Poetry Review: Love in a Time of Robot Apocalypse, by David Perez

[Reviewed by Kyrsten Bean]

David Perez speaks on a wide range of prescient topics in his poetry collection aptly titled Love in a Time of Robot Apocalypse. No subject is immune to being encapsulated in a poetic plea, observation or rumination. Poems titled, “Contraband,” “Watching Fallen Bridges,” To the Lady Who Carves a Notch in Her M-16 for Every Robot She Leaves Charred and Perforated in the Ruins of Los Angeles,” and “To My Zombie Killing Ex-Boyfriend: A Break-up Letter,” piqued my interest immediately. The poems in this book are edgy, fresh and contemporary.

Perez eloquently mixes black humor, vivid imagery and existential crises inside stories with their own inside stories. Particularly poignant is “Deep Blue,” a complex poem about a competition between World Champion Grandmaster Garry Kasparov and a computer by the name of Deep Blue. “You may want to pray/to the malfunctioning synapse/that makes you believe in a God/that I never develop a taste/for self-preservation,” says the computer as he outwits Kasparov. The poem delineates each chess move as robot and human perform a dance where machine battles human nature.

Kyrsten Bean is a Staff Writer for Synchronized Chaos. She may be reached at kyrstenb@gmail.com.

“Dacryphilia,” touches on sex, poetry and the government. The narrator manages to self-deprecate in an ironic humorous style as well as get laid during the course of the poem – he is dubbed “political poet,” by a woman who wants to put a black hood over his head and “fuck (him) like a CIA kidnapping.”

“The Time I Caught My Parents Doing the Viennese Oyster” touches on the subject of childhood and loss of innocence. “The Passion of the Christ on Opening Night” speaks to of the fierceness of human belief, “We pray for a beam to cut the darkness/so we can believe /someone upstairs knows the story” whereas “Watching Fallen Bridges” questions why people would “rather program themselves into freefall than program new directions.” In “Restaurant Theory,” Perez opens with a quote from a math teacher he once dated.

I feel after reading the collection that I’ve passed another tortured soul in the dark; my skin ridden with goose bumps. Perez speaks to the isolation technology can bring, describes a world where people live in their own self-made boxes, fight zombies, lose lovers, grow up with strange people for parents, and date people they don’t know at all while machines beat them at their own game and Black Friday is recounted through the eyes of a Sesame Street character named Elmo.