cover image Meat Heart

Meat Heart

Melissa Broder. Publishing Genius (, $13.95 trade paper (92p) ISBN 978-0-9831706-6-2

Building on the foundation she laid in her lush and sneering debut, When You Say One Thing but Mean Your Mother, Broder's second collection cranks up the weird by mining the grotesqueries of her speakers' relationships with men, god, the self, and food. That these elements often become indistinguishable--as in "Ciao Manhattan," where "It is so god/ When the voice is like wheat// Spooned wheat/ In whole milk"--is evidence of Broder's talent for showing us our contemporary conflict: god is both a haven from the grotesque and the name we rail against when we aren't safe from it. But Broder is smarter than to suggest that there are only two sides to this dilemma. Out to "crucify boredom," her poems show us how any relationship with the divine is no less at risk of engendering grotesque lust. "Yesterday the worship rattled like an engine," she writes, and "God keeps unfurling me/ with god's gigantic helium." What makes Broder such a pleasure on the page is her insistence that these dramas play out on a workaday stage infused with surreal Pop and imaginative muscle. "When the last Beatle dies," she tells us in "Ringo," "the president hits a kill switch/ and all our possessions/ drift like eyelashes/ through a crack in the sky." In Broder's hands, it's good to kiss them good-bye. (Mar.)