Reviewed by Kristen Stone, poetry editor
[both Zipper Mouth and the following book review acknowledge the existence of drugs and sex, including the fact that people sometimes have sex under the influence]
“The sky…is the color of my LATE CAPITALIST RAGE” (42)
Home from college for the summer in our sad, quiet beach hometown, friend and I holed up in her bedroom. Maybe it was christmas break. Either way, the streets were dark and damp her hair was salty she had a handle of strawberry vodka. We listened to Mogwai and wrote secrets on each other with ballpoint pens. It’ll be like post secret. The light comes from a small lamp in the corner. She is soft and blurred we take off our clothes. In the morning, her mother’s disapproving voice about friends who sleep over without asking first. Did i climb out the window? I don’t think I did.
i went to ohio and everything was weird. i’m not a real person. i guess i can flirt over text messages but i forgot how to talk in real life. she hates me and is making out with someone else. anyway, call me if you want to talk. behind in my studies. i wish you were here.
Zipper Mouth is too good. I love this book. In lush, wordy sentences that sweep and fall, never afraid of being labeled melodramatic, Laurie Weeks investigates what it is to be on drugs and in love, to be young and smart and fear that you are crazy.
“I’d loved that book so much I’d had a crush on it. For two weeks after I turned the last page the book lay on the floor next to my bed and whenever I looked at it I felt actual pain, so great was my sadness that the story was over” (44). I love this book too much to say anything about it/to say what it is about. Like the narrator herself, who dips and falls and dances, laughs wildly, goes to rehab, and does it again. It gives me the poetry feeling (where language rubs up against experience but you know it will never fit). Wildly associative like your brain when you’re sloppy and dancing everything is beautiful/everything is impossible/everything is beautiful/everything is impossible, Zipper Mouth charts: desire, unrequited.
The strange (queer) girl, the sick satisfaction of longing: “My chest blossoms with a pleasurable violence when I imagine you beside me in the photo, as though already we share a narrative of adoration and nostalgia and desperation and need. Would you like me better if you saw this picture?” (30)
A book about falling: “an open space opened in my chest. this was love, a ledge. i stepped off to plunge through the icy blue. jane, the falling sensation. so cold my burning skin” (p13)
It’s a book about being unable to keep out certain things: the dead bird, the boy whose brothers shot him in the jaw. All the people climbing around inside you.
Laurie Weeks’ Zipper Mouth is available from the Feminist Press. You should read it.