Saturday, December 5, 2009

Book Review: Zombie Haiku by Ryan Mecum

Title: Zombie Haiku

Author: Ryan Mecum

Pages: 139

Recieved From: bookstore


What you are looking at is a document from the early days of the zombie plague. Little is known about the author before his infection–only that he was a poet. This facsimile of his actual journal recounts the events of humanity’s darkest hours through the intimate poetry of haiku. Inside you’ll find increasingly disjointed and terrifying three-line poems (all in the classic 5-7-5 syllable structure), and follow the undead poet on a journey through deserted streets and barricaded doors. Experience every eye-popping, gut-wrenching, flesh-eating moment of the eventual downfall of the human race from the point of view of a zombie, and gain insight to help you survive–if you can.

I picked up Zombie Haiku because it was on sale and had the word zombie in it. I thought it would be some cutesy, gratuitous undead romp by some Christopher Moore wannabe. What I found was a deeply disturbing, highly original and goddamn entertaining take on the zombie apocolypse.

Inside these pages are, of course, haiku, along with senseless scribblings and doodles of a man who is quickly drafted into the undead army, though somehow still retains his poetic mindset. There's something of a forward by an apocolypse survivor, Chris L.:

To whoever might find this,

My name is Chris Lynch, and I'm pretty sure I'm dying. In fact, if your reading this, I'm probably already dead. Not that anyone will be around to read this...from what I've seen, I'd guess this is the end of everything.

It is followed by an explanation on how Chris found this journal: he, along with many others, hid from the imending undead hordes in a shopping mall. But the zombie broke through the fence, and eventually only Chris and a woman named Barbara were left. They escaped to a small shopping kiosk, living off candy bars for several weeks. Eventually, Barbara died of starvation and reanimated, leaving Chris no choice but to escape the kiosk and make a run for the bathroom. Along the way, a zombie bit him. Chris proceeded to kill this zombie by smashing the bathroom door over it's head. In the zombie's arm, strangely enough, was a journal. Inside of it, Chris finds:

This is my poetry journal. In it, I will attempt to capture the beauty I see in the world in the form of a poetic structure called “haiku.” With three simple lines composed of five syllables, then seven syllables, and another line of five syllables, I will attempt to capture the earthly beauty which can be so overwhelming that I sometimes feel like I’m going to burst open. Enjoy.

And that's what we find.

The haikus start with some adorably cheesy love poems:

The bird flew away
with more than just my bread crumbs.
He took my sorrow

If the dawn should break
and take away this sunrise
I hope I break, too

My soul hovers up,
climbing from it's stomach cave
to give my heart warmth

but, gradually, things grow increasingly bizarre:

Something on the news,
about people acting odd
so I switch to sports

Dodging eye contact
from my neighbor's awkward stare
I leave my nice house

As I start my car
my neighbor just keeps staring
and doesn't wave back

Eventually, the poet makes it to work to find his office empty, his coworkers zombiefied, and the streets diserted. He's bitten, and as he decends into one of the undead, his haikus grow into a morbidely hilarious and slightly heartbreaking record of the apocolypse through the eyes of one of it's victims. With a work like this, it's nearly impossible to discuss without example, so here are some of the more...interesting passages?:

Anyone out there
reading this haiku journal
give this to my mom

Dear Mom I love you.
This ain’t my most poetic,
but I really hurt.

Although my neck hole
used to whistle when I breathed
now I don’t breath.

Brains, BRAINS, Brains, brains, BRAINS.
BRaiNS, brains, Brains, BRAINS, BRains, brains, BRAINS.
BRAINS, BRains, brains, BRAINS, brains.

I'm not sure how to feel about Zombie Haiku. Amused or disturbed? To laugh or cry? I mean, should I be worried? And how is a zombie able to retain memory of so many words and gather enough muscle mass to write these words down when they can't even use a doorknob?

You are so lucky
that I cannot remember
how to use doorknobs.

I'm going to drop all quips I have with this illogic just because it's a book of effing zombie haikus. Literally one of the most original takes on the apocolypse I have ever read.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Also: Here's one of my absolute favorite haikus--

A man starts yelling
“when there’s no more room in Hell…”,
but then we eat him.


Alexia561 said...

I must have this book
As it's so fricking awesome
Thanks for the heads up!

Okay, okay, I couldn't resist. Not a very good haiku, but I gave it a shot! *L*

miss cindy :) said...

I read Vampire Haiku and that one was so much fun! I want to read this one too, it sounds funny too! :)

Template by:
Free Blog Templates