I got the second batch of Mud Luscious Press chapbooks today, and read them excitedly. J.A. Tyler (editor) chose bright neon colors which, for me, reflected a certain kind of synthetic violence I found to be a unifying factor.
Rat Beast by Nick Antosca
[Spoil alert] This piece starts off fairly ‘normal,’ a first person narrative about a dour kid turned teenager having trouble at school. A Huxleyian counselor enters with treatment alternatives, the final of which takes a rather grotesque Kafkian turn (two name-drops, sorry), towards the eponymous animal. The ending is even more evocative due to the well-handled restraint in the writing.
Patience by Brandi Wells
A man carves the female reproductive system in the rind of an orange, creating a fetus in place of the fruit. At one point he “carves a fist beside the labia,” an allusion (in my sick mind at least) to fisting, or at least the manual ways women’s bodies are altered by patriarchal ideals (I’m so gay). Wells describes fallopian tubes wrapping around blades of glass and ants eating them; a kind of abortion detritus. J.A. Tyler plays well with the physical page break, embracing the most precious (bad word!) moment of the story.
In the Rape Year of the Ghetto Toddler the Houses Will Awaken by Blake Butler
To try to understand the title is to try to understand Butler’s writing, and I mean that in a good way. Butler is concerned with ideas, themes, and language–and how those three things cook down into meaning. He doesn’t explain it; but describes it, and he trusts the reader and himself enough to know that, through the thick confusion and minor nausea, his writing will be intuitively understood, and more importantly, viscerally manifested. Herein, rabbits live in bacon-greased arm sockets, wallpaper patterns dent cheeks, and a man is on vacation his whole life. Unabashed controlled chaos. Through the surrealism, I always get the feeling that Butler is talking about something less metaphysical, and more actual: an America today that might cause one to dry heave.
On a formal note, J.A. Tyler is marking MLP chapbooks with a signature ampersand in place of all ‘and.’
& it rocks.