Thepoem, is Twitterdism incarnate, and it's most striking accomplishment is that it's taken brevity beyond the conservative deployment of articles, adjectives and other connecting tissues that made Hemingway the still-pilloried genius and made the style a crabby, grandstanding assemblage of barking alliteration and crash-dummy conceits. Some of this might have been effective had it suggested another medium, a painting in the style of Stuart Davis. In his canvases, a city scape on a typical walk does seem to pile on you, which makes his best work a nicely clustered terrain of icons to walk through. But Davis hasn't the curse of feeling required to be literary. Cooper boils the sentences down to the grunts, but what remains isn't believable as speech
Backstreet barricade, arcane
balustrade, hidden kingdom of wing and prayer,
details too fine to miss or mess with,
skinny escape from a netherhood
of parapets and puddle soaked oaks.
He might have veered closer to the old WC Williams' notion of writing to the rhythm and bluntness of speech as it's actually spoken, without a bookish filter to bring the impressions through. Sonnet like? Maybe, but the best sonnets get to an effect that makes you consider the technique and limitations after the emotional content registers and becomes felt by the reader. I can't get beyond this poem sounding like someone attempting a unique way of expressing itself. That is exactly the problem--it does sound unique, and it's the kind of singularity you hope remains a single instance.