Unclean Verses Cantos: I & II by John Baltisberger
One of those moments where you feel like you are being tested, like how far can a writer go with disturbing shit before the reader goes nope. Well, Jokes on you, John! I read it all, but I won’t lie; Robert’s story was pretty hard going. If this man wanted to go to hell, I am pretty sure he achieved it with all his acts of depravity and violence. Following this man’s mind was like walking through a cesspit. He was so determined to become a ‘demon of hell’. This short twisted tale will have your eyeballs bulging and stomach-churning as you follow the horrors Robert bestows on his unsuspecting victims. The entire story was also done in creative poetry form, which I found very creative and made the story a lot more twisted. More than anything would love to know what turned Robert into the monster he became. I bet his backstory would explain a hell of a lot of things
I'm a huge fan of John's. He is a fantastic story teller. Now, I only have one trigger (if you can even call it that) and it's poetry, something about the way it draws me in calls to my past life when I was Silvia Plath. I makes me want to stick my head in the oven. It tickles that little depressive spot inside of me that I can usually hide from. So, I don't read it, I avoid it intentionally. But I made an exception for this. I told myself I'd stop if it was too much. And by FUCK! it was too much- too much of a fucking beautifully written gore fest of all the most heinous shit you can (and shouldn't) think of! It blew me away!
Well fuck!! That was kinda beautiful. Terrifying and horrendous but the words were beautifully put together. I’m not sure how I should feel. I little sad and a lot creeped out I think. I listened to the audio ear phones in laying in bed I loved hearing it more than reading it I’m definitely now a John Baltisberger fan.
Well, this is absolutely the literary event I had anticipated. But what I hadn’t initially expected was the PERFORMANCE event that comes as part of this package! Just listen to Baltisberger’s reading! One hesitates to call it simply that. It’s an outpouring of truly diabolical descriptions, with a sense of physical and spiritual connection in the voice that makes the listener feel as if these extraordinarily appalling atrocities are being genuinely experienced and inhabited. And this adds a whole new dimension to the work - because the voice betrays the speaker. We know Baltisberger; we know his depth, his sensitivity, his kindness. There is an essential warmth to his voice that cannot hide these things. And that’s precisely why this is so damn disturbing. This is a portrait of a man driven to astonishing acts of destructive depravity by a desire for demonic deliverance that is constantly shadowed by doubt and conscience. Just wait until you get to the moment of suspended isolation just before the beginning of the descent at the very end of Canto II. This is a soul of torment - and that makes everything he does not just unbearable but unbearably sad. There is still some humanity here...and that is the greatest horror of all. God, how I would love to see Baltisberger alone on a dark, bare stage under a single red spotlight, giving this performance. As it is, keep your listening device close to your ear and it feels as if the words are slithering into you - swirling, creeping, writhing, hellish things.
Well, how the fuck do I even start? Nikolas' review is damn good if you want info on this piece of work. The thing that put this over the top for me personally was the GODDAMN BRILLIANT inclusion of an audio recording of John reading both Cantos to perfection. I listened and read along at the same time, which I highly recommend. The further it went, the more real it became in my mind. My chest tightened and I was enthralled by every word. I felt engrossed and fearful of what was being unleashed upon me. Beautiful, ugly, pure brutality with no compromises. Don't miss this one...