27 November 2006

...and the Pilot Precise V5 you wrote in on.

Who needs Festivus when you can have this? Let the Père Fouettard nightmares begin.

Am I the only person out there who has never heard of the word RELATABLE as a literary term? Why do my students keep using this, and what does it really mean?

Sounds like a good name for a novella.

It's strange returning after the four day weekend. My ipod was like a foreign thing in my hand on the way to campus this morning. My inbox brimming. I guess that's what happens when you don't check email every five minutes.

Anyone find the above anecdote highly relatable?


jeannine said...

Hmmm...I know a database can be relational...is that close?

Justin Evans said...

It's sort of like Billy Collins' poem, "Workshop."


I might as well begin by saying how much I like the title.
It gets me right away because I’m in a workshop now
so immediately the poem has my attention,
like the ancient mariner grabbing me by the sleeve.

And I like the first couple of stanzas,
the way they establish this mode of self-pointing
that runs through the whole poem
and tells us that words are food thrown down
on the ground for other words to eat.

I can almost taste the tail of the snake
in its own mouth,
if you know what I mean.

But what I’m not sure about is the voice
which sounds in places very casual, very blue jeans,
but other times seems standoffish,
professorial in the worst sense of the word
like the poem is blowing pipe smoke in my face.
But maybe that’s just what it wants to do.

What I did find engaging were the middle stanzas,
especially the fourth one.
I like the image of clouds flying like lozenges
which gives me a very clear picture.
And I really like how this drawbridge operator
just appears out of the blue
with his feet up on the iron railing
and his fishing pole jigging “I like jigging”
a hook in the slow industrial canal below.
I love slow industrial canal below. All those I’s.

Maybe it’s just me,
but the next stanza is where I start to have a problem.
I mean how can the evening bump into the stars?
And what’s an obbligato of snow?
Also, I roam the decaffeinated streets.
At that point I’m lost. I need help.

The other thing that throws me off,
and maybe this is just me,
is the way the scene keeps shifting around.
First, we’re in this big aerodrome
and the speaker is inspecting a row of dirigibles,
which makes me think this could be a dream.
Then he takes us into his garden,
the part with the dahlias and the coiling hose,
though that’s nice, the coiling hose,
but then I’m not sure where we’re supposed to be.
The rain and the mint green light,
that makes it feel outdoors, but what about this wallpaper?
Or is it a kind of indoor cemetery?
There’s something about death going on here.

In fact, I start to wonder if what we have here
is really two poems, or three, or four,
or possibly none.

But then there’s this last stanza, my favorite.
This is were the poem wins me back,
especially the lines spoken in the voice of the mouse.
I mean we’ve all seen these images in cartoons before,
but I still love the details he uses
when he’s describing where he lives.
The perfect little arch of an entrance in the baseboard,
the bed made out of a curled-back sardine can,
the spool of thread for a table.
I start thinking about how hard the mouse had to work
night after night collecting all these things
while the people in the house were fast asleep,
and that gives me a very strong feeling,
a very powerful sense of something.
But I don’t know if anyone else was feeling that.
Maybe that was just me.
Maybe that’s just the way I read it.

BTW---When I was in college and the VA was paying for EVERYTHING, one of my guilty pleasures was buying box after box of the V5 pens. For a time, having those free pens was a wonderful boon.

Penultimatina said...

I am a V5 junkie. I even give them as gifts.

The gift of ink...

Great poem, Justin! Totally relatable. Or maybe relational too.

Jeannine, I'm glad I am not the only poet who knows about databases.

Sara said...

Yeah for V5's as gifts! (Thanks again) and also, thank God I'm not the only one wondering where that f*&%ing word came from. I guess, if I am able to relate to something, then something must be relate-able, right?

Penultimatina said...

Sara, I'm so glad it's not just me. You've heard it from our intro folks, right?

Relatable. Hmmm.

I wonder who is spreading this word around.

Frank said...

Total agreeance.

Take on May

It's the first day of finals week and I already have that loopy off-my-routine feeling. Waiting for things to grade, and when those ...