Only the Ground Is Bloodier Than the Sky: A Review of Joseph M. Gant’s Zero Division by Craig Scott

Only the Ground Is Bloodier Than the Sky: A Review of Joseph M. Gant’s Zero Division

by Craig Scott

Zero Division by Joseph M. Gant

Rebel Satori Press


To me, the best poetry is not gentle, safe or pretty. It is strange and dirty. It should leave the reader unnerved. It should feel like your brain has been dissected and rearranged. It should haunt you. Joseph M. Gant’s collection Zero Division is this, does this and more.

The first lines of “Where I Sit,” the first poem in the book, introduce you to Gant’s aberrant world and the ride you’re about to embark on:

the straight life

is a phantom of

a dream I’ve never had.

As I read this book I was reminded of one of my favorite lines from William T. Vollmann’s Rainbow Stories: “The prettiest thing is the darkest darkness.” Zero Division is a fine mix of odd and caliginous beauty. Take these lines from “Cancerous Sonnet For A Tumor”:

I shall collect as many cancers as my body gladly


let me be an example so hideous,

you’ll not want to touch me again.

Or these from “The Space That Makes The Past”:

let us sit, compare the scars

we’ve drawn across our skies

like charted constellations mapping history

of supernova lust

and rage, those galaxies born in dark disquietude.

But there are also these from “Pangs Of Days And Scissors’ Joy”:

in a red shirt I sleep in dreams of angels

of the soul and find a dozing superintendent at my

cold wet feet as springtime births unfold

and fold again

And these from “Biology”:

we are cold architecture, drawn

by unwilling fingers—meat and bone,

drunk and full of ghosts, warm whiskey

and misguided notions of creation’s absolution.

Gant’s poems are part fever dream, part broken-glass-in-the-eye reality. In “Reexamined,” we are told:

saviors aren’t built to die

for if they were

we’re in for shit.

While in “Xmas Morning” Gant confesses:

I hate the way

my cigarette tastes

when you’re mad

and I’d just eaten

your pussy

And in “Down At The J And Flying” we learn:

trannies love to mug

you ‘til you learn to love it too. just pull in slow

between two trailers, flick the lights off and on and pray,

no dick.

Personal favorites, besides those mentioned herein, were “Suck,” “Insertion,” “All The World” and “Bury Me In These Boots.” You are sure to find plenty of your own.

Published by lenavanelslander

Lena Vanelslander swam many waters. History, Comparative Culture Analysis, Languages, Mythology, Literature, Poetry, too many to sum up. After a life of tribulations the turning point came in her mid twenties: she started to write actively poetry in English. Her melancholic and darkminded nature colour her poems to an individual signature in both time and space. Poems got published in the Stray Branch, Savage Manners, the Delinquent and The Sylvan Echo. Her first chapbook ‘Ma Chanson de Rien du Tout’ has been released in September this year. Her first book of poetry, written with Marilyn Campiz, Quills of Fire, will appear in November 2009. Currently she edits writers' profiles for and

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