He’s former FBI and nice as apple  pie. I first found out about Chris Zisi  on Talk to Cleo. She has a knack of discovering the really weird folk, I should know, I have been face palmed by her twice.

The merits of his poetry are outlined at the beginning of the book. He says his english teacher who gave him low grades would really hate him now. She gets a big shout out. So does an Ian. Everyone has ran into an Ian in their lives. He’s that idiot supervisor in the workplace. A bullet between the eyes, perhaps. Only in poetry of course.

Chris has fun, and gives a running commentary on each poem. They are short and very readable. Don’t expect to read about lost love. His stuff is grounded in reality. His colourful life in the FBI drips over in the pages of Escaping from the Institute: A Collection of Horror Poetry.

His poem, Bonjour, Monsieur, is plain nasty.  The nastier the better I say. Maybe the waiter didn’t like the customer asking him for  another serving of mayonnaise  for his fries.

“Okay. Horrible form for a poem… but insane was my point here.”

Another insane point he raises are the killing fields in Cambodia he visited in 2011. Land mines were bad enough but letting a maniac in control of the country caused so much untold death and suffering. “When Pol Pot and other butchers who win the Nobel Peace Prize are praised by popes and leaders of the free world… horror fans aren’t impressed.”

His poem of  flowers, and the occasional mechanical one, is a stark horror for many Cambodians. Nothing is staged here. :

“Through the field I prance, Oh so many flowers …..Glancing straight ahead. I see the sign, Yellowed by the years, it reads, ‘Mind fields, keep out.’ ”

Remember Lady Di?  Chris writes how she  blamed the US for all the unexploded landmines in Cambodia.

“Perhaps if she had spent less time as an international playgirl, and more time in the library, her efforts would have done more good.’

I think we can safely put all the blame on the French here. I’m with Chris. 

El Bandito is another sickie, confirming our fickle culture.  In Mexico, Sally watches  as Mr. Machismo blasts her boyfriend   Peter back to  the Rio Grande. “Sally, initially aghast, now aroused. Pete’s ex-partner now has a real man.”

The idiocy of  of our times is not spared in Escaping from the Institute , from clowns of the cloth, wait, here’s a John Wayne Gacy reference, to the icons of another advertising era,  Kelly Lebrock and Rula Lenska . Zhanna Friske is his latest subject for a poem. He says it’s going in his second book of horror poems that will be themed on cyborgs. I’d guess  he will be kind on Zhanna who does a great croon in her song -la-la-la.

Chris is a horror fan. His weekly blog at Zisi Emporium  explores his interests in explicit detail.  B grade movies are his fare and his latest review is Harbinger Down, The Thing on a Crab Boat. He says each review is gone over  20 times before its published. He’s a serious words smith but uses humour often to tease out a point. 

Lastly, did I mention Road Trip? Near the end of the book Chris is all fired up.  Paula is in repose  in the back of the car and entertaining the flies. No spoilers on this poem, except to say it’s based on a real story.   This is horror poetry and commentary at its best.  It’s a gem, and only a Chris Zisi could pull it off.

“Remember, this was a true story,” writes Chris  of Road Trip. “Most of the best horror emanates from real life.”

The finale poem  is the title of this book, Escaping from the Institute. It’s now horror feeding frenzy time.

If it’s weird, then Chris is covering it. I can’t emphasise how quirky and relatable his book is. It’s a  veritable horror treat. Sometimes his  poems are not grounded on Earth and take a Carl Sagan approach… are the aliens really watching us? You can interact with Chris Zisi  on Twitter.  His avatar is the giant rubber ducky.

Did I mention he’s a Paranormal Investigator?  Listen here, as Cleo explores the life of a former FBI agent.


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