Welcome, Dangerous Life by Ben Gunsberg
My rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Our world seems really dangerous these days. It’s tempting to scan the horizon and think big. We have convinced ourselves our apocalypse is nigh upon us, and it will be large, it will contain multitudes: WWIII brought about by bots and sock puppets; racist, xenophobic, and/or otherwise insurgent mobs; melting ice caps… — oh, so many sea-changes, real or imagined. The danger, it seems so clear, is enormous, “out there,” and headed our way. Ben Gunsberg sees danger differently. He’s more interested in the [near]-and-present danger — articulated here with grace and musicality in this, his first full-length collection — that comes from caring, every day, about the people and events of our everyday lives. How do we explain death to a daughter? What ghosts of long-lost past failures (ours or others’; major, minor) lie buried, like so many IEDs, in our on-line timelines and text-message threads? Machines teach our sons to read, tell them what their sentences should say. What half-truths make our glasses half-full in a world such as this, where we can fail people we truly love in small but measurable increments? What happens when these real-life hurts and losses get added up? This has always been the real(est) and most dangerous world — says this book of contemporary wisdom laid out with admirable lyrical precision — and, Gunsberg convincingly argues, it’s wisest, best, to welcome every blessed, full-full, white-knuckled moment of it.