by Shaun Gannon
Throne of Blood
by Cassandra Troyan
Solar Luxuriance, February 2013
90 pages / $13 Pre-order from Solar Luxiariance
Throne of Blood makes me believe Cassandra Troyan chews razorblades and has freezing skin and needles for fingers, but for some reason, I don’t feel like shying away as she comes closer. Maybe it’s because I sense a sort of hidden warmth she has for her demons. They’re like dozens of hands reaching out that scare you, but don’t mean to.
of making love to a hospital bed.Declarations of sex to bags
filled with liquids substituting
organs now present as witnesses.Walking into the divide an abyss the possibility
of apathy calculations of sentimentality amiss.Ripped out my vein limbs
Love makes you grow.
Honey drips from a sloe-eyed doe.Get cocooned in the sickness
a sweetening sludge.When the IV tubes get sugar clogged
it is obviously because you are selfish
and I am dead.When weighted I materialize.
Let’s just hover until this distance retreats.
(From “YOU SEDUCE COLORFUL ANIMALS ABOVE THE SKY”)
When I first started reading fiction as a method of learning about writing, I was obsessed with the grotesque, but it feels like Troyan has leveled up the concept here. For roughly a third of the book, I read the speakers as being inhuman simply because they seemed so far removed from humanity that I refused to believe they could be like me (which sounds like a pretty fine accomplishment to me).
She gets so manic as a child even as a small child who can’t tear herself away from the heat of light into sleep struggles inside with her body damp with fear her gutbrain keeps churning.
“everybody wears just about the same shade of distain rusted by mire a scab a caw like a brokenness born inside a baby. A sickness from the innards she can only be cold. Gutted and raw.”
(“IF YOU LEAVE YOU’LL GO TO THE POUND AND NO ONE IS EVER GONNA WANT YOU EVER AGAIN.”)
Those that are human are twisted with desires to lash out, to be scrubbed clean or wholly disfigured, or to be filled to burst, all in hopes of finding some connection to the real. Sex, one of the only avenues of release available to the people of ToB, is so vital that other icons and symbols of vitality become commingled with it into a form of life slurry that fascinates the speaker.
I’m well read but sucked dry. I will grow a thousand thrones before I recede. I will allow small advances before I creep through the slit of your time.
I guess I could grow a fondness for the taste of blood.
My nose it bleeds from lack of use.
Every touch is a wound and the test to smear.
(From “LET’S GET LIFTED”)
The disgusting people of ToB, all wounded in the head but still hard to pity, build their world around you as you read, and eventually force you into their frame of mind, as is the result of the best grotesque literature. The building anxiety becomes more concrete until transforming into a nightmare where any similarities to reality only heighten the terror.
with a building segmented as a scorpion; thickness
as presence rather than protection.
(From “FRAGILE KINGDOM”)
When you have the darkness, you have to play with it in some constructive way or it’ll come out how you don’t want it to. Plenty of this play is in action in ToB as people both fearfully obsess over and fulfill their most primal fantasies. Cassandra, you wild, loving mother to these fucked-up babies, I hope you can bear more, because I could read this forever.