‘Here on Huron’ is like a damaged VHS turned into letters and punctuation

Here on Huron

Chapbook, Michael Sikkema, 20 pgs, above/ground press, abovegroundpress.blogspot.com, $5

The poet’s bio describes an interest in “feral alphabets, bird-mushroom confluences, tree music, and the function of poetry for the human microbiome.” I can’t find any of these topics in Here on Huron, really, but the description is at least a warning: this chapbook is wacky.

Visual poems blend into each other, dissolve off the page. More ASCII art than verse, Michael Sikkema still tries to wrangle his word-images into form and narrative. “Split screen:” reads one untitled poem, “cloned secret hero views / secret hero through rifle scope, secret/hero stares at their own hands then a gutpile.” He closens: “gutpile zoom: tiny society evolving rapidly / writing, ag, cities, early stages of flight.” Making heads or tails of the revenge plot between “secret hero” and “cloned secret hero” is a fool’s errand. As Sikkema assures us in his “chorus,” “everything / is already / something else.” It’s as if he’s translated a damaged VHS into letters and punctuation. Some of the words make it through — less of the plot — so the dance becomes an incomplete, but steady corruption. An interesting read.