Trent Walters, poetry editor at A&A, has a chapbook, Learning the Ropes, from Morpo Press.

Jonathan Wood’s story “Notes on the Dissection of an Imaginary Beetle” from Electric Velocipede 15/16 is available online.

Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

Angela Slatter’s story ‘Frozen’ will appear in the December 09 issue of Doorways Magazine, and ‘The Girl with No Hands’ will appear in the next issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

Archive for the ‘Words about Words’ Category

God’s Disco: ii) Nibbling off God’s Platinum Platter

Friday, October 17th, 2008

At the poetry reading, black turtlenecks and tweed sport coats jabber over steaming cappuccinos. My friend hangs his head in his hands. One would think it would be difficult to walk in that position. He is still sad, apparently. Guiding him into the poetry room by that nasty elbow that made my gesture, which still smarts, smart, I ask him, what is wrong?

Don’t you see? They look like poets. We do not. We wear jeans and T-shirts. Look at that goatee. I bet it belongs to a poet.

Sure enough, the goatee belongs to a brown-eyed man in a brown-spotted tweed coat. He walks to the podium, reads in a poetic monotone–as if not to eschew a regurgitated supper of leafy green vegetables. The stage lights set his white hair ablaze. His white oval face shines like a virile god with a baldpate, a laurel of hair–the sides horned up like Ferdinand the bull–and a beatific smile from tugging his infinite yoke. We are awed: poetic virgins stunned into immaculately losing our cherries. An hour later, he finishes, awakening my friend who leaps to his feet and cries: Sir, who does your goatee?

Why, I do, says the poet, stroking the sage white bristles.

It is divine. Very poetic.

Thank you, says the poet; I think.

Your sport coat is also poetic.

Do you have a question?

How did you become so poetic?

By writing: the first step in the disco poetics.

On my feet, I say: We may not be Travoltas, but we sure can dance.

The second step notes how the variegated lights reflect off the disco globe, sees the globe again, then revises your second sight, and so forth. Toward the end, you do a jig, then stutter-step to a jitterbug or cut the jitterbug altogether, so that the new end is a new beginning: Only when you know the end do you know how to begin.

My friend sits.

Then you mail the revision to a publisher.

I sit, too.

Nobody else asks questions. They already know the answers. Later, at their private dinner party with the poet, they will glitter and titter like whores over cheap wine and hors d’oevres, and scoff at our insolent questions.

We slip out and notice, on the poet’s back-cover photo, that the goatee covers a weak chin. Relieved, we will fast until breakfast tomorrow when we will gorge on steak, eggs and salsa. Yum.

God’s Disco: i) Driving to God’s Disco

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

My friend is sad. He is driving us to a poetry reading. I have just shown him the glossy back-cover photo of the poet reading tonight. My friend holds his head in his hands and rubs his face. One would think driving in this posture would be difficult. Grabbing the steering wheel, I ask, what ails you, my friend?

I am sick and tired, he says, of being sick and tired behind the wheel of this vehicle.

I allow him to wallow in his misery in peace. People need peace with their misery. Like donuts need grease.

He cries dry tears. I know because he will lift his face, and it will be dry because I will do something he will not like that will cause his face to lift. His eyes will, however, be red from rubbing them with his palms. The only time he has ever cried wet tears was over Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions. When the peaceful misery passes, I say, tell me what makes you so sad.

If you don’t know, I am not going to tell you.

I release the steering wheel. My hands cover my face. I say nothing. I need peace with my misery though misery gives no peace. Come here, I say; let me kiss and make it feel better. I gesture for his face.
He lifts his face. His eyes are red, his face is dry, and his elbow, apparently, does not like my gesture (nor does my gesture like his elbow). He says, we will not. We are men.

I forgot, I say rubbing my gesture; I only wished to comfort your misery.

Let us go, you and I, to a poetry-etherized reading.

Let us, I say, and afterwards we can gobble a steak dinner and salad at the casino buffet on the river. The food may not be good, but there is a lot of it, which is good for us manly men who don’t know what we want to eat.

Yum, he says.

Besides, I say, a river is the universal, unidirectional symbol for time because it can’t change directions–except in earthquakes. We will eat on a river of time until our guts explode. Like true artists: everything done in excess.

Thyme, he asks.

Exactly, I say.

My friend cuts across traffic, because we are late, heading the wrong way down a one-way on Dodge Street, which is poetic because the cars have to dodge us. We live art.

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