Noct — The Threshold of Madness: An Erasure
Author: Joey De Jesus
Publisher: The Atlas Review
Release Date: March 01, 2021
Garden-pathing, it was recently explained to me, is a grammatical sentence that lures readers into one meaning, only to be misled, whether through syntactical arrangement or flat-out lexical deception. Isn’t this, I wondered, what poetry is? Joey De Jesus writes early on in Noct—The Threshold of Madness, “I shatter the expected / to access the page” and I think of garden-pathing, the lexical arrangement and its access. Who is left out of the page when we expect any system? Noct—The Threshold of Madness is an erasure poem based on a popular how-to book in black magic. In this chapbook, De Jesus chronicles identity disrepair by internalizing the homology of blackness with the demonic. He writes, “I—I / trick of my mind / Goal and motive coming to me / As the I speaks forth.” There is a possession to his disrepair, one that throttles intended meaning into a spatiotemporal sphere of one. The language is at once devastating as it is curated by a mastermind. Here, agency is pushed under the lens as with everything else. The “I” is void as it is also muscle. It sings without epiphany. It thrives on the splintering explanation.