Voyd of Course

"It's like the Onion, only skinnier!" --Milton Swift "Still worth the price of the paper it's not printed on." --Felicia DuBois "The unspeakable, spoken." --Malin Wuptke "More interesting than computer solitaire, though perhaps not so effective a distraction from the void." --Harlan J. Rippington "Satire today, history tomorrow." --Steven Wallace

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Location: Santa Fe, NM, United States

In 1966, I wrote a fake newspaper article under the headline "JACK CASS SETS WORLD SHOWERING RECORD." Mr. Yohans, my 9th grade English teacher, liked it so well that he read it aloud--to much not-quite-suppressed giggling, at the sound of which, Mr Yohans said, "What? What? Did I miss something here?" I spent the rest of the afternoon in Principal Leon Duff's outer office. When Mr. Duff, who was a busy man, decided he didn't have time to see me, his secretary sent me back to the classroom, where I was greeted like McMurphy returning from solitary. Emboldened by my de facto exoneration, my friends began work on their own fake news stories. I remember a spate of Russian names in the stories, including "Ivan Kutchikokoff" and "Ivan Jerkinov." Needless to say, our newly suspicious teacher sent both of my friends to Mr. Duff's office, where they were not as bureaucratically blessed as I had been. They sat detention for a week. This I took as a lesson in subtlety--and in how to start a commotion and slip from the room before the law comes down.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Art Opinions

Chuck Calabreze: On the Tenuousness of the Poet's Existence

Not existing would, I suspect, be a source of consternation for most, but it's a perfectly natural state for a poet. My plight, then, is not exclusive to me. Oh, sure, most poets have corporeal existences while I do not, but they, like me, do not truly exist until they are in the midst of writing. My own situation is simply more extreme.

I exist first as an attitude, a comical cynicism, a penumbra of righteous doubt. I come into my full being, though, only in the enactment of language. A sputtering mouthful of mismatched adjectives and nouns, a verb full of venom, a simile that both celebrates and laments the modern condition. Suddenly I am alive, surfing the wave of being, shopping in the existential mall, among the bric-a-brac, my existence preceding my never-to-be-found essence, the language sculpting me in my own image. The poem as shopping spree. Or this: I am a lap dog who has spotted an open door. I romp. I sniff. I lift my leg. I plow my nose through the new-fallen leaves.

Surfing the wave of being. Every poet is most alive in the poem. I am only alive then. Carving turns. Shooting the curl. Spinning on my board. Then, just as suddenly as I began, I crash, kick out, or wash out in the foam. Banished to non-being once again. The poem is the wake of my having-been-here, the rent in the ocean that has already healed over.

[NOTE: Guest blogger Chuck Calabreze is a member of The Heteronymy Collective in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His poem "Maturity" will appear in an upcoming issue of Indiana Review.]


Blogger the unreliable narrator said...

The rent in the ocean has NOT healed over, au contraire mon ami, and we your ingrate ravening audience do not request but DEMAND new posts and poems for 2009!

Especially if you ain't gonna show in Chicago. Happy new year. That is all.

2:49 PM  

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