A Motive for Mayhem
(Potes & Poets, 1989)
A Motive for Mayhem is an extravaganza of jumps & starts & angles "resonant [with] volumptuous suggestions." Filmmaker & poet Abigail Child's cutting within and between sentences is energizing & startling, giving a pulsing, syncopated flow to these exploded lyrics and imploded proses.
Blockages, separation and the full panorama of ought-to-be discrete modalities of anxiety, desire and bonding (we're talk- ing love, sex, spectacle, society) are integrated here into and even as syntax's tissues. Sensitive and impertinent to the training one may mean to bring to the body of a text, these split-second serial cuts, wipes, dissolves and shifts in depth of field at once elude and refer back to the urgent purposive focusing of some mentally imagined eye, afforded no particular- ly convenient place to stand, and the necessity of the partner.
Reading A Motive for Mayhem is a shattering experience. Like Child's films, the text motivates the reader into a space where time moves in multiple directions, forcing constant reshaping of cherished figures--including the naturally erroneous position of the girl. Between the complex layers, abstract and highly visual at the same time, one glimpses a new ethic of the text. Its folds, its remarkably intelligent movement enchant us.