Holy Hell

Only three more sleeps till Saturday, when you can stuff your alarm clock in the back of the closet and sleep until the cat drools in your eye! Hurrah! Meanwhile, the very best accompaniment to the midweek blues is an existentially terrifying poetry collection, and we have just the thing: Holy Land by Rauan Klassnik.

Holy LandHoly Land is a surreal and startling collection of short prose poems by a writer who describes his oeuvre as “dark, sexual puffery, blah, blah.” HTMLGIANT’s J.D. Scott writes that each Klassnik poem is like “a tiny, dimly lit room with the air running out,” and this is an apt description: Holy Land is most definitely not for literary wusses. If you faint at the mere mention of blood (or children in ditches or amputated feet), please return to your Improving Verses About Flowers and leave Holy Land for those folks who like their poetry to give ’em a short, sharp kick in the soul.

Here’s a review from Goodreads that rather proves this point:

I don’t really understand the poems included in this book. … These poems make me think of dreams, bad dreams, the weird, dark, disturbing bad dreams I start having in summer when my bedroom gets too hot at night. These poems make me uncomfortable in the same way heat induced bad dreams make me uncomfortable. Shudder!

I concur with this poor, swooning reviewer in his/her assessment of heat-induced bad dreams—shudder!—but I disagree vis–à–vis disturbing poetry. There’s something comforting in the sharing of a literary nightmare, and disturbing poetry, when it’s good, is very good indeed. And Holy Land is very good. Exampleatron, hook us up!

His voice is a tiny flash of light. A lighthouse pulsing. An orchid hanging. Waterfalls and almond trees. The sky’s pressed down: one eye blue, the other pink. He’s been dead for months. Hard black fetal skin. His voice dogshit white.

I’m on a cloud floating by and I’ve gone mad but madness flows away in a tall shining work of Art and I’m standing in front of a fountain and the world’s ringing down through me and there are no fields of migrants mixing hair and bone into concrete. Trucks lined up and ready. Cups of cold coffee, a Rolex and a crucifix. A girl on a payphone begging.

Talking to God’s like jerking off. You strain in the dark for years, but then a fuse gets lit, and people come screaming out of the fire. They land in the streets, their arms and legs blown off. A man on a horse tips his hat. Marilyn holds down her dress. In the charred air, angels hang.

Thanks, Exampleatron! But I’d prefer to hear from the author himself, preferably while he’s sitting in a bathtub with a pink wig on his head…

Nice work! If you like what you hear, stop by 613 West 29th Street and we’ll hook you up with a little midweek Klassnik. Final word goes to this lady: