Dan Schneider’s Poetry: Kiss

I don’t feel as though this makes me hate Dan Schneider as much as the previous ones do, but this still makes me feel some kind of pain in my gut.

KISS

In 1914 Bela Kiss ran to the War,
as if apprentice to a rewarding master,
leaving within his domain two dozen steel drums
to bloom garrotted murder sealed tightly within.

Two years later, when needing stored oil supplies,
the army came to Czinkota to claim his horde,
then recoiled, under crusts of war-hard horror,
at the pickled remains that they had uncovered.

But Bela Kiss was dead, had been killed in the proud
service of an Empire, so what could be done?,
until spied in Budapest, then New York City,

by people who would lose him, again and again,
in a land where cruelty induces laughter,
disappeared, one among an American crowd.

Although not as perfectly cohesive as some others, it still has quite a number of layers to it. Unless, of course, there’s some grand perspective that I’m missing out. Anyway, let’s go through my own thoughts.

Dan mentioned in an interview that the title was there as a fake-out to make readers think that this was a love poem until you found out it was about Bela Kiss the murderer.

In 1914 Bela Kiss ran to the War,
as if apprentice to a rewarding master,
leaving within his domain two dozen steel drums
to bloom garrotted murder sealed tightly within.

Straightforward set-up, and the lines of note are ‘apprentice to a rewarding master’ and ‘bloom garrotted murder’. The first sets him up as a psychopath within a greater psychopathy, and the second creates a disturbing juxposition of a flower – while also setting up an element of time (for blooming) that will play a part in the next stanza. It could also be a nod to the ‘blooming’ of Kiss’ own will to murder within the war.

Two years later, when needing stored oil supplies,
the army came to Czinkota to claim his horde,
then recoiled, under crusts of war-hard horror,
at the pickled remains that they had uncovered.

‘Horde’ puns on ‘hoard’ over here. ‘Crusts of war-hard horror’ is a nice kind of hyperbole where even the soldiers going through the horrors of war still recoil at the sight of Kiss’ corpses. Since its so close to the uncovering, it can also map onto Kiss’ psychopathy.

But Bela Kiss was dead, had been killed in the proud
service of an Empire, so what could be done?,
until spied in Budapest, then New York City,

This is plainly about a nation’s view of war – that they reward psychopaths ‘killed in the proud’ – how nationalism treats psychopathy as glory. The last part is about Kiss supposedly escaping with a fake corpse and appearing in various cities. If Kiss is linked to the intrinsic psychopathy of war, however, then this is another metaphysical grand metaphor that Dan is pulling to say how it can spread everywhere.

by people who would lose him, again and again,
in a land where cruelty induces laughter,
disappeared, one among an American crowd.

Yep. This last stanza pushes that reading in all the way. The ‘again and again’ can be read as the constancy of cruelty, especially when linked with the next line – and the final line is a chilling call. With this in mind, ‘horde’ actually helps to reinforce this horror movie feel, calling connotations to a zombie horde. Now that I’ve analysed it, actually, the ending has a subtly lingering flavour – as though it were pinpointing to some greater miasma over the human race.

You know what. I still FUCKING hate Dan Schneider.

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