Where once I could create an insightful and entertaining introduction paragraph, now that ability, along with what I assume are several other important cognitive functions, has been stripped from me after subjecting myself to Darryl Grey’s Life is Hard and I am Sad. It quite honestly made me feel mentally deficient after reading it, is what I am saying.
The book calls itself a poetry collection, but does nothing to deserve that honor. What this book features instead is terrible, derivative, absolutely uninspired twaddle held together by only the thinnest semblance of poetic format. An example:
Dinner has been cold
Since she left
Which makes sense
As it has been on the counter
As the title implies, these types of pitiful stanzas are the only kind to be found in the book. Grey stumbles his way through all the various poetry formats you learned in high school, never coming close to mastering any of them. Take, for instance, this attempt at a mournful haiku:
I am so lonely
Masturbation now bores me
I need a lady
The only current edition of this book available on the market is a hardback, leather-bound vessel of pretentiousness befitting a far, far superior work. In another light, the utter arrogance of the expensive binding could almost work for the book. One could nearly perceive the collection as a clever lampooning of the over-the-top nature of poetry in general. This would of course make Life is Hard a brilliant satire of a genre, and thus a work worthy of acclaim. But unfortunately, the painful earnestness of Grey’s work shines through, and his inability to pull off any particularly thought-provoking concepts becomes clear.
Far be it for a man to be denied
The pleasures of life, that they might one day be attained
Through means meager and methods noble
I strive to become all I can be
Alas, the world does not distribute happiness so readily
And so I sit, crushed by reality
The fruits of my labor sour and unpalatable
Night closes in
I fear it shall be dark forever
I ask any literate man to read such slop and not immediately feel the need for defecation. But, moving on.
The next poem is the centerpiece of the book, a simpleton’s manifesto, which somehow serves to simplify the already trivial musings found throughout the rest of the book. It is also (non-paradoxically) the longest and most thought-out poem in the book, for which I suppose it deserves some credit, if you can manage to stick it out.
The validation of others is all I seek
I would not worry were I not so meek
Ugh! Boring! I apologize, that is not the poem in its entirety, but let me assure that the insufferable despair those two lines conveys is all one needs in order to understand the drivel that it is. I simply could not bring myself to put the entire thing up in this review. It has already wasted enough space by being printed in Grey’s book.
Mr. Grey, the trees destroyed for the paper on which your terrible excuse for poetry is printed, combined with your practice of continued breathing, are simply using up too much oxygen to justify your prolonged existence. 0 out of 10
UPDATE: Following the suicide of poet Darryl Grey the day after my original review was published, this book has now become a posthumous and tragic collection, leading me to re-evaluate it as an extraordinary and beautiful work of art. It is truly a shame that Grey never received the recognition he deserved in life.
10 out of 10