Welcome to the new normal. The narrative is inevitable, these books are not taste trophies- they’re a novel species of sensory apparatus, a big ticket item for a dark age, a semblance of the yawning now. We’re dragging you toward a thermal intensity, an uncanny nightmare conjured of collective hallucination and puncta of panic couched in hypnotic reveries. In BONDING, Maggie Siebert evokes unreality as visceral experience, situates you in private fears and raging emotion for a freefall through bizarro humor and hardship, body horror, gore and fantasia, subversion and satire, mnemonic wreckage and tight-gripped pulp. Shift to clutch, Siebert is the doyenne of the legitimate counterculture, poster child for this season in hell. The ecstasy of mind bursts a blood vessel, and the discomfiting is a seductive siren song calling all crackling auras to desublimate their extremes and take a ride. 12 shots of the unspeakable sublime from the most indomitable force of nature, an erudite zine enthusiast/multidisciplinary icon who lives for the sounds of pages smoldering with fresh ink visions. Here are fascinations, heartfelt observations, lurid, liminal spaces to dwell in. Crumple prostrate and let dissociation drive. BONDING is beyond four walls and linear time, it is flesh and blood made hypersensitive to the soul. Don’t chasten your appetite for spiritual revelation before terror is wrung inside out to paint a new cross to the godhead.
Maggie understands that splatter for splatter’s sake is boring. Psychopathy is boring. Coldness is boring. She’s interested in feeling, and when her stories turn violent (as they frequently do), it’s with a surreal emotional barbarity that distorts the entire world. You can mop up blood with any fabric. Maggie’s concern is with the wound left behind, because the wound never leaves—it haunts. As a result, each of these stories leaves a wound of its own. Some weep, watching as you try (and fail) to recover. Others laugh. But never without feeling.
—B.R. Yeager, Negative Space
And once finished, I felt like my tongue had been misplaced, guts heavy and expanded … gums numb with a tongue that’d been put elsewhere, my mouth clean around a pipe weaving up through pitch and shadow … and well past ready, primed for delight, waiting but knowing I had already been filled to skin; crying shit, hearing piss, fingernails seeping bile, pores dribbling blood, soles slopping off and out to meet a drain mid-floor …
—Christopher Norris, Hunchback ’88
Bonding is a handbook … a map … a guide … full of laundry machines constructed out of plastic. Bonding transcends judgment … read it … absorb it like exhaust fumes … soak it up like the smog in Cobble Hill soaks you up. This book is warmth … the sort of temperature you find escalating from freeways … off-ramps … on-ramps … bridges … bitumen constructions. This book solves our problems … with wet disintegration … and apocalyptic preoccupations. Gift cards and button up shirts. Skin grafts in duffel bags … license plates all Brooklyn-bound. This book is a travel guide to an unusual apartment … full of skinny fingers stuck in a Styrofoam container … full of buffalo chicken strips … where everyone’s almost naked anyway … and if someone sneaks a blunt in under their armpit … big deal. Bonding is steam on a conveyor belt … mist inside your mouth. Pizza Hut and an obsession with the end of the world. My favourite things. Maggie Siebert once told us that death would not solve our problems … one can only hope.
—Shane Jesse Christmass, Belfie Hell
Felt my ass tighten, release, tighten, release throughout my reading of Maggie’s Bonding.
Not to be so populist, but Siebert’s work is both reminiscent and contrary to Ballard. Both of their works are about self-detontaton, Ballard’s were about sexual desire, while Siebert’s are about its absence. But therein lies the rub: her most striking moments are those of connection, the sorts that transcend desire and passion, aromantic and extreme. Her stories illustrate one, larger truth: the only way to understand each other is to atomize ourselves.
—John Samuel Brown
5.5 x 8.5″. 166 pages perfect-bound. Cover Art by Sophia Yung.