12.5 point review of A Slow Boiling Beach by Rauan Klassnik


  1. These poems ripped me apart then repopulated me as a choir of voices filled with hope and pus.

  2. [cursed]

  3. If I had to hazard a guess at some influences that feed into this work I’d say Tomaž Šalamun, Paul Celan and yes, Lautréamont and yes, The 120 Days of Sodom. But they are fed in here like logs to a wood chipper; utterly changed, repurposed, and all the more fragrant for the process.

4. Storm of crystal

My mind’s coming apart.

The woman continues to separate, her limbs moving so easily up through the trees, accelerating up through planets. Not catching on twigs. Revolving in calm, inspiring music. I crash in the arms of the men.

A fly buzzing around. The menace is total. And overwhelming.

We hurt the dogs and whipped the donkey across the fence. I canhear the colors. The pain disappearing.

You can tell who’s a killer.

I put the condom on.

A cuff link, adjusted.  

  1. [cursed]

6. Pheasant in the road

You come alive, crying and cooing.

You push a cigarette into your neck. You start to shake. You gasp softly.

A forest of hands, hanged like expensive decoration.

I take the bus. A bunch of convicts lighting up the skies flowing beneath their cages. They love the river. And the gaudy azalea bushes. People are killing. People are kissing.

The fish aren’t dead, you whisper. They’re as happy as rain, you whisper. I can feel them failing. The terror.

Pushing our babies through the zoo.

A handsome caw.

  1. These are visceral as gristle in a pan of grease. O do they sizzle.

  2. Poetry as bsdm. Poetry as cantation.  As catharsis.  As ptsd journal. As internal anguish. As hardcore kink. As perverse burlesque. As trigger warning.

9. Promise to be nice

I glue the heads on the bodies.

Blurred cake. Advertisements for underwear or perfume. Rubbing them behind the ear.

The skin’s peeling from my neck, back, shoulders, face. I can’t stop seeing the tree in flames.

I imagine drinking a bottle of Tequila. Grackles skim down and land around the body in the dry riverbed. My mind tries to run away. But I close my eyes and imagine getting choked to death during sex.

Be gentle, you whisper, from under the water. Plz be gentle.

Bodies hanged from bridges.

The stone’s still warm.

  1. I’d hate to be Klassnik’s therapist … or his jailer.

  2. Not one poem in this collection is longer than a page and are all made up of short terse lines. stop Like telegrams stop from hell stop

  3. Klassnik is a king with the intensity of a serial killer. An index of this book would terrify me.

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