Sunday, January 28, 2007

When Trevor was at Mills, we became friends with a guy who I swear may end up being one of the greatest literary thinkers of our time. Michael was, and probably still is (haven't seen or talked to him for years since he went on to his doc work at Buffalo) one of the most intelligent, focused, and driven people I've ever known. And the man loves his lit (also introduced me to Guy Maddin and Kenneth Anger, for which I am forever grateful). His poetry was a split personality of gut and intellect, often careful (even sterile) but in a way that made you feel that good sort of hollow. Not a bad end-up for a former (self-described) jock from the sticks.

We have this hanging in our foyer. From Lavinia's Hands:

beneath the sycamore
drew crystal to the wood
spun iron lungs
affixed
the trees breathe shade
lisp addled
haling
open mouth, o wisp


But the poetry's not the point. He was such a wacky goof when I first met him. Like a gangly teenager, all full of wide-eyed wonder, and I mean that in the best way. We would tease him because he used to have an unflattering Jesus hairdo (I remember him thanking us after he cut it all off because of how much better he looked as secular Michael), and because he was so nervous about going under the ocean on the BART. And I thought it odd he wore multiple rubber bands on his very hairy wrists. Ouch. You know the kind -- purple, very small and tight, used to bind the organic broccoli at Berkeley Bowl so the clerks don't charge you for conventional.

Isn't it strange how these things run in cycles and just get watered down over time? Last night at Trevor's poetry reading, there was a fiction reader who read before him, and he was the poor man's version of Michael! His work, being slightly redolent of adolescence, gave him the air of Michael's goofy intensity (but not of his poetry). Then of course there was the Jesus hair and a goatee, and even the hairy wrists and the goddamn rubber bands. Very strange.

Hearing Trevor read last night, after a little bit of a haitus, I am again blown away as to why his manuscript has yet to be picked up. Well, I suppose I know part of the reason. You do have to get out there and pimp, and you also have to be immersing yourself in the poetic world rather than dipping a toe in every now and then.

Being that it is difficult for me to immerse myself fully into anything, as I hedge my bets on fun by participating willy-nilly in myriad other life interests (same as Trevor), I guess I only have time to do a little pimping of the manuscript.

And if this pimping results in a published manuscript, it does indeed make it easier for the Casual-T to apply for professorships, should he be so inclined if the opportunity presents itself, or librarianship doesn't pan out.

Sigh. Sometimes it's hard out here for a pimp (oh c'mon, you knew it was coming...)

From the series The Morality of Puppets, from Trevor's manuscript Rarer and More Wonderful

--

Alarm!

Alarum!
Punch
tries to
be the
ghost
of Hamlet’s
father…

Froth
bubbles
around his
lips
and
to be
(or not)
safe, a
cleaver
sticks out
of his
head.

“Where is
my hat?”
he asks
the guards.
“Without that
I’m only
a ghost of
Shakespeare’s
invention.
Lucky for me
this is a
modernist
rendition.”

Punch pulls
the beanie right
from the guard’s
head, but forgets
to take the
head out!
Like a “pop”
Punch plucks
the head,
replaces it
with his
own.
“Now
my hat
is red
again,
hooray!”


--

Punch faces his doppelganger

7 gears!
14 cogs!
28 wheels!
54 springs!
Punch faces
his double
his duplicated
automated
fully sophisticated
revenant.
“Who is closer
to God?” each
demands! Two
sets of eyes
whirl, daring
to be plucked.
“I am the original
Ethernaut!”
Our puppet grinds—
“I am perfect!
I’ll kill the devil
kill the pope, the
hand that guides
me is my fool!”

“Aber Ich kann spiele
die Flöte
Tanze den Foxtrot,
Beat Kasporov!
Ich lebe außerhalb
Zeit! Gott ist
Eine equation
a mathematical
emanation
Und seine variables
Sind nicht
da!”

Punch does not
think. His Mallet
and Knife
glorious monoglots
dismantlers
distress
disorder
dis-troy
each piece
toward
oblivion!

“I have saved
the world!” Red
Punch ululates.
“My dirge
is heard
in every person’s
laugh. Even
cartoons will
sing my game.
Will act nice
and come kissing.”

4 Comments:

Blogger stardust_savant said...

Whoa. I'd love to see the manuscript some day.

January 29, 2007 at 4:37:00 PM PST  
Blogger Knaak said...

interestin, mighty interestin.. I need to brush up on the references.. I'll look em up, as well as the german.. I'm a bit uneducated, but I like the rhythm and general attitude quite a lot

January 29, 2007 at 4:48:00 PM PST  
Blogger saudade said...

Thanks guys! I'll be pimping a little more of his stuff in the coming weeks, between rants and raves. He's got all sorts of lovely tidbits I hope you like.

January 30, 2007 at 3:52:00 PM PST  
Blogger Knaak said...

come to think of it, or rather look at it, the german here is easily understandable even to an monolinguistic oaf such as myself.. and the rest as well is quite good.. I think it's on of those things that needs to be read with a scrubber, initially, then hit with a solvent and finally some stainless steel polish to really get the full reflective value of it...

February 5, 2007 at 1:42:00 PM PST  

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