Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Born of the Vocative O!

Sadomasochistic Poetic Prologue

O! Like a poet in hot July,
packed into a parka to fry,
crowing his vocative O’s to try
to get at the essence of living a lie,

I’d have asked the lowest fee
from whoever required of me
that I take his prose upon my knee
and pummel it into poetry.

But I had readier meat!
Alone I could pull off that feat:
take my own vocative O!
right after it goes through its olio

of unfenced syntactical sprawl,
then smack it back into a crawl,
prefigure its fate with a curse:
configure it into fake verse,

nobly shaped into quatrains.
Look closer, you’ll see the chains:
below which a pulse sometimes
betrays its ache for rhymes.

But mostly why whatever I write these days must all
but always be counted as pronouncement, not argument –
effusion, not measured consideration – is because its form
is a cry, a stream of clauses born of the vocative O!

This form allows me not only to say what I apparently
want to say, but not to care, as certain un-hinged humorists
(Gracie Allen and Jonathan Winters their progenitors)
are seen not at all to care about the consequences

(anyway not all that much; you can't upset the cart
completely and still be funny). Not that I'm after effect
for the sake of it (exactly) – I do hold my truths to be self-
evident – I may even have a priestly mission! – but

because this whole business (a word I use a lot to stand
in for 'Everything': suggesting infinite self-interested
bureaucracy, at least it's funnier) is an entertainment.
That's where I shall always orbit the sun of Alan Watts.

I do it because I feel like doing it. I love it. It’s a joy.
Like a scream! Or a pleasant offhand dabble of a finger
in the stream. Wouldn't that sort of disinhibition guarantee
incoherence, chaos, entropy? Maybe if it also had a dose

of hateful belligerence, though that would constrict not
disinhibit. If it’s done because it thrills me unrestrictedly,
it will free me to be clear; I’ll just maybe do it in unsuspected
ways. To want to entertain is, or can be, to want to keep

myself as central a part of this engagement I’m apparently
in as I can (another truth I hold to be self-evident). I want
to be as interested and delighted as I want everyone else
to be! I think I find my greatest coherence in such a state.

Indeed I can't imagine any other condition which could
induce me to relish – as (sounding the vocative oh!) I do –
lifting a pen or a pencil or the other phenomenon we now
all recall begins with “p-e-n”. Yup, that especially.


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