This collection of poems charts the course of a speaker coming-of-age in rural South Mississippi, a world that is sublime and terrifying, but these poems are not limited to one landscape, region or approach. If this collection has a hero, it is Gigolo who confesses his hand-bitten tale of survival, navigating the difficulties of his inevitable frail natures, holding his fist up to what he dreams and lives for. He speaks of the wounds that must be spoken of. He speaks of the correspondence of nature, the marvels of nature. He perseveres adversity, he celebrates adversity, he portrays a speaker's evolution—whole yet broken, dying yet loving—alive at its end.
The penniless spawn of hell-fire spewing evangelicals, Gigolo hotfoots it to the one city where a young man can get paid as long as he's willing to do anything: New Orleans. A Dante in hot pants and platform heels, Gigolo is at his most moving when he describes the world he came from, one of farm life, jail time, and church, church, church, all in the company of characters so odd that Flannery O'Connor would have shaken her head and said, "They're too weird for me." Like cherry bombs, these poems startle, illuminate, and make you cackle with delight as you say, "Awright! Fire up another!"
Few poets have signaled, from the inside of their debasement, the commerce of the body for sale, leaving out nothing, not even the luciferic joy at the bottom of the well. The chains of Scott Bailey's Gigolo have dragged themselves over the ruined landscape of the city, leaving in their wake the words in this book.
Scott Bailey has a distinctive voice. He is Southern, religious, and a homo speaking about poverty, hard-ons and damnation. His persona Gigolo blew me on every poem. His mouth, I mean, his flexible voice is worthy of your attention.