Last night in Bath saw the official launch of When Love Came to the Cartoon Kid, the Telltale Press pamphlet from Siegfried Baber. Success has many fathers, so I’m delighted to point out that I had a small part, alongside Robin Houghton and Telltale Press, in the launch of what is a extremely assured debut by a writer in his mid twenties.
Siegfried’s work is often preoccupied with America. Such as Texas Boy At The Funeral of His Mother with its juxtaposition of a description of a sweltering funeral where ‘Distant relatives got naked and searched for/ a sprinkler to dance under’ while the bereaved son watches the ‘air above her grave/tremble and blur like the roof of an oven.’
In the title poem When Love Came To The Cartoon Kid, the cartoonish responses don’t occur ‘his boxing glove heart didn’t burst/clean through his chest and his mouth didn’t clang open like a cash register’ but in these denials a greater love is suggested. The cartoon floorboards are fallen through. In Crisis On Infinite Earths a female superhero has been supplanted by someone younger, and is ‘wondering why Clark Kent hasn’t aged/a single fucking day’.
Another strand in Siegfried work, cuts below the cartoon surface to good old sex and death. Rabbit involves us in a skinning, ‘yanking it free from those overalls/of brown fur’, while the poem Milk is an eroticised encounter at a bus stop, with the I of the poem pouring milk over the naked body of the woman sitting next to him.
So simply do yourself a favour and get a copy here right now.
Below another excellent cover by Hannah Clare.