I blurbed this book, but I just read it again a few weeks ago and I kept saying things like this to Julia before we went to bed. I kept saying, "It's the child of Charles Olson’s Maximus Poems; it's Pound’s Cantos, Patterson, and Frank Stanford. It’s an epic for the internet age.“ It needs to be reviewed everywhere. Where are the reviews you punks? It’s full of lines like these:
"you are my easter bunny at times”
“close your house/the kitties are coming”
“like a kite/ that figures out/ it really had wings/ the whole fucking time”
“you know I’m bleeding all/ over you I need to get to/ the bathroom help me get/ to the bathroom”
OHSO left me breathless. Without any punctuation of any sort the poems demanded to be read aloud. I failed at reaching the level of energy demanded of these epics yet the rhythm certainly helped. Mike Bushnell knows how to form grooves out of his words using repetition as a tool to build strength out of his many memorable lines. Upon finishing the actual collection I took a breath, a nice long breath. Mike Bushnell touches upon the entire universe throughout OHSO, even peppering the collection with that memorable phrase. OHSO shows off the entire world from the urban-centered focus on nature to the dreamier aspects about relationships at work and with loved ones.
Passionate in delivery Mike Bushnell cares about the world he inhabits. I have gotten the sense of a person who cares greatly about his world by seeing him perform some of these pieces live. A few of them are many years old and the feedback he’s received on them has helped him hone them into perfected works. From the opener which has some lines I remembered from a reading years ago to more recent works that he presented a summer ago, these are pieces that have grown with Mike Bushnell. Rather than saying that he has outgrown the pieces and simply tossing them away Mike Bushnell appears to be obsessively edited the pieces until they reached a certain textural nirvana.
Aloud the pieces gain their power. I recommend that anybody read these aloud with controlled breathing to try and reach the energy that the works deserve. These vary greatly in terms of delivery. Humor is imbued within a few of the pieces alongside sadness, longing, and elements of hopelessness. Because life honestly can become relatively isolating as he shows with reflections on distance from others and from leaving previous jobs, wondering how it was possible that he was still there after so much time spent.
Mike Bushnell remains hopeful throughout the pieces. His goal appears to be to persevere throughout it all whatever happens. The tone of the poems reflects the worldview of someone who has never considered stopping. Each poem builds upon the last one helping the pieces come together into a unifying epic sound. Very few writers have the ability to incorporate so much into a single poem. Mike Bushnell is a unique creature and a unique writer occupying a rare space within the writing world. Mike Bushnell’s OHSO is incurably optimistic.