Word Germs 

What is essential in the weeks to come is that I establish the context of my poetry (which is prose) as outside the gates of self-censorship and well within academic precedent: I did indeed study both modernism and German, just not so much together as I intend to do now. But I’m 7 years out of grad school and so will approach the study just as I did before grad school, independently pursuing a haunted aesthetic of irony and hope–for alternate worlds and literary forms. How glad I am that I opened up NYbooks’s website tonight and landed on a review of Marjorie Perloff’s Edge of Irony: Modernism in the Shadow of the Habsburg Empire. The Kindle sample is fantastic, promising precisely what I need to read right this minute…



After our beagle burst back inside from barking at those mean old thorny bushes again, he dug right into and upended the fabric bin that Allie had filled with every rope and bone she’d extracted from under the couches. This tidying up had served as her final act during the ending credits of a temper tantrum, filed under Kid 2’s Greatest Fits, over an ice cream trip to McDonald’s that no one had mentioned yet had popped so persuasively into her brain. Since she was already flat on the floor she could see just where to train the broomstick Mama must’ve handed her for just this purpose.

Some of the things she said during this fit, a minute of which was filmed for kicks: “I’m gonna get rid of Oliver and I’m gonna get rid of Mama.” “I’m gonna tape your mouth shut.” That puts the little note she left for me this morning into a rather different context…

Nah, she’s a sweet kid. She unleashes her Heavenly Creatures id and moves on with her life, taking her shower and brushing her chompers for Mama without complaint while I host my Comp II seminar downstairs. Students from Baltimore to East Texas overhear not shouting and slamming but laughing and rambling.