Charles Pennequin: bobines (2001) and Tuémonamour (2008)

Suffocation générale by Charles Pennequin, from his website.

I like to think of the French poet, Charles Pennequin, as being full of shit, not metaphorically, but physically topped-up, just like all the rest of us eating sleeping fucking shitting machines. We put on airs with our precious identities and our fabulated projects, but for the brief time we walk the earth it’s a constant flow down the cake-hole and out the asshole. Like the blind earthworm, we push forward through moist earth, opening wide, taking it in and spewing it out. If we were to stop, we would shrivel up and die. So each day we race to assure that the precious flow continues unabated.
 
With Pennequin however there seems to be a blockage. Rather than flowing, the material has met resistance somewhere inside the dark interior of the body. Over time, it has backed up; slowly filling all available interior space, till the body has became bloated and thick. 
 
Deep within the narrow canals and tangled passages of the gut, in the heart of compacted matter, fecaliths have formed, hard as rock. In the narrow space, they seize and block it shut. Eventually the matter, having no natural outlet, begins to seep out through the pores of the skin. It leaks out the ears. 
 
When Pennequin speaks, the smell is so intense your head spins. 
 
In bobines, his self produced disc from 2001, Pennequin delivers his pieces in a rapid uninflected drone. Many of the poems are read on a single breath, the words spewing out till both breath and line are exhausted. On the Wikipedia page dedicated to Pennequin, it says that this distinctive delivery was the result of his fear of reading in public. He read the texts quickly so as to end the experience, as quickly as possible. 
 
For many in the audience, the feeling was probably mutual. The poems in bobines are not for the faint of heart. Some trauma of childhood, never clearly stated, is being reworked. Whether it’s the father in the garden tilling soil, or the burial of the doll in the mud near the river, it is disturbed and unnatural. Each a cappella reading on the disc erupts with the same intense energy, a cascade of logorrhea that is all the more unsettling because the poems retain a literal sense. The sequence of words remains comprehensible, yet the psychological state implied by that inexhaustible flow describes someplace where none of us wants to go.
 
In the six years that separate bobines form Pennequin’s most recent disc Tuémonamour, (trAce records, Paris, 2008) the range and confidence of Pennequin’s delivery has broadened appreciably. Strongly accompanied by the noisy electric guitar, synths and samples of Jean Pierre Pauvros, Pennequin shouts, barks and occasionally sings on this disc, extruding guttural speech acts with a deliberation and raw violence, as if he were bashing open the rotting carcass of a horse with a blunt axe. 
 
We, the normal ones, are overwhelmed with feelings of disgust and revulsion at the unnatural and unhealthy aberrations of Mr. Pennequin, so out of place in the world that Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Rupert Murdoch have concocted for us. We, who have become appendages to our calculating machines, can no longer bear the sights, sounds and smells that Pennequin serves up. For us, there remains only the comforting silent blather of our community of friends as it scrolls past in silence, on the pristine and very private cybernetic walls that surround us. 
 
Pennequin’s latest disc, des chiens de la casse, released in January of 2012 is available via direction@frac-franche-comte.fr.