Cool Talks, Dead I Guess

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“Are you out to numb?”

“Are you out to keep the dark away?”

“Christ, kid.  You’re the one who’s haunted.”

—from Jim Morrison joins me when I watch people eating in lighted windows



I've never been haunted by the ghost of Jim Morrison but I do know what it's like to converse with the spirits (metaphorically, at least) of dead rockstars and poets. And reading Marion Deal's Cool Talks, Dead I Guess, I feel like I'm right there with the speaker & the ghost in cheap leather, discussing philosophy or hunger or heat.



“Maybe if -- ”

“Yeh but what the

fuck does Deerfield Academy mean


That’s a nice cello but she’s not gone

mad enough to be haunted by

cheap ghost


leather pants”

I show Jim Morrison the biographies of other high school poets

Praise for Cool Talks, Dead I Guess

The protagonist of Cool Talks, Dead I Guess is being haunted by a 'cheap ghost in leather' who turns out to be no less than  iconic Doors front man Jim Morrison. JM and our poet hang out and chat in a series of everyday scenarios, whilst doing the laundry or checking the heating works. In each pithy poem and with an adept economy of language, emotions and themes are crystallized, and each scene is painted vividly and cinematically. Marion Deal is a skilled writer, and this collection is that rare thing - impossibly cool, droll and witty yet equally moving and poignant. Each interchange between poet and rock star is rattled out in an adrenaline fueled staccato conversation which unfurls on occasion into lines of beauty, and philosophical inquiry. Marion manages to make each encounter feel real, and the dialogue naturalistic, whilst imbuing it with lyricism and a subtle, understated musicality. Fiercely original and at time ferociously funny, I enjoyed Cool Talks, Dead I Guess, as much as I admired it - this is an addictive read by an exciting new voice.  

—Anna Saunders, Founding Director Cheltenham Poetry Festival, Author of Communions, Kissing the She Bear (Wild Conversations Press), Struck (Pindrop Press), Burne Jones and the Fox, Ghosting for Beginners (Indigo Dreams)

Marion Deal’s poems take the reader on a journey, overlaying the ordinary (what to eat, reading a book, getting out of town) with the extraordinary: short dialogues with the ghost of Jim Morrison. They challenge and muse, yearn and doubt. ‘I wanna go driving until I get sick to retching in a place where they / haven’t heard of / sunrise’ Marion writes, and the reader will long to go with them. These poems always surprise. At times, they merge the literary absurdity of James Tate with the burning wildness of Morrison himself. They are insightful, sure, but they are also fun—excellent, unexpected qualities for a collection to share.

—Ace Boggess, author of The Prisoners and I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So

The speaker in Marion Deal's Cool Talks teaches Jim Morrison's ghost how to knit, and vomits while he holds back their hair. This collection explores the tension between life and death and celebrity and non-celebrity in a way that is both intimate and voyeuristic, but somehow deeply human/deeply haunted. It will make you want to "[go] mad enough to be haunted by / a / cheap ghost / in / leather pants," and have the ghost of Jim Morrison (or Marion Deal) to help you navigate life; from booking flights to doing laundry to having existential crises.

—Erin Emily Ann Vance, author of Advice for Taxidermists and Amateur Beekeepers (Stonehouse) and Unsuitable and Others (APEP Publications)

When Jim Morrison haunts you, you would like it to be the way Marion Deal depicts in their chapbook, Cool Talks, Dead I Guess. This cool chapbook describes the conversation with a dead rock star poet, the lizard king himself. You could just imagine the realistic conversation between Jim’s ghost and the poet Marion Deal. It is existential talk, reminiscent of Descartes, and it is philosophical exaggeration of moments between life and death. I love the titles of each poem, and the dark forces described in such short pieces. A poignant read. 

—Christina Strigas, Author of Love & Vodka