clean
With an Indian chief and his son, who taught you
To lure rain clouds by way of their ancestral dance.
Those men were so stunning; shouting and
Spinning sweat from their long black hair before
The rain fell and cooled the sand beneath our feet.
Zachary C. Bush misses with a few poems, which I’d say is because he is energetic and prolific; I’m sure he will eventually sharpen his eye with regard to his own work and be able to cut out more of the poems that don’t sing at the level he is obviously working towards. Still, despite the occasional miss, the guy loves to write, and you can sense an admiration for writers like Pound in some of his stuff, like the two line poem “Disregard Me:” “like ashes falling off the cigarette tip/ she carelessly flicks while preparing her day” and like these lines from “The Goldfish:” “…I go eye to eye with the fish. His eyeballs swirl the color of spilt milk…”
Zachary C. Bush is attempting to write from a different perspective, and it is refreshing. Spiders is a strange trip into a world of poetry by a young writer who isn’t satisfied merely rewriting the same type of verse being writ everywhere these days; check him out.