Jason Guriel: Reviewing A Unicorn

for Michael Lista

“Reviewing Chinese Democracy [by Guns N’ Roses] is not like reviewing music. It’s more like reviewing a unicorn. Should I primarily be blown away that it exists at all? Am I supposed to compare it to conventional horses?”
-Chuck Klosterman

The mob that likes to think
it likes such things
as unicorns will judge
your work a hatchet job
and you, a hack, a heart-
less Viking tucking in
at his trestle table–
hacking loose a hoof
or breaking off a haunch
of a horse laid out
among apples on a platter.
Never mind your skill
with a cleaver, your wielding
it the way a surgeon does
a scalpel; the mob won’t see,
being up in the balcony
of the operating theatre,
what lies before you: a horse
with a tacky, tacked-
on prosthesis, the sort
of cost-effective solution
an extra wears when playing
it alien on some show.
(Test the prosthesis
with a tug and the mob
will cup its collective
hands around the bassoon
of a boo.) Your critics,
smelling a critic
with an attitude,
won’t see the papier-mache
cone for the horn,
so when you saw
it off (the horse craning
to lick your wrist
in gratitude) the mob will swear it hears
the sound of snark-
toothed steel biting
into living bone.

Jason Guriel from Satisfying Clicking Sound, Vehicule, 2014