Today, there’s almost no one who can write as well, and at the same time, prolifically as author Alex S. Johnson (The Doom Hippies, Black Tongues of the Illuminati). Daily, anyone can log onto Facebook and find two or three new posts of Johnson's scarily brilliant poetry or prose. If a reader desires to become more acquainted with Johnson's work, then his newest chapbook, The Matador of Mirrors (© 2013 Lucid Play Publishing), is a great place to start.
Matador delivers some of the best of Johnson's writing in a series of shorts (poetry and flash fiction), that will leave the reader, who may think she's prepared, dead flat on her proverbial back from the onslaught of Johnson's genius. Johnson lives in Bizarro World (he's listed as a top writer of bizarro fiction on Wikipedia), and he comes by his writing gift naturally (he's the son of Steven Johnson, noted artist and “Accidental Futurist). If one is to read bizarro fiction and poetry, especially Johnson's, then, one must come into the process with two things: an appreciation for the absurd, and an openness to the gorgeous variations of Johnson's vision. Matador opens with a short prose poem, “Body Art,” a paean to what could be described as a bizarro goddess – beautiful, shocking, humorous, and primal:
Her body was a journey. She became an exploration of golden temples, smiling pagodas, oracular energy. She sipped at the narratives that snaked up from the chinks in the stone. They cooled her throat, only she wanted more: diamonds that became wine, gems of all sizes, shapes and colors that spoke the language of hone. Singing draughts of perfume cleansed the air. A stock of recyclable babies clad in graveskin. The world riddled with tiny marble wounds that spat out forests where the tips of every branch yielded clockwork dynasties.
Matador, like its title promises, leads the reader on a rapid turn-on-the-dime dance through the doors of Johnson's perception: “Imaginary Criminals,” briefly drops the reader into a world of creepy surrealist film noir; “Today She is French,” explores a day in the life of a young woman whose imagination and casual donning of pop culture personas is her only escape from a dystopian home life; and “Matador of Mirrors,” beautiful and peripherally continues a journey through the constantly shifting dreamscape introduced in “Body Art.”
My only regret about Matador is that, at the end, I want more; more absurdity, weird beauty, and more time to immerse myself in Johnson's universe. The Matador of Mirrors is going on my permanent shelf, to be brought out again when I need a creative kick in the pants, and, more importantly, when I desire to read a truly great piece of literature.
The Matador of Mirrors, Alex S. Johnson, © 2013 Lucid Play Publishing, (http://lucidplaypublishing.weebly.com/the-matador-of-mirrors.html), 30 pages, $8.00 + shipping when ordered through the publisher website.
"Body Art" content © 2013 Alex S. Johnson
Review content © 2013 marie lecrivain