REVIEW: YOUVE GOT A PRETTY HELLMOUTHMICHAEL SIKKEMA (TREMBLING PILLOW PRESS)

I don’t know what you know
The light is real not like TV
A door I guess but you don’t go
They come through I don’t mean
they have bodies

from “Time Missing”

There’s a difference between having a nightmare and being in a nightmare. Watching yourself dissociate with reality, but having it actually be your reality. The ants marching on your skin. The sick and worried feeling of splintering. The looks from the strangers around you. The holes. The disappearing.

Michael Sikkema’s You’ve Got a Pretty Hellmouth is a study in how mental states can break and how we are not always ourselves and that even in our own bodies we are “others.” It’s the way ants crawl from skin to become guides and senses. It’s the way that when you meet another splinter, the bugs are meant for each other – in sickness and in health.

It’s the modern day “Hearse Song”:

And the worms crawl in, the worms crawl out,
In your stomach and out your snout,
And your eyes fall out and your teeth decay,
And that is the end of a perfect day.”[4]

It’s a reminder that “several holes may be discovered within one, and each one of those several perhaps contains several more.” It’s the aging of the body and mind. It’s all the warning signs and space and time and a life worth living. It’s that we are not bodies. We are data, exchanged through splinters of whatever our reality may be.

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