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Fiction

Why Poets Are No Good in Movies Nowadays and Four Poets and which to Film
James Robison

James Robison

James Robison has published many stories in The New Yorker, won a Whiting Grant for his short fiction and a Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for his first novel, The Illustrator, (Bloomsbury, UK). His work has appeared in Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize, and Grand Street. The Mississippi Review devoted an issue to seven of his short stories. He co-wrote the 2008 film, New Orleans Mon Amour, and has poetry and prose forthcoming or published in The Manchester Review, Story Quarterly, The Northwest Review, The Montreal Review and many other reputable literary journals. He taught for eight years at the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program, was Visiting Writer at Loyola College of Maryland, was Fiction Editor of The North Dakota Quarterly and 2011 Visiting Artist at The University of Southern Mississippi.


You think it is there is no noise? These rows of blocks of tablets, flat like thumb puzzleboards on twee keypads, the Chiclets pavestones each engraved with Q or 4, but quiet as the monorail, the girl not coming or the sober poet in window sun.
Did the scratch and crack of a match, smoke swimming from cigarette,
"The films, they whispered as dreamily as dawn radio, as the pillow sighs in your ear, as close and soft as your October moons. Was it machinery then? A ratcheting of a tube cranking in the paper? The snap of keys? The music? The umber-blues carved off the turntable by a needle?"
do the old thing of making their sewing work look like the effort it was? Lines and lines and hooking leaves and leavings to Europa, cities burning? Was it the black and white? No.
I can say no to that.
Black and white wasn’t; it was eloquent grays, platinum and jet, enough silvers to describe the volume of a pear, the round throat, glimmering apple, iris and pupil, in chromes and pitch and beams of arrows shot from the projector booth.
The films, they whispered as dreamily as dawn radio, as the pillow sighs in your ear, as close and soft as your October moons. Was it machinery then? A ratcheting of a tube cranking in the paper? The snap of keys? The music? The umber-blues carved off the turntable by a needle? Do we need Red Norvo to nail the figure who figures and makes the water dance between the eyes?
No, I’ll say it to you.
You in 3-D and color.
Why are you so afraid of what you need?
God roars at us from the garden, the sea, the moth and mole.

POET ONE, AILEEN:

Aileen has the Foley cathether inloaded, in the urethra, a tube draining to a bladder taped to her thigh. She has amber bottles of opiates.
A handgun. Her Marlboros. She sobs in late daylight pain, writing and makes an antimacassar of interlaced niceties good to keep a sofa arm free of the smear
of the grime
of the wool
of the sleeve
of the coat
of the gentleman caller.

POET TWO, BRIDGET:

She asks her poem to the microphone as introduction and then, repeats the questions to her patient listener/audience:
"Last chance. Is not photogenic. Her nose runs. Her pencil a seismograph needle, hops and jolts and unscrawls nonsense. Something a cat would chase. You cannot read the Twombly-esque doo-roodles. Still it’s her stuff and her finally I like best for the film about the ways films are not writ"
I traveled? To the celebration of the work? Of the man, because so alive is he still in his lines for me? That I cannot call it a funeral where I went to. I was in the Blue Mountains? And said, Wait, these mountains are not blue!
Polite laughter. Louder laughter when she talks about searching out a meal, through a drive-through, ordering a Big Mac. This Mac thing? Big? Too big for my Prius?
Poets just saying about fast food and malls, always get laughs; her way is fraught with irony, and to be dead pan, daffy, dazzled. But Bridget has been driving through Burger King longer than most students in her crowd have been alive. Her gear smells of onions.
So back to Aileen, who has no audience but the wren and the jay in the feeder, while she puts the muzzle to her temple and thinks, not in a whimsical, up turned, floating way, but down here, here, Do I pull the trigger or can I stand another five minutes?

POET THREE, CLODAGH:

Her keypad all embossed with rain thin ABCs 123s ampersand, painless, no’s and the moans of the word birds poorly slain by the slim poet by the windowpane. Clodagh cannot kill well, has blind aim and nowhere is a tied line taut, so, firing scattershot, splattering wide, she makes her watery deals with two penny rhymes.
I watched with my Bolex to learn the blood and the mess of her, the bubbles foaming on the ceiling, the mackerel in the vapor,the duplicated bricks on the dark glass dirtier with steam, the needed fixes go ignored. She murdered herself with a stretch of the legs. I turned off the camera.

POET FOUR, SIOBHAN THEN:

Last chance. Is not photogenic. Her nose runs. Her pencil a seismograph needle, hops and jolts and unscrawls nonsense. Something a cat would chase. You cannot read the Twombly-esque doo-roodles.
Still it’s her stuff and her finally I like best for the film about the ways films are not writ and do not occur until a kind of bedtime, a passing over, the world’s prose made verse by a reckless woman in a twilit harvest.

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Contents: Sept.-Dec.'11


Fiction

Catherine Harper
Knox Knox

James Robison
Why Poets Are No Good In Movies

Tim Keppel
A Second Life

Anne Macdonald
What Might Happen

Jack Buckeridge
The Windsurfer

Garrett Socol
After the Champagne


Poetry

Nigel Holt

Steve Castro

Diana Der-Hovanessian


Feature/Essay

Hana F Khasawneh
The Irish Victory of Comic Defeat: Synge and O’Casey





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