TRee Logo

Albert Huffstickler:

Press of Circumstance
312 E. 43rd St. #103
Austin TX, 78751

14 pp., $3.00

The very prolific Huffsticker has brought together this small collection of poems on the theme of smells. He peels the skin off reality, revealing something naked and elemental to each of us. These poems reach inside the reader to fondle suppressed feelings, relics of our prehistoric days, remnants of our animalistic tendencies. For example, in "Beginning" he uses memories to point out that "...bad odors/ are learned. She just smelled personal when I drew/ my finger out. There's more. I learned her/ one item at a time while she watched me..."

The book is full of olfactory wisdom: in "Retrieval," he writes "...I think/ you could die from lack of/ smell..."; in "Lie Detector," Huffstickler points out that "Truth has/ its own odor." There is an entire poem about the smell of shit, and another that mourns the smell covered up by air fresheners and deodorants. In that poem, "Cover and Concealment: Anxiety in the New Age," the speaker predicts a time when everyone will smell the same:

     And when that day comes, 
     everyone will be so hungry for variety 
     That it will generate a whole new business: 
     bootleg smells, obtainable only 
     at your friendly Neighborhood Nose Dive.

The core of the philosophy expressed in these poems is stated in a piece called "The Smell of Love:"

     The eye is easily deluded. 
     Ears even more so. 
     Taste can be disguised. 
     Touch sometimes lies. 
     But the nose seeks truth always 
     and abides with it.

--Ron Zack

Back to TapRoot Reviews homepage.

This review originally appeared in TapRoot Reviews #3,
Copyright Burning Press 1993, 1995.

Contact the editor, luigi-bob drake, at Burning Press