Sex and Other Slapsticks
by Ellaraine Lockie
17 poems, 32 pages
Price: $8.00 plus $3.00 handling
Publisher: Presa Press
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Reviewed by Michael Escoubas

As I began my thought process in preparation to write this review, it seemed appropriate
to consult my Merriam-Webster’s for a definition of the term “slapstick,” since this word
figures majorly in Ellaraine Lockie’s latest collection. My lexicological studies revealed
that “slapstick” relates to that which is comical, stressing farce and horseplay. If you’re
in the mood for something unusual, something different to work into your poetry diet,
Lockie offers a menu of “farce” and “horseplay” that will tantalize your literary
palate. Yet, Lockie is up to something more than superficial slapstick. This poet is
about truth in life. Your reviewer is impressed with Lockie’s courage and skill as she
pulls back the curtain on the sexual dimension of our collective lives.

Time was when we parents made clear to our children the do’s and don’ts of life.
However, things are different now as chronicled in Lockie’s lead poem, Role Reversal,
a poem about carpooling to drama tryouts with the most popular boy in fifth grade.

My ten-year old
daughter said
ahead of time
not to make
my zebra
bracelet talk

To wear a bra
Underpants too
Don’t do Tai Chi
in the parking lot
while I wait
No McGuire Sisters’
songs in the car

The list goes on until the exasperated Mom declares, I’ll never get through
adolescence without rebelling.

If you’ve ever obsessed over books or paraphernalia that might be found in the house
upon your decease, you won’t want to skip over, To Dana, whose deathbed wish was
“for a friend to dispose of her vibrator before the family found it.” I’ll leave that poem
for you to read after you purchase a copy of the book; “nuff” said here.

Poem after poem showcases Lockie’s winsome humor and clear-eyed view of life. In
Reading at the Little Joy (a bar on Sunset Boulevard) the poet is thinking about,
actually reading poetry, while two young men who ask, How much? are thinking about
something else entirely.

The poem Bidet in a Haibun, takes place in Florence, Italy, where Lockie and her
husband try to figure out exactly what a bidet is and what it is used for. When all else
fails, read the instructions, which they do: Face the wall, straddle the thing, turn
faucets, basin fills.
Stand by for laughter!

Dear reader, do you prefer taking showers or baths? Ever since my youth, I’ve been
strictly a shower guy. But Lockie “never” showers. Find out why in the poem, Why I
Don’t Shower.
In this prose poem lucky readers are treated to a shower experience
where the first blast of water is cold as a “Montana blizzard.”

Lockie is possessed with a unique genius for giving voice to that which is tacitly
understood, but needing full-throated explanation. Take for example this excerpt from

Nomenclature in Montana

As children, there were no body-part words
for what the cows, horses, pigs, chickens
cats and dogs were doing
But we all knew they were making babies
And that it was as good and happy
As a 60-bushel wheat crop

The poem uses this simply-stated sestet as a launching-pad to poke a little fun at our
reluctance to discuss openly the very things that provide not only pleasure, but which
also give birth to those we love in the present moment and cherish in our memories.

Sex and Other Slapsticks may be small in terms of volume (17 poems) but it is
prodigious in both ideas and challenges to our thinking. On top of that, this collection
of poems is just plain FUN to read!

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