Cindy Weinstein's aka The Feral Artist's Lampshades From the Skin of Roses
Vitriol - late 14c., "sulphate of iron," from O.Fr. vitriol (13c.), from M.L. vitriolum "vitriol," from neut. of vitriolus, from L.L. vitreolus "of glass," from L. vitreus "of glass, glassy," from vitrium "glass" (see vitreous). So called from its glassy appearance in certain states. Meaning "bitter or caustic feelings" first attested 1769, in allusion to the corrosive properties of vitriol. - Online Etymylogical Dictionary.
Vitriol is a very powerful weapon. It's the most abused and feared implement in a poet's arsenal, employed with great success by poets like Bukowski, Plath and yours truly (that's how I got my femi-nazi street cred). Most poets in my immediate and extended circle refuse, or, are not aware of poetry as an alchemical process, and are often afraid to use vitriol to drive the truth of their words home, as this might interfere with their likability/publishing/popularity karma.
Well, that's not the case with Cindy Weinstein's debut chapbook Lampshades From the Skin of Roses (copyright 2010, Cindy Weinstein aka feral artist). Lampshades contains beautiful corrosive poetry, the acidic pain of words that strip the reader bare within the first few lines of verse. This is not a book for the faint of heart, for those who would rather read pretty melancholic lines over a caramel moccachino at Starbucks. This is a book that is meant to be read while slowly working one's way through a bottle of Jack Daniels in a darkened corner booth of a dive bar. Only in the bowels of detritus can the alchemical beauty of Weinstein's poetry be truly appreciated, as in the poem, "Rosa Mortis," which disturbingly and sensuously describes Weinstein's fascination with the darker side of this iconic bloom and all it represents :
I'm dissecting roses.
I've done this a lot.
I know them intimately... like a surgeon... or a lover.
I buy them by the dozens
and put them on my altar
where they can soak up all the sex and godhead
in the red velvet and candle light.
I grasp the heads firmly in my left hand;
they are the size of baby birds, and with my right hand
I pull out their hearts -
the source of their fragrance,
the pulsation of their sex.
I can still feel the life in these blooms,
against my own instincts,
I force myself
to peel off the petals...
For the record, Weinstein is *not* a serial killer of dead rosebuds. No. She is exploring and refining the art of vitriolic poetry, taking back the much-marginalized modern interpretation - that of a shrew - and giving it back to the reader in its original form, as per the definition below:
Vitriol: Vitriol was the most important liquid in alchemy. It was the one in which all other reactions took place. Vitriol was distilled from an oily, green substance that formed naturally from the weathering of sulfur-bearing gravel. This Green Vitriol is symbolized by the Green Lion in drawings. After the Green Vitriol (copper sulfate) was collected, it was heated and broken down into iron compounds and sulfuric acid. The acid was separated out by distillation. The first distillation produced a brown liquid that stunk like rotten eggs, but further distillation yielded a nearly odorless, yellow oil called simply Vitriol. The acid readily dissolves human tissue and is severely corrosive to most metals, although it has no effect on gold. - Alchemy Electronic Dictionary.
Weinstein's poetry represents the "turning point" in the poetic alchemical process. This quality, again, which is sorely lacking in post-post modern poetry, resurfaces again and again in Lampshades: in the poem "Raindance" (transmutation is the key to bring rain,/restore the river with my flesh); "No Less Than Atlas" (She is at the threshold/poised in amniotic suspension/the light is threaded through with gold/the dark not dark/but teaming with life.); and "Babalon" (the atrocity of the unborn shimmering/in the twilight of between worlds/guarded by the demon at the gate to/the abyss... These are the glories of the radiant /dark that I hold as sacraments/forbidden to man).
Weinstein's Lampshades From the Skin of Roses takes the reader back to that very important and basic tenet of poetry... that poetry IS transformation.
Lampshades From the Skin of Roses, copyright 2010 Cindy Weinstein aka The Feral Artist, 20 pages, $5.00, for contact/payment details go to http://www.facebook.com/TheFeralArtist.