Joseph Pintauro - "All you who exploit your ability to be dead". 'The Rabbit Box' features mainly collages of found photos, many of which appear to be really old, Victorian-era

Joseph Pintauro, The Rabbit Box, Harper & Row, 1970.

Something about this poetry differs so much from any kind of poetry I've read. Not only is it so mysterious, but it's beautiful and relatable. If you're looking for something interesting and short that isn't a story, read this! - goodreads

My favorite book of all time is a set of books I inherited from my mom when I was a little kid, a set called The Rainbow Box (1970), which was a collection of psychedelic books titled The Peace Box, The Magic Box, A Box of Sun, and The Rabbit Box. These books were made by poet Joseph Pintauro and artist Norman Laliberte and have influenced everything I have ever created both consciously and subconsciously. These books are incredibly rare (and would be worth hundreds of dollars if they didn't contain my childish crayon additions) and though I have the other three it has been years since I saw The Magic Box. I found it online for $30 but can't afford it right now as much as I desperately want it. I remember it scared me alot as a kid, which is funny because on the cover says "This book will scare you if you are stupid". The cover also features a little girl collaged and crucified onto the ribcage of a folded up skeleton. I remember there was a page with some kind of medieval demon that I had to flip past quickly every time I read the book.
I couldn't not read the book because they are all amazing, with wonderful poetry and hippy philosophy and colorful collages and weird juxtapositions of images from time periods that you didn't know existed. I am definitely going to scan in the ones I have in the near future but for now you can see some images at various blog reviews of The Peace Box, The Magic Box, and The Rabbit Box.
The Rabbit Box is interesting because it is the darkest of any of the books in this series. It is not full-color (sepia tone and brown-and-white print) and features mainly collages of found photos, many of which appear to be really old, Victorian-era. My favorite part is near the middle of the book, before the poetry gets really abstract and addressing "All you who exploit your ability to be dead", when this one image of a girl (pre-depression era? pre-1900?) is provided with Pintauro's romantic poetry:

she had only two
weeks to live
she would look
you straight
in the eye
"I have only
two weeks to live."

she knows life
is no great shakes.
she never clung
to it,
it clung to her.

she loved you.
she wasn't afraid.

when you were
she lowered her
eyes till
you said something

when you lied,
she blushed a little
& looked out the
she trusted you.
Knowing you were
not as good
as you seemed.
she was often bored.
always rightly so,
her silence had no
fear in it.
her silence
was right.

she expected
but craziness
from us all.

when we were
she liked us

when we landed
on the moon
she laughed,

when we
killed the earth
she just
smiled a little
with it.

I don't spend enough time with this book as I should, it just makes me too sad to read it. There's something painfully truthful about Joseph Pintauro's words... almost like, things we know, but don't want to think about... Oh, heck- I don't know. It's a beautiful book, here are some of my favorite pages.
























The Magic Box

Some pages/illustrations from my favorite book "The Magic Box" written by Joseph Pintauro, illustrated by Norman Lauberte.

Published in the late 60s, the Magic Box is part of a 4 book series collectively referred to as "The Rainbow Box" with each book representing a season. Filled with gorgeous and slightly strange illustrations, beautiful prose alongside some total ramblings, they are and have been a go-to if ever a mental/spiritual/creative boost is in need. -


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