A Poem in Vers Atroce
* * *
Must literature be intelligible?
Readers read, cryptographers encrypt, and writers should know the difference. An intelligibility requirement attaches of particular necessity to a literary work that purports to be a narrative. Airscoop Dest’ny stands in contradiction as a mélange so various in substance and kind as to defy coherency. From the poem’s first page, where one sees no need to begin, absurdities abound:
Irrelevant epigraphs; fabricated archaisms, lunatical capitalization, convoluted elisions, strophes and enjambments of such erratic character as to subvert articulation of however brief duration, pompous foreign intrusions and, as oddity’s dernier cri, running requests to a phantom projectionist. Of clinical interest is the poet’s avoidance of end-line punctuation, an OCD usage observable as well in the strophes’ prow-and-spearhead symmetry. Generally speaking, rhyme and meter are jejune and inept.
The poet’s “B’lovèd,” upon whose oft-invoked presence this interminable ramble turns – and turns and turns – is its most bathetic feature. So far as we are aware, Washington remains an involuntary celibate.
With regard to the many tasteless moments, as Airscoop Dest’ny is of interest as a case study, the editorial staff thought better of abridgment. Freedom of expression also entered our deliberations, along with the possibility of litigation. Modeled ineptly on vers libre, vers atroce stands as Washington’s ineffectual hedge against perceptions of ineptitude and, indeed, sanity. Should one choose to see the poem as a typographic error, one does little harm to its substance.
Lemmo Djoost, Ph.D
* * *
Art is hinged from the top of art.
The bat lives in a world painted in shades of its own voice.
Every change of scene a delight!
* * *
It jes’ don’ make no Diff’rence
Dis-moi qui tu manges, et je dirai ce que tu es.4 Maman
pY-Toe poised for HorseYhoofplops. Holla, hoopla, Bone-WearY Carroteer –
out th’Door th’B’lovèd, She flew, Deferral ’pon Cæsura high piled, Eluci
¡Mia! ¡TuYa! ¡Falta de Pertinencia! D-D-Death! Add two curious – naY, gratui
th’EntiretY, Euterpe, subsuMed to a Calm deeper still, to la Musica
de Bivalvoli, inap
like Flatulence in Tunics, like SpeecHes plump with Contentlessness
scoop aHelming, Aspens aquaking, Bedlinens Line
You, MY fragrant EdelWeiss, MY Pampas Succulent sav’rY. Mine Stro
senescent, Naught plus Less, and all of this in Mufti murkY, Finials fungal on
Er, a Gala to host, & ’pon MY Soul, Here’s a fartHer AnotHer
in Poet’s brash Lines wi’troWeled-on Walloon Scorn.
This Melancholia, NowHere is its Match t’be found,
keYs pin Tails? To Apices, Ups? Bulls to Bull’s-EYes? Perps to Perpetu
tee, th’Poet grimacing i’a perplexing Dog-ear’d Manner wi’Eph
-Slough bespattered (small-scale Debris), MondaY’s blunt LaundrY
One draws Breath athletical & t’th’PeripHerY bellows, ¡Dios Me libre de la vida
[Photo from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Anemoscopi.JPG]
[More Irving Washington]