Created as a result of the one-time issue of the same name by the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, Cadillac Cicatrix offers a diverse range of poetry, nonfiction, prose, art, criticism and video. Leaving so much literary food on the readers’ plates, they will be forced to ingest its offerings one course at a time.
In the nonfiction story “Pieces of Prison” by Frederic Berthoff, we learn about the origins and adolescence of its central figure before he ended up behind bars. The main character reflects on the innocent surroundings that produced him in an America of idealistic dreams where he prayed with his family, behaved like ‘normal’ children do, and was told that the police were his friends and should be trusted. He takes us into a deceptively ‘typical’ backdrop that greets many at their inception into this world, especially the stereotypical world of the 1950s:
I was born at the crest of the Baby Boom, in January 1955. Not in a log cabin but in a brick hospital, and delivered through a haze of ether as was the custom at the time. We went to school across the street from there, in another solid brick and granite edifice, surrounded by old copper beech trees, a playground – swings and slides all painted a dark comforting green.
In the poem “khmatova #10” by Alan Elyshevitz, a kind of homage to the great Russian poet, the basic narrative structure of the poem is centered around the mysteries inherent in the notion of love and the lover, whether the lover is a muse or the poet Akhmatova herself:
Three blocks from your apartment –
equivalent, phantasm – your lover sees
his image in the passenger window with a real
flower bed across the street cushioning his head.
But a magnificent tulip is, to him, a mere death wish.
In the journal’s expansive art section, which includes photography, paintings and video, artist Chi Birmingham showcases drawings and paintings in a prominent single color, such as “Apartment with Lamp,” “Rose Garage,” and “Studio Apartment,” taking viewers to new and imaginative worlds otherwise unknown.
Cadillac Cicatrix will return you to the aesthetic and linguistic worlds of the Beat Generation (especially the California segment) and the past they represented without entirely removing you from modern hopes and hardships of the present day. This journal revels in the convergence of all literary genres, and that is why you will be so intrigued that you will continue to read and absorb its contents.