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Delayed Refills and the Art of Poetry

2008 November 14
by J. Scott Mosel

The Smallest Detail Gives Rise to Insight and Nourishment

     There are people who can turn a system upside down. They are artists really, working on the palette of the American landscape.

     The concept of a free refill at a fast food joint comes to my mind. Here is how it works. The establishment offers a free refill. Only some people take them up on it. The rest are timid and lame for not even taking this simple freedom as their own. However, out on the fringes of fast food artistry, there are consumer artists who take it to a whole new level. They return weeks later with the same cup, and simply request what is theirs: A free refill, only delayed. Possibly months have passed: a new war has started, people have died, a new cancer has begun to fester and then be cured.

    The poet works with the same delayed refill as a starting point. Life is lived and then memory begins to work its games with the mind. The poet, when filling the palette, is essentially asking for a refill of experience. Emotion refilled in tranquility. Take it now, they say. No, the poet says, I will be back in few months. I need to walk my dog. Welcome a new child into the world. Stare at a cloud. Catch a fish. Later, when it is time to ask for the refill, the words are charged with the flavors of time itself.

3 Responses leave one →
  1. Joseph Bastow permalink*
    November 20, 2008

    Like the last paragraph of this, brother. You’ve got something going here and I’m glad to see it! I’m looking for a bit more edge on some of this, however. The slice of Americana is good – I’d like to see it a bit more seedy – without being trite, of course. The guerilla tactic (of defying the giants and insisting what’s due) here is, at the core, the important element. What is it that poets can get away with that will heighten their experience as writers? I don’t know – propositioning a librarian for an extended (perhaps even overnight) stay in the east stacks? An orgy of books? What other warranties can we exploit here that will enliven the work and lives of writers?

    Maybe the key word here is exploit. Exploitation. What, without seeming snobby, whiny, pretentious should writers be entitled to. And here the key word is entitlement.

    I love the forum you have created. Great job, brother! Let’s talk about how we bring this into the world of things that shouldn’t be said . . . or done – the living example of your father (gosh, I hope to be as savvy, real, strong, unfettered as your father in his refusal of the medical community to prescribe a way for him . . . or your mother’s marvelous sense to know enough to let an individual (like your dad) breath his own cure – as well as support and teach men like yourself the miracle of self-realzation! Gorgeous shit!

    Personally, these are the stories that could easily drive this campaign.

    I’m thinking of the pictures that are immediately visable upon viewing this site. What do you think about juxtaposing these images with a bit more grit?

    Great work, J.S.!

  2. November 24, 2008

    Now it is time for you great whitefish brother. The forum is open. The water is perfect: cold and inviting. I hope parts of you come to live here for awhile, and I hope a part of you leaves enough so that you have shed an old skin. If you were a snake, you would be a good one. Imagine where you would go if you were a snake. A snake that wrote poetry, coiled, and never slept at night. Imagine where your poems would go. It is late now. The poets are calling me. . .

  3. Lois permalink
    November 26, 2008

    I think it would be funny to have a photograph of a tattered well used in all its glorious yellow and red Wendy’s biggie drink cup.

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