Much more Song of Solomon than Psalms.
Basic Disaster Supplies Kit
Author: Marci Rae Johnson
Steel Toe Books
After reading through Basic Disaster Supplies Kit, I’m half in love with Marci Rae Johnson. I’m also half scared to death of her. With titles reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens (“Apparatus for Facilitating the Birth of a Child by Centrifugal Force”, “Tests Show Saints’ Skeletal Remains at Louisville Catholic, et al.), and absolutely no fear, Johnson covers a wide range of topics: Power, use of force, sexual dynamics, historical figures, music, and celebrities both recent and in the distant past.
“Apophenia” is one of my favorite pieces, detailing the random juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated things in one’s life. “Jesus Heals a Woman in the Crowd” depicts healing through music and finding God in the most unexpected places. “Young Joseph Stalin Would Bang Your Girlfriend” portrays men all being the same in certain ways – through the misunderstood relationship of sex and power.
Name checks include Mr. Rogers, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, Jesus, Winston Churchill, Stephen Hawking, and several Biblical figures. While blatantly Christian at times, this collection is much more Song of Solomon than Psalms. Like most poetic works, there are times when you‘re pretty sure you understand the intent of the piece, and at others it’s open to interpretation. And at others still, a close intimacy with the author would be required to know the truth involved. Profane yet sacred, Johnson is a force to be reckoned with.
Brian A. Smith
17 February 2016