The Sealy Challenge

#๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—น๐˜†๐—–๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ด๐—ฒ ๐——๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐Ÿฎ:

๐“๐ก๐ž ๐‚๐จ๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ž๐œ๐ญ๐ž๐ ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ค๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐Š๐ข๐ by ๐Œ๐ข๐œ๐ก๐š๐ž๐ฅ ๐Ž๐ง๐๐š๐š๐ญ๐ฃ๐ž โœ’๏ธ

This is a highly visceral, bloody and visual collection of persona poems by Michael Ondaatje. He takes on the personality of the infamous outlaw Billy the Kid (and people in his life) to give us a collection that touches on the incredibly violent, short and fast life of the man (he was 21 when he died). The book starts off with a poem mentioning all the people Billy killed, and all the ones ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘ฆ killed, not specifying who ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘ฆ are at first. What follows is a recollection of how all those people met their end including Billy himself. Itโ€™s a game of cat and mouse through poetry, tall tales, personal accounts and more.

One poem had me go โ€œoh my goodnessโ€ and read it to my partner because of just how visceral it was. The pieces switch from a couple of lines a page to four-page short stories on a whim. They are mostly violent in some way. I must admit I had to read some pieces twice to really visualize the words. Halfway through I began picking out some of Ondaatjeโ€™s techniques such as repetition, alliteration and use of long sentences to give the illusion of a chase. He also uses animals extensively, both literally and figuratively, as a way to express the overarching theme of the hunter and the hunted.

This wasnโ€™t an easy read but quite intriguing. Fans of blood and gore and strikingly visual violence will get a kick out of this. Curious to see what other types of work Michael Ondaatje has.

๐— ๐˜† ๐—ณ๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฒ ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฒ/๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—ฒ๐—บ/๐—ฝ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜::

โ€œAfter shooting Gregory
this is what happened

Iโ€™d shot him well and careful
made it explode under his heart
so it wouldnโ€™t last long and
was about to walk away

when this chicken paddles out to him

and as he was falling hops on his
neck

digs the beak into his throat
straightens legs and heaves
a red and blue vein out

Meanwhile he fell
and the chicken walked away

still tugging at the vein
till it was 12 yards long
as if it held that body like a kite
Gregoryโ€™s last words being

get away from me yer stupid chickenโ€

Follow me on Instagram @samaapoetry for more and check out what The Sealy Challenge is here. My day 1 selection is right here.

Tomorrowโ€™s book will be Before The Usual Time: A Collection of Indigenous Stories and Poems, gathered by Darlene Naponse

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I like to write and ask questions about politics, poetry, pop culture, power, philosophy, pen game, and various other P words. Not catered to the White Gazeโ„ข๏ธ.

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Samah Fadil

I like to write and ask questions about politics, poetry, pop culture, power, philosophy, pen game, and various other P words. Not catered to the White Gazeโ„ข๏ธ.