Tyson Bley’s Drive-Thru Zoo

Straight up, I’ve been a Tyson Bley fangirl ever since I read an extract of Normal Service Will Resume Shortly on decomP and wandered over to his blog at Soapstain. I was super excited when I found out Gobbet Press was putting out an honest-to-god old school paper collection of some of Bley’s poems. Tyson sent me a copy of Drive-Thru Zoo, fondled by his own Cheetos stained appendages.

(I like to imagine he dropped it in a post box while he was walking a dog.)

I read it the day showed up in the mail. It was awesome. I read it again. It’s still awesome. Which makes it hard for me to write about. I get weird and self-conscious when I write about stuff I really like. And explaining Tyson Bley challenges my powers of description on my best days. Double whammy.

What the fuck can I say about reading Tyson Bley?

His poems are the noise which we plumb for signal. The idea that Bley is saying something, maybe something important, rubs up against me like calculus. Among the aborted robot fetuses and gorilla shit, redolent of 4chan and America’s next pop culture, ADD as a Higgs boson and disjointed as a Twitter feed, lurks something profound.

My girlfriend has for a number of years been an Elvis impersonator.
The ghost she puts on every night like a gown, just before bed,
wants her body. One day, it will have it. In bed, it is a species
of ambulance that emits dengue beams and whose sweat smells
like tap water. She has not yet heard its threadbare siren. She thinks
the noise comes from the ants living in the pipes.


Tyson Bley’s poems are achingly human: confused, random, and beautiful with stabby bits and festering warts and hentai tentacles that make me want to shower like I’ve never been clean.
They smell like the Ewok lunch box I had in the second grade. They’re blocky chunks of animation in Thundercat colors. They’re the sick fascination the first time I saw Goatse.

And they’re funny. Tyson Bley is a funny motherfucker.

There are not many books that make me laugh, but Drive-Thru Zoo is among them.


my inner ear is circulating hot earwax as all inner ears must
my balance is not out of kilter
but why is there a squishy sound under my shoe?
it’s unlikely to be Jerry
but it is Jerry
Jerry is the insect I’d welded together from tiny shiny parts
I’d euthanized Jerry because of his unbearable anxiety
I am a human
I am not a prick
I have a heart
I euthanize tiny mechanical insects when they’re in pain
I am not a shit

when I created Jerry, a certain hope became unhinged and
through my innards in grains
I’d hoped to create a truly cute being

but why does Jerry make a squishy sound and not a crispy sound
when I step on his little corpse?

Brass tacks, Bley’s like sex or drugs; I can tell you what it’s like for me, but you’re gonna have to read it yourself to really understand the experience. Lay back and enjoy Drive-Thru Zoo for the sticky dadaist mindfuck that it is. The point isn’t to dissect each poem and suck intent from its cracked bones, it’s to enjoy the frottage as the weirdness in Tyson Bley’s panting brain presses up against you in the crowded media train.

(Check out the sweet cover by Matthew Revert, too. Shiny.)

You can find Tyson Bley at Soapstain. AFAIK, Drive-Thru Zoo (Gobbet Press; 2013) is only available via Amazon.