Monday, November 7, 2011

The Blood Garden

Short Story by Jesse Livingston
Read for Pseudopod by Chris Reynaga

Fed up with his college friends' pedantic semantic arguments about about symbolism, Matthew wanders away from an analysis of a fictional poem, and as he wanders the streets at night, he wanders into the poem itself.

I've had many frustrating conversations of this sort myself, where argument over a definition prevents us from ever getting to the substance of the debate. The discussion and the frustration with other people's pedantry rings particularly true, but it's nice that the story flashes to Matthew's friends after he leaves, and shows us that they aren't complete tools.

Matthew feels isolated, fed up with his friends and left alone to deal with the death of his mother. He's jealous of his friends and their presumably cushier lives, he's angry, sad, and isolated. The magical, poetic garden in which he finds comfort is dark and violent and the images will haunt me.

I've felt what Matthew feels, the isolation and powerlessness, frustration with your friends and loneliness and rage. Livingston evokes these emotions so well, and I'm in love with the image of the garden. I only wish the poem he referenced were real. It's compared to Kubla Khan and the poetic description contains a long section from the end of Coleridge's poem, with "She was alone when she died" presumably interjected by Matthew to make the poem more fitting, and more sinister.

4 animals in the trees out of 5.

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