Introduction to Alex Creece’s Potty Mouth, Potty Mouth

By , and | 2 February 2024


Alex Creece’s Potty Mouth, Potty Mouth is a reckless, glorious, grotty revolution. It’s an insubordinate ‘kissyface of cobwebs’ that sticks it to capitalism, heteronormativity and the patriarchy.

The poems tap into our senses: the reader sees the visual cyber ‘0NLY 5CR34M’; hears the ‘amphibian alchemy’ of ‘galumphs’ and ‘la-di-da-di-das’; smells public transport’s cocktail of cologne ‘fighting for atmospheric dominance’; tastes the dirt gnawed off garden gloves, the ‘sick ickness’ of dry-retching, the hocked phlegm and chew of a spit ball; and feels the etch of ‘friction-burnt knees’ and ‘pores scrubbed raw but never unfilthy’.

One thing this text doesn’t – rightfully – shy away from is queerness. Through ‘high glitching lavender lechery’, Creece proves to be the death of the wholesome ingénue, and is defiantly not ‘the kind of gay that fits comfortably within a Kmart catalogue.’ These poems subvert traditional tales of womanhood via dyke culture by ‘reliving the gnaRled guts of a girlhood’ and confessing to us, ‘My coming out story is the ballad of Earring Magic Ken.’

Quotably horny and delightfully vulgar, Potty Mouth, Potty Mouth reeks of dirty talk via stream of consciousness slide-worthy DMs. The poem ‘God Wants You to Come!’ is a mash-up collage from pornography and religious magazines, which implores, ‘BE BAPTISED. FAPWORTHY for the Lord.’ While ‘The Last 37.5mg’ asks ‘what if I left the vibrator gently buzzing in my nightstand / hornet’s nest of horniness.’

Creece’s words surge with anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian sentiments: ‘I pick my wedgie as I pass the fanciest mansion.’ The poem ‘Acne’ describes the cologne-stenched rich folks waiting for the author’s death so they ‘can build a McMansion from my body’, while zits are purported to be ‘a bubble of billionaires oozing from the craters in my face.’ Pimples are also seen as defiance and aliveness – ‘Acne is when I let myself live’, Creece writes. ‘I just want skin. Bad skin. And I want for that to be okay.’

This book tells us it’s okay to simultaneously desire deviance and defiance, while also wanting to retreat between the lines of poems. In psych wards full of ‘the brain zapz and psyche scraps’ where it’s ‘your duty to have fun’, Creece asks us, ‘how do I grow here?’ Especially when, in the inescapable shadow of the aftermath of rape, ‘I know now I was never / deranged, / only degraded to the point where I cannot / metabolise my own history.’

Potty Mouth, Potty Mouth examines the watchfulness and freedom of dirt, earth and garden, through the lens of a climate change conscious narrator who proclaims, ‘I want to plant enough trees to offset my existence.’ While in ‘Mindblind’, we are offered the haunting image of ‘a Milo tin / in the apocalypse. / Comforting, but for whom?’
It’s a dirty, dykey, 90s-nostalgic text that, through existential and self-referential lines, asks us to question our inner grimy gremlin. This work is a ‘potty-mouth shitfaced double-knot’ of a book from the ‘cuntrarian gullet’, and I am glad these poems never washed their mouths out with soap.

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