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Cadaver Dogs

ISBN: 978-0-615-24969-8

By Rebecca Loudon
Reviewer: Cheryl Townsend

January 2009

I’ve seriously become a fan of No Tell Books... a lusty press of insatiable women always on the prowl and, contradictory to its claim… they do tell – and with gusto. So the latest feast of savory tales, arranged teasingly on that virginally white paper plate, arrove and burned its way out of its own envelope.

From the poem “don’t you feel it’s dangerous to want we’re losing”:

sweet and pungent your body having spilled

your shaved neck raw

the wasp crawls deeper into the fig

my tips swollen with it


Oh, the fruit of the loins!

The generality of this collective plays with S&M schematics... toys at cannibalistic pragmatics... teases a macabre, surreal visual worthy of Crispin Glover’s cinematic rendering, and percolates enough blood to tarry any planned walks in the forest alone.

Loudon is obsequious “flat on my face as usual/rag wick showing” and indeed, she is also explosive. Much of the give and take, she sees “There are odd punishments afoot” and trumps it. In “Goose Girl”:

He forgot what it was like to stand

in the forest and bleed, pressed,

tied, silenced but for the false

dark with mink eyelashes

There was a lesson of compliance

But one wonders if the taught is even permitted to utilize his gained wisdoms when later …

A criminologist found the truth

by stains on her dress, pink skin

underneath the bees

gathered on her heel.

Is this man? Is this beast? Perhaps it is that transformation of deviant debauchery that melds them into a fantastical phantom of both. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, is not also repulsion? And just who is the “S” and whom the “M” ..? Again, the give and take – so deliciously expounded – reminding me of Anais Nin’s flair for descriptive juxtapositions.

you bent me to the floor

my little grove on fire

Just yet another titillating scenario. The hunger of these poems is furious. The perpetual assignations are dizzying. The Bacchanalian elements strike fear in stalwarts of the missionary only. Yet Caligula’s reign still tickles into the psyche, albeit not usually beyond foreplay fantasies. Still, there is redness to be given:

I love these biting games

slapping games

what will you trade

this time

what will you take

what will you


Oh, and the teaching. Strictness prevailing. Forget the apple, give forth the knuckles. Bend over – Grab your ankles. Grin & bear it. “today’s lesson: never begin a conversation by saying I’m hard” CRACK!

But there are rewards past the offerings.. One must just survive receivership.

there is a banquet inside me

candied and perfumed there is

lonely and there is

there is


Perhaps. But these near Satanic couplings – the “goat entrails” – “a cupboard of broken-spined animals” – “a wolf’s head sewn to my head” – “Smoke and incantations” – “tangled fur” - One simply has to wonder what really is this sex?

From her poem “The cook had to salt them, and the wicked/queen ate them”:

She confused love of the body

with love of the mind, milk-fed,

wet all the time, prone to swagger.

Hey girly, the thick man said, you are

so spangly with your cricket legs,

pink frizz everywhere, and they slow

danced, her hand on his face

as always.

But then there are the reasons. Insinuations of childhood sexual abuse given in the segmented title poem “Cadaver Dogs” :

a blind peach poodle bumped into furniture

jumped into the boy’s lap licking licking licking

the woman asked isn’t my little girl pretty

isn’t she shampooed and perfumed and pretty

just for mama just for mama just for mama

then the parrot (there was a parrot too) started talking

I love you mama i love you mama i love you mama

the boy saw her refrigerator covered with photographs

of people’s children some cut

out of magazines later the boy asked me

did she molest other children

I didn’t have an answer

I never considered it

I thought I was the only one

Which segues to her wrist-slit suicide attempt. Then one sympathizes. These poems are creations thereafter. They are caused. We now have reason. We now have closure. Is the rollercoaster finished? No.

And later, she is a woman who wears “a greatcoat/pockets stuffed with seeds & a star-nosed mole” that in her poem “I will not sing the death of Dog” finds:

a blood excavation lump

growing inside your brain


drive fast at night on a rainy street

drive fast with your lights off seatbelt slack

drive so fast sound disappears

roll down your window and scream


grow out of your chalk line

your elephantine desire your gummy insides

So, there you have it. Further tales of wayside sex, scattered psyche, surrealistic boudoirs breathing out whispers of all their secrets. Flesh - Hair - Teeth - blood. The No Tell Hotel is always ready to receive, and yes, pets are permitted.


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