It takes a certain amount of self-deprecation with just the right touch of wordsmithing to craft a decent angst-zine (or what I’ll call “zaingst”). Matt Abramson’s Retain Parts, Destroy Parts has perfected this formula in this fifth issue, with 32 black-and-white pages of punk poetry and random story fragments.
Retain Parts is the perfect cocktail of Trainspotting-era cynicism mixed with working-class reflections of society entrapment à la Last Exit To Brooklyn. This angry little zine is fully aware of how negative and self-involved it is, and yet is clearly incapable of concealing or glorifying its photocopied existence. Retain Parts is rhythmically raw and begins with a poem about the death of all things, moves through ruminations of suicide and puking and towards the end gives an admonishing quote of “Be a man and deal. Seriously. Shit.” The poem “Important Questions” begins with “would you rather” and includes head-scratchers and nut-clenchers such as: “bone a 400 lb. chick (or dude) or punch yourself as hard as you can in the balls (or pussy) and immediately run a 1/4 mile?,” while the only (mostly) blank page in the book infers “this is what everything (poems, songs, paintings) starts as.”
Retain Parts, Destroy Parts lives up to its name, dredging through personal history and mistakes to glean only the most essential fragments of truth and self-realization. Abramson pulls you through his shitty existence until it becomes your own, and then somehow makes you proud of it.
Zine, Matt Abramson, issue 5, firstname.lastname@example.org, $2