Wednesday, June 22, 2011
By Charly “The City Mouse” Fasano
(Review by Brian Polk)
The common misconception with the cultural output of punk is that anyone can do it. Supposedly all you need is the audacity and determination to plug in a guitar or slap together a zine and — presto! — punk is made. Of course it’s not so easy, is it? Sure anyone can make a trite, forgettable band or zine, but the remarkable punk music and literature weren’t just really good for what they were, they were really fucking good, period. Charly “The City Mouse” Fasano grew up ensconced in the punk scene, and though he didn’t have a band or a publication, he still contributed with his genre of choice — poetry. And sure it takes courage to revivify such a haughty style of writing in the name of the everyman, and Fasano would’ve failed miserably if he weren’t so achingly sincere. But of course, as his new book — his first for the Buffalo, New York imprint sunnyoutside — Next Analog Broadcast demonstrates, his words go beyond sincerity. In fact, all his poems seem to be linked by a common thread of smirking bemusement at the absurdity of human behavior, not only in the ostentatious characters that provide the poet with constant entertainment, but by the self-aware awkwardness and posturing of the poet himself. The poem “What’s Your Name Again” perfectly encapsulates this eagerness to take satisfaction in his curious world: “If she says something about herself, it will give me a break from showing off.” In the poem, “Hard On Everyone,” he muses about past relationships in a similar manner: “The woman I was dating at the time didn’t believe that I went to the porn shop for sodas. She stopped sitting on my side of the booth at dinners. She made me leave my shoes outside when I’d visit her house. She didn’t want me to track in where I’d been.” But the poet is at his best when he takes pride in his socially perceived shortcomings. In the poem, “Wallet” he writes, “A lot of folks think my USA is all about winning and the wallet … I lost my wallet two days ago.” Fasano’s self-deprecation, bitter sense of humor, and celebration of underachievement are most definitely by-products of the punk culture that reared him. And since his poems so easily relate to the proud underclass of society with humor and forthright earnestness, Next Analog Broadcast isn’t just a good book of poetry inspired by a subculture and printed independent of the mainstream. It’s a good book of poetry, period.