Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Medicine Chest

Whether you've got arthritis, delirium tremens, priapism or rigor mortis, you need to borrow someone's kid and get them to pry the childproof lid off the winter issue of Sein und Werden.

After a long (far too long) hiatus, Rachel Kendall returns to her post as editor for the Pharmacopoeia issue, opening the secrets of the locked medicine chest your mother always told you to leave well enough alone. Like previous issues, the material comprising Pharmacopoeia all follow the titular theme, and the cadre of poets, authors and artists dispense a horrific formulary of experimental medicine sure to cure your ills...or at least make you forget them for a while.

This is a dense issue, but I'll hit some of the highlights to get your fever up. Start with Stephen Muret's lament on the inexorable erosion of the human spirit, "Robots in Underwear", a deceptively simple tale that begs for several readings. Dominy Clements takes a recursive stroll through the afterlife in "Whitewall", a short tale that reminds me of Philip K. Dick's Ubik reflected in a funhouse mirror. Michelle Reale's taut scene "Ellie in Weather" says more about drug abuse in under five-hundred words than the entire Betty Ford clinic website. Ms. Kendall's own "Heads Will Roll" begins as an innocent enough allegory, but swiftly descends into the nether realms of a psychological drama wherein a girl must take care not to lose her head, lest she wake up and find it replaced with a football covered in brown paper; Kendall balances horror and wit in this elegant bout between id and ├╝ber-ego. If you have a cryptological mind, perhaps you can decode the secret message of a herpes virus in Eliezra Schaffzin's beautifully crafted "Cingo, Cingere, Cinxi, Cinctum". And, although I've searched and searched Youtube, I can't find the video Augustus Peake hints at in "Milking the Milky Way", but I've got my eye on a Kenwood KN400 all purpose, stainless steel, electric knife I found on eBay.


Charley Robson said...

This sounds intruiging!

Russell Bittner said...

That Rachel, THAT girl! She's up to her usual NO G... and it's ALL good!