THE BLOOD POETRY, by Leland Pitts-Gonzalez, Raw Dog Screaming Press, 216 pp., $14.95.
The Blood Poetry is a dark and otherworldly literary novel about a clan of grotesques. Epstein, the protagonist, who delivers his innermost rants in a berserk vernacular all his own; Abby, Epstein’s wife, whose disappearance sparks our protagonist’s descent into guilt and vice; Olivia, Epstein’s mother, who is undead and tames her ruthlessness by joining a Pentecostal church; Astor and Fester, conjoined twins who date back to the Civil War and elders of the Pentecostal church who profess their own brand of redemption to Epstein; Professor Applebaum, Olivia’s boyfriend during Epstein’s childhood, who forced Epstein to participate in a series of horrifying acts; and our once rambunctious Sylvia, Epstein’s daughter who returns to life after dying, only to become repulsed by the sound of her grandmother’s thoughts and all human touch, but whose yearning for her father to restore her to health is Epstein’s best chance at reclaiming his own humanity.
I traipse no I run no I sprint—a fat, impotent ghoul sprung straight from the cellar of my childhood home—past the pregnant girl with five skeletal children and the nun and the synagogue with its windows stoned through and I’m headed directly for my daughter, Sylvia, at her school where she’s stationed with classmates of wannabe punks and black boys with their heads shaved and every one of them, apes, gushing out their hormones as I sprint to the edge of the Earth where Sylvia studies the canon of our national literature that I’m desperately trying to forget. My mind circles around the memory of my wife, Abby, and I must tell Sylvia everything, everything, because our brief lives depend on it. My heart races, so I halt and I bend over and gasp, spilling the life-force straight from my gut as I straighten up and focus on Sylvia in the baseball field posed before the sun as if I were destined to paint her into eternity but, my dear Satan, I will never be an artist. Our Earth has come to this. I must confess everything. Our clan’s terrible history pierces my forehead from the inside-out, but my idiot right hand, on its own, betrays me and covers the spiritual hole in my head. It’s hot and I’m drenched with sweat and quickly, dumb fuck, quickly, decide whether or not to tell Sylvia about all the debauchery of our clan and she’s right over there ahead of me as if, even, I would dare to touch her. My tongue is a slug desperate to peek out, so speak loudly of the femurs in our dark present, of Abby, my missing wife, of what happened and may never be resolved, never, and then Sylvia—my beautiful, young offspring—sees me and grimaces as if she’s embarrassed of her fat, impotent father, but I’m here, Sylvia, right here but she has no idea what’s coming for her.
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