Here's a short sample of Carrier's playful yet edgy propositions, from "Azalea":
I don't speak until spoken to,And this title too reappears later in the volume, a recurring madness of the mouth and page.
until an azalea's strapped to my back. Where I coalesce
I butcher the Spanish azaleas of tongues.
I take pictures of barns and rockformations
along the azalea.
Although many of the forms are straightforward frameworks for Carrier's quizzical narratives, some -- as for "The Mind's Ordinary Task" and "When to Rest" -- explore placement on the page, balanced with ample open spaces.
Amazingly, after all this bold experimentation, the collection ends with a gentle narrative inquiry called "Lyric," of which I provide here the final three lines:
The ashtray blooms, smoke burns my chest,
chokes the moth. When the moth flies away,
will it take intimacy in its coatpocket?