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Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal - Summer 2008

  • Issue Number: Issue 17
  • Published Date: Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle: Triannual online

The poetry published in the Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal is possibly the most eccentric and intriguing mix of poetic styles ever mingled together in a chemical potluck of creative energy. A fascination with the life of certain creatures and their metaphoric or allegoric relationship to humanity is often at the center of these poetic pieces, as well as some poems that speak specifically or obliquely to the not-so-friendly and explosive reactions that have or can cause the death of millions in this country.

“Anthologies” by Ray Succre is an absurd poem about the main character (human, I believe) who suffers from the experience of being served as if the main course for dinner. “That I am with certain smarts is smartly a dove / to the foxtooth, for I now see myself between / covers, in sauces.” This poem attempts to play the mythological elements in reverse, the main character becoming the meal when he was once the hunter of the meal. In Talia Reeds “Package Deal,” how we deal with the threat of terror is dealt with directly: “We are entering the era of the / car bomb. The nail bomb. The terror spectacular. // This agony hovers outside of our / ballroom. We cringe. We halt. We carry on.”

In the hilarious romp of “Potato Eyes” by Joshua Diamond, we the reader are rhymed and joked and punned to pure bliss:

And your eyes are trout – not trout but
salmon – pink like salmon and lemon grass stench.
And every time you scream I clench
the starchy meat unearthed by till
until they scald in handsome heat
and drown your eyes in liquid calm.

If you have ever heard a more beautifully rendered narrative of the boiling of a potato, my friends, I dare you to show the whites of its eyes between these electronic pages.

Furthermore, in “The Forgery of Heaven” by Carand Burnet, the journal shows its willingness to tackle serious topics head on under the guise of satire.

I know a woman who only
wants to be transparent
like the air
her chest throbs so it graphs
the rib-canyons
but she prefers it to pound
it reminds her of existence
at four in the morning
she is there for the people
that dial in too late

It seems to impart to the reader the physical pains that are a part of human existence as well as the blood that runs through our veins and allows us to breathe or not breathe.

The Arsenic Lobster, despite the fact that it publishes poetry, is no one trick magician. It has many multi-colored sashes and jack-in-the-boxes up its adventurous sleeves. It invites you into seemingly haphazard metaphors and allegories about the human condition and makes them appear both ridiculous and relevant until we cannot determine which we’d rather do, laugh or cry.

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Review Posted on September 01, 2008

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