Poetry Makes Me Ill

For the past week and a half or so I've returned full force to Robert Peters's Snapshots for a Serial Killer.

First, I made the mistake of reading it during lunch. Unfortunately, this coincided with the poems in the book that discuss—in meticulous detail—a child's first slaughter of a chicken followed by his witnessing of a woman braining and skinning the rabbit he wants for a pet.

So, I stopped reading it at lunch time and picked up Norman Dubie's Ordinary Mornings of a Coliseum instead. (Except today I read the interview with Annie Finch in the Writer's Chronicle.—but that's grist for a different mill.)

Now I read it on the bus to and from work, which usually amounts to 10-15 minute snippets. If I'm not nearly vomitous by the end of that time, I'm embarassingly aroused, and this is especially uncomfortable for two reasons: 1) You do not want to arrive at work aroused, or the rest of the day is sure to be a letdown; and 2) There's nothing creepier than a man leaving the bus aroused after reading a book called Snapshots for a Serial Killer.

It has been a useful book, though—the number of conversations strangers strike up with me have noticeably decreased.