zotz

I visit the zoo.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Macaque: I just read Heidi Peppermint's "Real Toads" (BAP2004). There are the notes and there is the poem. The notes say stuff like "sought to demythologize and reappropriate my imaginative space" and "marks a shift in the relations between my 'She' and 'He.'" Well, maybe. But for the reader, it's a story about two people (a man and a narrator who must be a woman if this poem marks a shift in anyone's relations between her 'She' and 'He') in a room, probably having sex, but encoded.
He got up to play in the partable

terrible vision. I don't think I can fall asleep
if the door is open, do you? Finally,

we bridge to word it, ticking off our

      trues. Sly by sly, backs up against
the all, a rational awe keeling. A thirst

bell sounded in the distress, we

scat dawn on the then monstrous. Verily
showy , the harness gives say. I'm

          rowing out to get flume flesh bare,

order a furl to quiver me a good lushing,

swap acquired state sanctioned
          for swarm, flare a now starry.

He shrugs. We ever.

Macaque: My decoder ring spits out something like this:
He got up to tune in {like play a tune?} the portable television. I don't think I can fall asleep if the door is open, do you? Finally, we edge toward it, kicking off our shoes. Side by side, backs up against the wall, a {rational awe keeling? something ceiling? feeling?}. A church bell sounded in the distance, we sat down on the thin mattress. Very slowly, the hardness gives way. I'm going out to get some fresh air...

And so on. I get a bit lost near the end, unless it really says something like "order a girl to give me a good lashing," in which case I'll have to rethink things.

But it would be just a crossword puzzle if the wordplay didn't add something to the beauty or meaning of the poem.

Visitor: Did you say beauty or meaning?

Macaque: Wanna make something of it?

Visitor: I was just asking.

Macaque: The thing at which people stare when they have nothing to say to each other shape-shifts between a portable television and a partable terrible vision. When they go to bed, they edge toward it (nervous, uncertain?) and bridge to word it (say something to connect to each other?), and as they kick off their shoes they tick off their trues (admit things to each other? go down a checklist of things people say to each other before having sex?). The wordplay compresses meaning and adds interesting ambiguity, and, like a quick one in a hotel room, it is diverting, just a bit of fun, which is also a fine excuse for writing and reading. I don't think I see where this poem demythologizes and reappropriates Peppermint's imaginative space, or dehumidifies and redecorates her crawlspace, but that is for her to know. We don't need no stinking endnotes to enjoy a poem. Just a translator, maybe.


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