“A murder / glided in last night, nested / in your bouffant, stayed / for months.” This mix of violence and humor offers just a glimpse of Abelkop’s poetic vision whereby in poem after poem she explores the gritty and sometimes sinister side of sexuality in mock-romantic and surrealist fashion. With a biting wit she takes aim at shattered domesticity, while also exploring the often bizarre and disturbing realm of gender politics. This is an ominous, sometimes Gothic universe where the jagged terrain of the human body becomes a canvas for uncanny scenes full of perversity and complexity, beauty and brutality. Each poem feels like a collage made from snapshots, memories, or the fractured mise-en-scène of wives and women – historical, imagined, mythological, fabulist, and cinematic. While grappling with fear, desire, lust, and uncertainty, the frenzied inhabitants of Abelkop’s world oscillate between prayer and cannibalism, love and violence, laughter and sex.
From Darling Beastlettes . . . .
Mrs. de Winter Rides Again
I pleasured and came dreaming about him slaughtering
her. As a fantasy, I liked it rather well.
I can put on any dress I like and he loves. I can drive
to any balmy province and still he has bludgeoned her
down, because she was a trollop and I am his wife.
I am a plain and kind wife. I am the wife he loves.
If she’d rotted from the inside out everyone
would’ve mourned. Instead now they haunt, me
and you and anyone who’s ever loved to see a beautiful,
live thing, which is everyone. Don’t you forget it.
It’s why I’m the wife and she’s the corpse.
It’s why I wake up and smile. I can forgive anything
so long as he loves only me. It’s this powerful gust
of air and I can’t stop it churning through me,
blasting me skinless. I don’t think I have a choice. I think
I enjoy not having a choice, some days. Other days,
I weep in the library because were I to choose otherwise—
if such a choice existed— I’d cease to fantasy. I’d go to sleep
at night and wake up remembering nothing. I’d never
smile. I’d probably draw everything my eyes chanced upon.
Gina Abelkop’s recent work can be found in Action, Yes, Encyclopedia Vol. II: F-K, Everyday Genius, Delirious Hem’s “Seam Ripper” series and Octopus. She is the founder and editor of Birds of Lace (http://birdsoflace.wordpress.com), a DIY feminist press started in 2005, as well as co-editor of the online journal Prayers for Children (http://www.prayersforchildren.be). She blogs regularly at The Moon Stop (http://themoonstop.blogspot.com).
Be sure to check-out Gina’s own webpage for a glimpse of the various inspirations for the book, as well as some intriguing visual, textual and musical references.