The Blood of Words
by Shane Stone
Primix Publishing

"And as I walk down this road of emptiness, I pause to consider my purpose in this haunted kingdom of ghosts and dead angels."

Literally and figuratively, Stone's poetry pushes the boundary of thought to unveil darkness's raw and vulnerable underbelly. Sin manifests itself in many forms, but the most well-known is the fall of Satan. Using the namesake poem to set the tone for the rest of the collection, Stone uses all the tools in his arsenal, from vivid imagery to scintillating metaphors, to create a surreal, Dalian-type reality that studies the roots of evil from a mixture of philosophical, metaphysical, biblical, and material entanglement angles.

There are countless points in this compilation where the sheer nature of the visual will overwhelm. For instance, when the speaker in "Blood of Words" asks Satan about what the future holds, Satan promptly responds by removing the speaker's eyes and feeding them to him. As the compilation progresses, Stone's work tackles the incredible complexities of suicide, the concept of misery loves company, and a host of topics that delve into the deepest recesses of the mind to help understand the inner makeup of phenomena such as self-destruction, regret, and heartbreak.

In "The Hanged Man," Stone refers to the apocalyptic scenario of the four horsemen, including famine, war, and death, that represent an eerie cleansing and reset of sorts. Each of the poems in the compilation is thought-provoking and unveils new dimensions of humankind's worth, particularly "Dark Confession," which hits on one of the most universal themes: redemption. Ultimately, in powerful phrases like "Transgression burns the sanctuary," Stone's narrative poetry has a knack for evoking emotion within readers and helping them understand the ultimate reality that death should not be feared but be revered as a companion that helps one understand the true value of life.

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