Ross Gay in his collection "catalog of unabashed gratitude" as his title suggests contains twenty-four poems of unashamed appreciation of life's beauty expressed through Gay's eccentric affinity for armpits, sleeping in clothes, and mulberry trees. Gay's poetry begins with a simple image or relatable concept before branching of into a series of images. Gay also displays an extraordinary talent for depicting and choreographing action. This skill set can be analyzed in Gay’s poem
“smear the queer” which begins with an accurately detailed depiction of how a session of smear the queer plays, “you could watch/the savannah’s dust bellow/from the chase/the fleet boy’s pronghorn flight/his juke and whirl/his stutter-step spring/or the buffalo boy’s chug/hauling the whole/flailing pride/and one way or another/down we’d be” (23).
The simple actions of the “chase” eventually develop more complicated actions displaying the avoidance to be dragged down. The metamorphosis of the narrative from realism to surrealism happens in the poems ending depicting the pile of stacked bodies as
“a mountain/within which a cave/where was heard/a stream’s faint murmur/ and seen the mirrored glance/ of an iridescent bird’s/luminous eyes/a cave/across the ridged walls/of which gallops and flickers/a herd of elk/ and on the sandy/floor beneath the feathers of firelight” (24).
Gay’s narrative gets lost in the metaphor and presents it as reality to the reader, the transition is smooth and seamless