Blurry I blink open
to Madonna in tacky tiara
and low-riding jeans, time-stop
dancing in a blue-red sepia swirl
before the stars and stripes
skinny arms sprawling bare
exposed hips swirling bye bye Miss American Pie.
I don’t realize it’s the TV until the doctor rolls in,
feel needles stiff underskin sticky circles sucked to my chest
reading faint signs of life.…
This morning she saw you tumble down the stone wall. She scrambles to inspect for scraped knees, soft blood. You are perfect, unmarred. No scar to tell. She scoops you back up. You straddle the bridge rails. Toss pebbles that ripple across her taut skin. A picnic of fried chicken and cool sweet tea, how easy to forget the sun can slow burn, reflect off the heavy marsh, and make murky the foretelling: how fragile this bassinet of bone and blood.
I hate the pain.I hate the mindlessness torture of loving someone. I hate the meaningless of it all.
– Leza Cantoral, Cartoons in the Suicide Forest
“Spawned” in 2013 as an imprint of JournalStone Publishing, Bizarro Pulp Press has quickly become a major name in the realm of speculative prose, as it specializes in offering “dark pulp fiction for readers who enjoy art that challenges the boundaries of ‘normal’ in the literary world.” With over two dozen wonderfully weird works under its belt, it’s fair to say that B.P.P. champions the bold, unusual, and fearless, which is why its newest release, Leza Cantoral’s Cartoons in the Suicide Forest, feels perfectly at home next to its twisted siblings. As an editor at both CLASH Media and Luna Luna Magazine, Cantoral is no stranger to hard-hitting explorations of topics like sexuality, femininity, abuse (be they physical, emotional, and/or mental), subjugation, and identity, all of which she touches upon here with poised eccentricity, imagination, and valor. While its frequent depravity can be a bit repetitive and superficially shocking at times, almost all of Cartoons in the Suicide Forest is fresh, ingenious, eloquent, and powerful.…