Two Stories

CRÔNICA: ON THE AESTHETIC

I use direct address because there are some things that must be addressed directly.

When confronted with so many claims that the work should be relatable, that the work must be recognizable or easily understood, when constantly compared to that which elicits easy comfort, in the face of such ignorance disguised as arrogance, it will always be necessary to write the contemporary equivalent of <<Hé bien ! la guerre>>.

On the aesthetic: I mentioned in an earlier work that it can be summarized with a single German word. That word is gestalt: The whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

On the confessional aspects: Yes, there’s a confessional aspect to the crônica, but the confessions are not at all personal. Instead, the crônica highlights a persona, a winking avatar in place of the whole of the writer. In other words, it’s not me. Because me? I’m still alone, dancing—you know it, baby.

And yet—and as always, we introduce an “and yet,”—there are times when all the aesthetic considerations, the poetic implications and even the lyric imaginings must give way to the pragmatic. So if you got the money, I am for the booking.

The flame, all orange and amber and sometimes even sapphire blue. Licking and dancing and leaping, always leaping. Before the fall it wasn’t bound by gravity. We only know the tale of Icarus because Daedalus got away.

Wait, wasn’t it Pierre Joris who wrote, “The composition of a poem is an exercise in magical thinking”? No, no that’s not right. It wasn’t Pierre Joris, it was me!!!

A note to the uninitiated: It’s not shade, it’s a survival tactic.

It’s wrong to call it code meshing. Then again, perhaps it’s right. These two tongues are codependent, the one on the other. Then again, I codeswitch avec ease, ou bien, avec oeuf. Donc, perhaps it’s just the signifying of a tonal shift, the cognitive hint that gives the thing its meaning.

A simple, declarative sentence, written in Peak Shavers: “No, I mean, yeah, definitely maybe.”

What an age of absurdity! There are those out there who, when first perceiving the Brownian motion of the crônica’s passages, think to themselves, “Oh, I can do that.” Nah, son. Like Mariah once famously quipped, “You don’t have the range….”

As verdant as an oil slick, as metaphorical as cheese. The cat, gazing out the window, softly singing her prayers and swatting at things outside her grasp.

On the aesthetic: While I sometimes write against the prevalent characteristics of the form, I do so out of the awareness that I am part of an aesthetic legacy. That is to say, there is a definite through-line of famous practitioners, historic individuals who have made good use of the crônica. To cite just three examples, in reverse historical order: Clarice Lispector<–Fernando Pessoa<–Rone Michel de Montaigne. A minor skewing of the aesthetic is an adherence to the creative spirit of one’s forebears. And thus, we come full circle.

The shape of the pear, the size of the pill, her smile, her walk, her wit. Meh, now that she’s gone, there’s nothing wrong with me suicide wouldn’t fix.

And if all of these crônicas were not labeled, but instead gathered together with other works into a thin, slim volume titled Cane, Vol. 2, if I changed my name to Toomer, would that help?

 

MY SPORTING LIFE

Being an Account of the Joys and Travails Familiar to Persons Who Dare to Compete

 

Volume S, Chapter 1:

Emblems of Talent–A Question of Mettle–Tricks and Traps and Complications–The Vast Swamp of Dismay–Confronting the Past

 

Yeah, I play Dungeons and Dragons, even lettered in it back in high school. Varsity, three years straight. In fact, senior year, me and my boys from D&D squad made Nationals, but that’s when the two-a-day workouts finally caught up with us and injuries started to mount. We powered all the way through to semi-finals, though, only to then get totally outplayed by Team Acererak, from like, Greyhawk, North Dakota or some podunk town like that. Man, I’m not gonna lie, it was rough. Our paladin cried when it happened. During and after. The half-orc, too. And our Drow ranger, you know, “Mr. Never-Say-Quit!” Well, first he got weird, then he mumbled something to himself and walked away. Forever. I mean, he just turned a corner and disappeared, like, right off the map. I still don’t know what happened to him. In a way, I don’t know what happened to any of us after that because the game, when you’re really playing it right, the intensity of it, it takes a lot out of you, you know?

So, yeah, but yeah, I play, I still play. Only now it’s just, well, sometimes it’s like I sit in the basement and think about how if it weren’t for a couple of failed saves and a few split-second decisions, I probably could’ve gone on to get a full-ride; a D&D scholarship at one of the “Big d6” schools the pro scouts actually pay attention to, you know? I mean, I totally had the d12s, and my d4 rolls were so good that everybody, even Coach Kuntz said I could’ve been one and done and on to The Show without so much as breaking a sweat. It’s all I can do now to not think about it but sometimes I think about it, I really do. But still, that was then and this is now. And I mean, I should have been a household name, with mansions and cars and endorsements and everything. Damn, it’s kinda sad, really, you know? It’s really pretty sad…

Full hearts, rolling criticals, can’t lose.

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