Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Well, when your day is replete with conversations over how and when to schedule moving the septic tank from the mountain and then trying to accommodate being without said septic tank for a few days, the times aren't conducive for anything but reading light fare.

So I was munching through THE JUROR, a novel about jury-tampering by George Dawes Green (also a poet, as it turns out)...and cackled moiself silly reading how this poet-novelist inserted poetical references in a crime fiction genre. Here's an excerpt:

Slavko Czernyk hunkers down tonight in this old clawfoot bathtub because his tightass landlord still hasn't turned on the heat and this is the only way to get warm. He lifts his foot out of the water and gets a toe-grip on the H knob. Twists it.

Treats the tub to a nice scalding pick-me-up.

He's chewing a Nicorette and smoking a Lucky Strike at the same time. A cupful of Jim Beam (with a drop of honey) rests on the tub sill. He's holding a book above the waterline. The book is called The Essential Derek Walcott. He owns this book because once a woman told him that Derek Walcott was the greatest poet ever, oh my god. He was in love with this woman. He still is. So he keeps the book at all times in this bathroom across from his office, and whenever he takes a crap or a bath he opens The Essential Derek Walcott and makes a stab at civilizing himself.

He glares at a poem.

The poem taunts him.

The poem says things like

  â€¦and read until the lamplit page revolves
  to a white stasis whose detachment shines
  like a propeller's rainbowed radiance.
  Circling like us, no comfort for their loves!...

He squints. He tries that part again. He still doesn't get it. He turns the book upside down and reads:

  [same excerpt as above except the words are upside down]

This is never going to work. He takes a long pull from the Jim Beam, a long pull from the Lucky, and turns the page.

In his office across the hall, the phone rings.

Who have we got here? He wonders. Who'd be calling the Czernyk Detective Agency at this hour?

Probably Grassman Security. They're on a stakeout and no relief and Slavko, could you please hustle your ass down here? So you can make eight bucks an hour sitting with Bill Farmer in a colder-than-shit Mercury Zephyr and keep tabs on a murky motel door across a murky street and listen all night to Bill Farmer's two-part encore-and-fart harmony, OK, Slavko?

All the god damn livelong night, how about that, Slavko?

No thanks.

Thanks but I'd rather stay here and read, read until the lamplit page revolves to a white stasis whose detachment shines like a propeller's rainbowed radiance, you know what I mean?