There’s not a lot I won’t do for a dollar. I’ve always considered myself an opportunist or versus a cold-hearted capitalist, but when I was approached by someone to review their perverted poetry for $300 I leapt at the chance. After all, how twisted could it be–right?
If you’ve frequently banged to horror movies, think it’s romantic Mary Shelley kept her lover’s calcified heart on her desk, or simply identified too strongly with Holden Caulfield, this series of poems ( ironically named Healthy Behavior) is for you.
Let me explain– it isn’t that the poems are poorly written or self-indulgent–on the contrary the writing is tight and rather introspective–it’s that the subject matter is not for the faint of heart. Sex and self-awareness go hand-in-hand in this collection, leading the unsuspecting reader down a raunchy rabbit hole that may begin as a guilty pleasure, but ends with arguably the theme of the book: are you in control of the life you want?
While the book has its fair share of sex and graphic themes, most notably the excert that Gilbert Goffrey was paid on cameo to read aloud, it’s not the meaningless sex that fills college dorm rooms and plagues drunken hook ups– it’s careful and calculated. BDSM and intimacy are scattered throughout the pages, leading the reader to question whether or not it’s about the physical pleasure of sex or the gratification of control (or lack of) that one craves.
Is kink truly just a coping mechanism? I guess that’s for the reader to interpret.
Lack of control in one’s destiny is a theme woven throughout the collection, with poems exploring the origin of relationships and how they affected the end results, begging the question– are we ever truly free of our past? While the lessons to be learned must be construed between the lines, escapism and tinted nostalgia in the characters runs rampant, leading me to believe the takeaway is this: you can’t change the past, but you can change who you become.
Maybe that’s an oversimplification of the message, but there seems to be an optimistic arch in an otherwise Bukowski-esque book.
Too long, didn’t read? The bottom line is this: Yes, there is a lot of really fucked-up, kinky sex. But also, you should probably consider why you’re having that sex in the first place.