May 25th, 2011 / 2:04 pm
Author Spotlight & Random

3 teensy reviews

Tight Times is a children’s book about a kid who wants a dog. His mom says don’t talk to her because she is busy. She wears a bra around the house. The family makes the kid eat a cereal called MR. BULK. Dad gets laid off and comes home and smokes a cigarette and makes a stiff drink. Mom tells the kid to stay outside. Kid finds a cat in a garbage can. Some nosy aging hipster woman stranger says he should just keep the cat. Parents say, fine, OK, keep the damn cat. Kid does so and names it Dog. Kid feeds Dog lima beans.

Vivisection is the controversial act of operating on a living animal. People have performed vivisection on humans, primarily as some demented form of medical “experimentation” or as torture. Anesthesia usually not applied during these surgeries. The term is also the title of a poetry chapbook by Eric Weinstein, winner of the 2010 New Michigan Press chapbook contest.

These poems are intricate organs, with everything pulsing, filling and emptying, necessary. There is a beauty to medical terms and a horror: echolocation, sub-arachnoid, pericardium, tinnitus, fiberoptic bronchoscope. Red liver, blood. There is an odd and elegant examination at the glowing core of these poems, a dissection of our lives, and a question: Do we live within or without the red liver, the skin, the blood.


All day the brain’s leaky faucet

drips in its darkened apartment

dampened chords echoing

down the hall of the spinal canal.

Measureless, measureless,


it is a wonder the lower organs

never drown.

Much in the way one musician understands and respects another for a certain technique, an element of the “chops,” surely the pure precision of figurative language must be acknowledged. A poet finds the word. The word. I want to use the image of a scalpel but that seems obvious and then here by mentioning the term I have used it, so I should just move on to examples:

…enter the small spinning house of sleep.

…a migration

of birds inside me, a migraine

showing me the lightning strike

of my own retinas, storm crows

Eric Weinstein’s bio states, “His poetry appears widely.” You get the idea this man gets to the thing, the thing itself, without all noise that is only noise, and is not really the thing at all. It’s an impressive collection of poetry. It is an antidote to clutter. It made me feel holy and horrible. It had me me listening–lub, dub, lub, dub–to a larger pulse, us, some murmuring inside/outside life, these words.

And that’s

what gets me about the flesh

eating virus, the baby ghost:

Is it the ghost of a

baby, or the baby of a ghost?

Other Weinstein poems here:

The Second Bakery Attack

by Haruki Murakami.

Example of a great title. Example of a quest narrative, with newlyweds on a quest to break a curse, to obtain bread, to rob McDonald’s. Example of extended metaphor–man floating in boat on sea above volcano–as structural thread. Example of objects as representative. Example of a distance runner writing a short story. Post-coital notions after eating multiple Bic Macs. Example of a gun appearing in Japanese fiction. Example of no husband ever knowing a wife, and also the other way. No talking animals, sorry. Most Murakami will have a talking animal. A cat, for example. Example of importance of rituals, possibly superstitions. Example of Japanese youth acting Western in many respects. Example of continuity of similes, similes as assisting logic of story entire.

“Thirty Big Macs. For takeout,” said my wife.

“Let me just give you the money,” pleaded the manager. “I’ll give you more than you need. You can go buy food somewhere else. This is going to mess up my accounts and–”

“You’d better do what she says,” I said again.

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  4. Theficstructor

      Good post. Thank you.

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