“Woman Gives Birth to 7-LB Eyeball! I Died and Watched my Own Surgery! Ant Juice Cures Arthritis!”
Sound familiar? Nearly everyone knows that the stories in the tabloids aren’t real, but pulp newspapers like the Weekly World News outsell most “real news” magazines. And that’s because — in some subtle, unconscious way — the tabloids are reporting the truth.
In Paratabloids, Bram Stoker Award-winning horror writer Michael Arnzen captures that truth in 22 poems that steal actual headlines from the tabloids and tell the truth in a way that only Arnzen can. These poems all relish the outre, the insane and the grotesque, telling the untold — and often quite touching — stories that lie right under the surface of the headline. This is poetry like you’ve never read it before!
“Wickedly clever… not for the small-minded or humorless. [Arnzen writes] competent, textured poetry with a cheeky twist, presented soundly without being giddy over its own cleverness. Enjoy, sickos!” –Denizine
“These poems are sharper than Ginsu knives as they peer with Slice-O-Maticked perspicacity and dark humor into our world. Insane, intelligent, and insightful, PARATABLOIDS is hilarious and very, very human.” — Dark Echo
“I’m sure you’ve all heard the cliche, ‘I just couldn’t put it down.’ Well, in this case, it’s true. The stories were mesmerizing enough, but the illustrations were simply fantastic! This is a must for the coffee table or the office.” –A reader on Barnes & Noble.com
“This collection of wry, deceptively manic, scathing poems reminds me of the author working as the headline performer at either a dark and steamy comedy club or a distinctively perverse poetry slam. In hell. Arnzen is clearly a gentlemen who actually lives in this world. His eyes are open, if with a somewhat jaundiced stare, and he pays attention to what’s going on around him. And if he wants to use the supermarket tabloids as a magnificent metaphor, then so be it. He’s got the wit and the talent to make it work. I wouldn’t mind some Arnzen greeting cards! So here’s Mike Arnzen, sharp-eyed, sharper-tongued troubadour for our time. If you like poetry already, you’ll get a kick out of this. If you don’t think you like poetry, you’ll still get a kick out of this.” –Ed Bryant, from the Introduction
“Woman Eats Own Foot — Chokes on Nail”: Introduction by Ed Bryant
PART ONE: FREAKCIDENTS
KIDS WATCH IN HORROR AS CLOWN CHOKES ON BALLOON!
COPS MISTAKE CREMATION URN FOR A BOMB
COPS FIND ROBBER’S FINGERPRINT — WITH FINGER ATTACHED!
POP GOES PLOP AND CRUSHES TOT
MOTORIST FINDS HUMAN ARM DANGLING FROM HIS TRUCK
GIRL ABANDONED AT BIRTH RAISED BY RATTLESNAKES
STORM DUMPS WEIRD BLOBS IN POND
WASP STING MAKES BARBER SLASH MAN’S THROAT
PART TWO: PREDICTOVISIONS
YOUR NEIGHBOR MAY BE A SPACE ALIEN!
ANT JUICE CURES ARTHRITIS
BAD NEWS ON TELEVISION CAN KILL YOU
I DIED AND WATCHED MY OWN SURGERY
WORLD’S CRUELEST PSYCHIC’S BIZARRE PREDICTIONS
EXORCISM HELD ON BUSY ROAD
PART THREE: ALIENATIONSHIPS
MAN BITES OFF GIRLFRIEND’S LIP
WOMAN, 36, RAPED BY TEEN SHE SAVED FROM DROWNING
CHICAGO MOM GIVES BIRTH TO 7-LB EYEBALL
VICTIMS TORTURED FOR THEIR ATM CARD NUMBERS
ESKIMO SEAL HUNTER BEATS TOP RUSSIAN CHESS CHAMP!
WIDOW SMOKES HUBBY’S CORPSE LIKE A HAM
BOY’S HEART IS ON THE OUTSIDE OF HIS BODY
WOMAN MARRIES A SHARK
Title: Paratabloids by Michael Arnzen
Publisher: Ozark Triangle Press, 2000
Chapbook, 42 pp.
Out of Print