Sunday, April 01, 2007

SMC, HTML, Potscrubber Lullabies

Dean and I went to the Seattle Men's Chorus last night, for a 1980's theme concert. What a hoot to hear all of that music again: Devo, B-52's, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Cindy Lauper, Culture Club, Madonna, Eurythmics, Tears for Fears, Pointer Sisters. And all those movie themes: Xanadu, Flash Dance, Ghostbusters etc. It was a really fun show. "It's Raining Men," complete with dancing guys in trenchcoats over speedos, made for a great encore. But where were the songs by Spandau Ballet, DePeche Mode, George Michael?


I am helping to format some of the next issue of In Posse Review, and learning more than I ever thought possible about HTML code. Like an em dash is — and an indent space is   and more. I found a nifty table on line to help me make special characters for café and belovèd. And to center text you just say "center" (inside <> of course). How simple! Soon kids will be learning HTML as part of the ABC's. (Maybe they probably already are?)


I'm reading Eric McHenry's Potscrubber Lullabies, and really enjoying it. He does a lot of clever wordplay, as in "You take the Elms from Elmhurst, you get hurt." ("Hypermart") and "Who's bringing/the allegation but the alligator?" ("How to Write Autobiography"). There are many references to popular music, including the songs of Badfinger, the Beatles, Bird, and even that disco hit "Brick House" (hmmm, all B words?), as well as a wonderful music to the poems themselves, in their use of rhythms and subtle rhymes. McHenry has great, funny tongue-in-cheek titles, such as "Me and My Epoch," "My Solipsism is Superior to Yours," "Hearing Myself Say the Name C. Klafter." But there is also a deeper, philosophical musing going on in these poems (see "McHenry Replies:" below). Potscrubber Lullabies was recently awarded the 2007 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, a $10,000 companion prize to the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award.

Here are a couple poems:

"Brick House"

For booty we come at the world ass-backward,
asking to be taken not literally,
seeing ellipses, seeing nothing awkward
in casting them so quadrilaterally.
She is a brick house. I am not a car.
The difference is an idiom that relies
on other idioms that, likewise, are
idiom reliant, so it's no surprise
to hear some backseat frontman flub the line
we unequivocally call the refrain:
She's a freak, oww. And a freak, oww is fine
a honey and a soothing sort of pain.
This one goes out to all you ladies, whether
you're stacked or built or simply put together.

(pg 61)

McHenry Replies:

In January, Foday Sankoh's band
fled Freetown, amputating each third hand—
left,right,left—with machetes as they fled,
so when I think of the 6,000 dead
I try to think of someone who could carry
a shovel by the haft but not bury.
Connecticut will upset Duke tonight,
and Edgar Winter sells us Miller Lite.
Whether we act or not, we intervene.
When you say nothing I know what you mean.

(pg 52)


1 comment:

Collin said...

Ah, yes, the joys of HTML. I do know a good bit now, but wish I didn't have to. lol