Forked Tongue by Craig Sernotti

by Ian on March 4, 2011

by Ian Shearer

The title ‘Forked Tongue’ is a dead giveaway to the content of this book. Craig Sernotti might not have encouraged Eve to take a bite of the apple from the forbidden tree, but he would have told her he’s tried it before and it’s fucking delicious. He probably would have checked out her ass too. One thing I’m sure of is that when Craig opened his mouth to reveal that forked tongue, whatever it is he had to say, it would piss god off. The fact that everything he says is the truth would just add insult to injury.

The last line of the opening poem is:

please don’t hate me for this.

It is a telling request. The plea of a man who knows that if he’s going to do this, he’s going to do it right. He’s not going to pull any punches and he’s not going to apologise when he hits you too hard. This is part of the ultimate fatalism running through the book. Stories about fucked up people and admissions of his personal shortcomings alike are laid out plainly for all to see. Don’t hate him for it. Don’t shoot the messenger. This is just the way we are. And even prayer won’t work because,

Our prayers rise into the gray sky.
The clouds open and it rains dead gods.

Like Tyler Durden says though, this is not the worst thing that can happen. There are still good things in life. Like tits so good you’ll jerk off to the memory of them for the rest of your life. And blowjobs. Lots of blowjobs. It’s all in here. But as well as that, indeed, even more than that, there is the nothing-left-to-lose grin with which we accept it all. That’s in here too. Honest to goodness belly laughs, nestled there amongst the words that tell not of an impending doom, but a doom we live with and experience every day. Most of us just haven’t noticed it yet. Sernotti has noticed, though, and it has infected his dreams.

Dreams are a recurrent theme in the book, often overlapping with another, perhaps even more prevalent theme, self mutilation.

I tear off pieces
of my face, put them
into your waiting hands.

Whether he is dreaming it or writing it, the point is this isn’t some bullshit sharing exercise. This is not just a baring of the soul. This is a man tearing off pieces of himself and offering them up to us, wondering all the while if, and how, these pieces could ever be of any worth. Anyone who ever put down a line and and thought about letting someone else read it knows the feeling. Because we’re all the same. Some of us just don’t know it yet. Craig Sernotti knows it, and best of all, he says it better than most of us ever could. Maybe it’s the forked tongue. Maybe it’s just that rare combination of raw talent and brash honesty that always seems to bring about the best art. Whichever it is, I’ll leave the closing to the man himself.


We are books waiting for endings.
We are endings trying to remember our beginnings.
We are concrete waiting to be dust.
We are ashes trying to be flowers.
We are flowers dying in the dirt.
We are bombs waiting to go off.

Forked Tongue is available on Amazon.

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