Cool Auditor, the tenth book by Ray Gonzales, is a collection of prose poems. Focusing on the strange, improbable, and all too possible, the poems in this collection are often surprising, harrowingly funny, and always interesting. Attracted to the sinister side of technological and scientific advances, Gonzales also celebrates the weirdness in the world, and allows odd things to happen in his work, such as running into a deceased James Wright or becoming Bob Dylan. In these poems, the surreal is best fit to carry the weight of the real. "Let Me Disappear" begins:
According to scientists, astronauts get taller when they are in space and in Albania, nodding your head means "no" and shaking your head means "yes." This says I am going to disappear and become a parrot.
The rest of this poem swerves and wires together facts, logic, and illogic, until we believe the pathos behind the speaker's inevitable change as fact. In Cool Auditor, armed with the acuity of all his senses and his sense of irony, Gonzales marries levity and depth to expose what runs beneath the current of contemporary life.
This book review originally appeared in American Poets.