There may be something dreadfully wrong with Sam Pink. His brain clearly isn’t wired right. It seems at least slightly possible that he is the illegitimate offspring of Andy Kaufman and Jean Paul Sartre. His new book, I am Going to Clone Myself then Kill the Clone and Eat It, is composed of pieces that you want to call poems, but that aren’t quite. Sometimes he approaches prose, but never quite makes it there. These pieces are each a mixture of something like poetry, prose, epigrams, non-sequiters, lists, instructions, weird jokes and absurdist musings.
If I were to attempt the impossible task of comparing Pink’s work to something that came before, I would say that he is a much smarter Jack Handy, but even that doesn’t quite explain it. Reading the book I tried to draw comparisons to Steve Martin’s Cruel Shoes and some of Woody Allen’s writing (both are much tamer than what Pink offers). At his best, Pink is insane. Consider the following from his Poem(?) ‘I Will Produce a Meaningful Moment in Your Life then Stop Communicating With You So You Feel Hurt’:
“Your breath smells like gumballs.
That makes me horny.
I will pull your skin over a streetlight and inspect it for flaws.
Don’t look at me.
I will donate my organs provided that my large intestine (undamaged) will be used as a snorkel.
My friend died in the toilet.”
The absurdity is almost unbearable, but then later in the same poem he moves toward beauty:
“When the moon spills, sleep in its belly.
In a womb finely-threaded.
In a pink hued swamp kept body-temperature.”
Nearly every piece in the book is like this. Pink constantly juxtaposes the painfully strange with the painfully beautiful. He has drawn several perfect renditions of the existentialist view, that life is absurdly tragic. In one of the best pieces he insists that:
“If I ever decide to shoot myself in the head I will make sure to stuff my mouth with confetti so that it looks pretty for no one.”
That sentence alone would have given Camus a chuckle, I am sure. Maybe the best thing about this book is that while you are reading it you are never quite certain if you should laugh or scream at what is on the page; the same reaction we have toward life.
Any Cop?: Pink is brilliantly weird, but certainly not for everyone.