By DJ Lincks
Scott Laudati’s poetry compilation, Bonehouse, released in April 2018, presents a raw and unfiltered look at love, addiction, death, freedom, and more. Reminiscent of writers like William S. Burroughs and Charles Bukowski, Laudati does not present a reality in which love prevails, friends overcome addiction, God is good, America is welcoming, and youth remains innocent, rather one of testing trials. The collection, as a whole, presents the lost beauty that can often be found in tragic circumstances. It forces its readers to engage with this idea and face it head on.
The speaker of each poem evokes a jaded and cynical tone, reviewing trying moments in life that lead to one’s apathy. They provoke almost a colloquial-like conversation, between reader and speaker, one in which the speaker tells dark narratives, often love lost and how it was never meant to be easy.
What really enhances Laudati’s work are his subtle but loud anatomical metaphors and similes. In his 10th poem in this collection, “i wish this didn’t happen,” the speaker recounts a familiar story of a bitter breakup. This theme easily becomes cliche; however, the speaker recalls small details which prove to enhance the tension and realistic nature.
“lying like a bone
The inside of you
Showing itself to me,” (19-21).
Laudati takes clichés and beats them until they’re filled with tragic but beautiful revelations, a talent rarely found in modern works of poetry.
Within each poem lies a new awakening. Perhaps it is one of hopelessness in a system that does not cater to artistic souls. In “the good fortune execution,” Laudati compares the fragility found innately in humans with flowers struggling for air through a hardened ground, “waiting to be ripped apart in an endless storm,” alternating between a softened and harsh tone.
With poems titled, “the heart of america,” or “the twilight’s last gleaming,” the aim appears to present an America in which not all achieve their dreams.
Each poem tells a story, and each story leaves a visceral cut on the reader. They do not end happily, and some do not end at all. Often, they reveal a darker side that every reader can relate with on some level. Some speak of personal times in which the speaker recounts: egging cars with friends leading to a road-raged brush with death, a writer trapped in the occupation of a hotel porter impressing a beautiful celebrity with his words. Others speak of stages with God as our only audience member.
Some even speak of the struggles of writing itself, exposing the most trying aspects of writing as a means of living. These concepts are not new and have been written about for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Laudati writes with raw and purposeful passion. He channels the darker moments of human interactions and relationships with self and with others and presents them plainly, but meaningfully. As long as Laudati and others like him continue to write, poetry remains pure and alive.