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The International Writers Magazine: Wordsmith

Postioning The Heads
Frank Sloan


Here we are in America: early twenty-first century, soaring costs bite us at every cross roads, plunging incomes snipe at us from the ivory towers and garish banks, dreadful polarized thinking infects every head in town.  The last thing anybody wants or needs (or sacrifices precious vacation time for) are poems.  Sad story don’t you think?  A sad story that veers into macabre silliness when so many of us keep writing poems and positioning ourselves as sensitive creatures.
boards and wires
 

Cosmic dust mingles with road dust and settles on my furniture.  I can’t keep it out.  This shack suffers from many cracks and voids.
 
Creature of indolence that I am; I seldom wipe the dust away.  Creature of speculation that I am; I wonder why indolence evolved in the first place.  I can’t understand why people argue about evolution and agonize over dust.
 
I could sweep the dust out of the house.  I could (and do) vote against the creationists.
The dust always settles back onto the end tables and the creationists always slither back onto the school boards.
 
Clearly evolution and dust and zealotry mingle in our quilted universe.  I can’t separate them when all our lines of communication remain tangled and over taxed.  The creationists always gloat as if they never contemplated the evolution of a crossed wire. 
 
dim laws
 
Everybody works, let’s call that the cardinal law of the universe.  Everybody gripes about work; let’s label that the inexorable law of universal dissatisfaction.  Nobody sings while they work.
 
Everybody prays for that big break or that big make-over. We can concur; that constitutes an unspoken code of diffuse ambition.  Everybody sneers at has-beens and mystified spirits.  We can agree; that’s a snake-oil salve for the weak but willful.  Nobody sneers at themselves.  
 
Everybody assumes they merit a meaty role to play in this world.  We can tag that the unplanned by-product of consumer arrogance.  Nobody feels safe enough, or spiritual enough, or contrary enough to step away from the microphone and take a seat in the dim light under the stage. 
 
priceless microscope 
 
I found a good place to ride out my obscurity, a small neglected paradise in which to work and eat and write without the disturbed world hammering on me.  The shack is small and cluttered and dusty.  The yard is ragged and dusty and neglected.
  
The place feels more humble than current universal codes allow.  I like it a lot.  I found a job that doesn’t take too much out of me.  I found a family of stray dogs and cats to fill the place with motion and zest.  The plainness of the setting and aimlessness of my life lends a lucky spirit to my days.  The shabbiness of the place keeps snoopy eyes and inquiring minds turned away without need for ugly fences or gates or priceless security systems.
 
I found a blind spot under the lens of the global microscope.  I pray I can hold on to it through the bitter, tumultuous times ahead. 
 
hyperbole and the business jet 
 
Nicanor Parra told you “in poetry everything is permitted.  All that’s required is that you improve upon the blank page.”  I submit that it’s not that easy.  A stamp appears on the packaging around every ream of blank pages and it reads, PROPERTY OF THE SHAREHOLDERS!  How do you propose we improve the page without endorsing the chains?
           
Watermarks woven into the fabric of every blank page read, FOR AUTHORIZED DOCUMENTS ONLY!  INAPPROPRIATE USE MAY RESULT IN LOSS OF EMPLOYMENT, HEFTY FINES, EXILE FROM THE RANKS OF THE PAMPERED, HUMILIATION, AND, IN EGREGIOUS CASES, HOMELESSNESS, BEWILDERMENT AND PARANOIA.  Where’s the brilliant strategy for undermining that stranglehold!
 
Forget the blank page.  We can’t improve on it.  We’ll only abet the cause of control and standardization.  If you hold a blank page in front of you right now, don’t write on it!  Don’t scribble a single syllable!  Fold that page into a paper business jet and waft yourself into the highest Andes before the thugs from ASSET PROTECTION confine you in secret, year long a re-education seminar.
 
 I deliver this message to you on the remains of a blank page.  All that’s required is that you ask yourself, IS IT HYPERBOLE, OR IS IT "MEMOREX"?
 
 
Ex-firefighter, ex-beat cop, ex-dirt farmer/cowhand/bouncer and current garden center flunky; Frank Sloan lives and writes in a small shack near the heart of the American empire.  Despite all evidence to the contrary, he believes it’s a heart that merits salvation.
© Frank Sloan November 2007
El Dorado, Ks.
sln_frnk at yahoo.com
 

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