Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Weird Sideshow At The Fair

OCHO #19 - Published by Didi Menendez
Review by Missy McEwen

OCHO #19, published Spring 2008, is a fantastic read for Halloween. On the cover, a girl with worms in her hair is screaming. The cover is a forewarning of what's to come: dark and grotesque images in poems so bizarre, they are like something from a bad dream. Didi Menendez' disclaimer mentions that this "issue was taking on a lovely macabre…feel."

The poems in this issue fit together perfectly. Most poems feature gruesome, nightmarish imagery. Even Billy Howell-Sinnard's poem The Butcher, about the day in the life of a butcher, when placed in this collection of poems, becomes scary:

"I split rib cages, sever heads--eyes still open.
Trunks and limbs hang on hooks. Between me

and my customers, ice-breathed freezer chests
stacked with tongues, ribs, rumps, legs,

thighs, breasts, and brains. A femur. A Pelvis.
Sawdust. All the same to me. The rosy flesh…"

Becoming Bull by Kemel Zaldivar, however, is downright strange and leaves me feeling spooked:

"I stabbed a pregnant cow…,
cut her open and tore out her calf."

Another poem by Kemel Zaldivar Meeting People is Easy, is even stranger:

"All that remains of Mercy is her head,
in the freezer, with the

Elena was nice; her Guatemalan eyes
float in a jar on the

Nancy fell asleep under water.
She surfaced with no
limbs and swam
to the pier…

Eating people is easy. They get
cozy in the stomach."


And that's not all. There is more where that came from. Miguel Murphy's Ramona & The Devil Rooster Lover:

"The girl loved her black rooster with the sun under its chin.
When she carried it under her arm…,
it went mad & slashed her

The girl touched her cuts & dreamt knives
flew through the air where she willed them. She was the Carnival Knife-
Thrower-Woman, impaling red apples on weak men's heads."

Ocho #19 is the weird sideshow at the fair, where, when there, you might run into the petrified man from Eudora Welty's story "Petrified Man":

"…But they got this man, this petrified man, that ever'thing ever since he was nine years old, when it goes through his digestion, see, … it goes to his joints and has been turning to stone."

Published by Menendez Publishing (2008). For more information on where to purchase this book, stop by

No comments: