Home > Journaling the Apocalypse > Revelation of the common man

Revelation of the common man

December 30, 2008

I
Go tell John to stop writing backwards. Stop calling forth unrooted trees. Make broth from worn shoes and empty hands. Stow away family albums and vermouth. Place neon bar signs over your doors. Winnow the undesired shoals into darker waters. Resuscitate the pipe organ. Pound cutlets from abandoned expatriates.

II
They won’t ply you with ice cream trucks. They cannot play chess. They will not mime a man trapped in soggy tissue paper. They won’t abscond with the escape ladders. They won’t fritter the last hours away on carousels. They will seal every exit but cover their footsteps. They will hesitate before slicing the skies and filling you with sawdust and straw. They will want what you can never say to them unless you are speaking in tongues.

III
Liquor drizzles the porn collection. Hula hoops enter oncoming traffic. Viaducts volley their occupants. Articulating arms reach out for pulsating bodies, leech heat. Tarot cards shuffle, tell the same story. Fur stoles crawl into knotted piles. Stamp collections peal away from their albums, mail themselves to the past.

IV
In disastrous end-times, you will suffer: unending lines at the grocery store check-out; muscles, unmassaged and unused; queasy silences at the dinner table; the coarse laughter of your daughter’s daughter; a crushing lack of caffeinated beverages; mosquitoes (their bite and buzz); the stench and mortification of eternally unbrushed teeth.

by E.A.P. and Dana Guthrie Martin

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  1. December 30, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    There’s a line from a David Lerner poem about a “carnival of dread.” That’s what this feels like. Wonderful.

  2. Deb
    December 30, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    The unspeakable becomes poetry. The unimaginable, everyday.

    Holy crap.

  3. December 30, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    This is incredibly perfect and gorgeous. I wish I had written it.

  4. December 31, 2008 at 9:13 am

    This is exquisite: Winnow the undesired shoals into darker waters

    And the rest ain’t bad *grin*.

  5. January 2, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Tarot cards shuffle, tell the same story. Fur stoles crawl into knotted piles. Stamp collections peal away from their albums, mail themselves to the past.

    The center is definitely not holding in this poem, in the sense of Yeats’ The Second Coming.

    Beautiful collaboration!

  6. January 4, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Striking work. You need great chops to write the surreal, so that each detail sings – however atonally- from the score of the same underlying nightmare.

    The details in Sections III and IV are particularly fine. Viz
    “[v]iaducts volley their occupants,” I’ve always seen viaducts as a post-Rapture respository. We vile sinners in our fuel-efficient cars: trapped between belching trucks, asphyxiated for eternity.

    I wonder if you are fans of Dean Young.

  7. January 4, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    Our process on this piece was that we wrote sections I and II together. We kept it fluid, writing what we were moved to write, whether it be one word or an entire phrase, before handing the evolving poem to the other person to do likewise.

    Once we had the first two sections, we went off on our own. I wrote section III alone and E.A.P. wrote section IV alone. Then we put all the sections together for a co-edit, which resulted in the final piece.

    It’s interesting, JMartin, that you like sections III and IV the most, since those are the ones we wrote alone. But neither of those sections would have come about without the collaborative work we did in sections I and II.

    And yeah. Dean Young rocks.

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