Thursday, February 08, 2007


Sophie came home got a snack
told me about jump rope
told me about mean Mrs. Fuller
told me Evie was a boy and a girl

what do you mean I said
she said Mrs. Fuller put Jimmy
in the corner for a whole hour
and all he did was draw a picture
of a dragon eating Mrs. Fuller

no about Evie I said
I walked into her stall she said
cause she forgot to lock it

and Evie is a boy and a girl
and after lunch we jump rope

--Susan Tepper

That's the first poem in Cab/net; not a bad start, is it. I recently received in the mail a copy of the inaugural issue of the journal, which is edited by Anne Heide and Michael Wendt and published in Denver, and which should not be confused with a similarly-named art-text-fest out of Brooklyn.

This publication is a slim, perfect-bound 6"x6" object with a pale woodgrain cover (birch?); the frontispiece features the title in boxy letters, as if the point were to take this flatpack and, using pegs, bolts and a torque wrench, assemble something useful and attractive on the cheap. A sans serif face kerned and leaded extra wide contributes further to the DIY/prefab look; nice.

If you have been reading online journals such as H_NGM_N, Typo, Octopus or Coconut, you will be familiar with many of the names here. Bruce Covey is represented by three pieces from his paraflarf series "Reveal," in which like an alien Richard Dawson he presents a phrase from the "I'm feeling lucky" result for searches on common vocabulary. Noah Falck's "Life as a Crossword Puzzle" is also represented, as is Anthony Hawley's set of "P(r)etty Sonnets." (RIYL those particular series: Natasha Saje's alphabet poems and Karl Elder's "Z Ain't Just for Zabecedarian," both of which have been featured in Beloit Poetry Journal, which incidentally is very nearly the mirror image of Cab/net, an assertion I will never prove.)

While the publication includes its requisite share of noodly drifting explorations, there is a healthy almost aggressive interest in narrative and lyric, why don't we drop the code, there are poems here such as Michael Rerick's island grocery reverie "Marvin's" in which the story and feeling aren't totally submerged. What's most encouraging to this reader is the spirit of independent critique -- of speaking up -- that seems to be (finally) breaking through:


Look at that! Isn't that ambulance cute? Isn't that air raid siren cute? Isn't that evacuation route just the cutest? Cute is teensy-weensy earthworm segments on morning sidewalks. Cute is exhaust pipes on freeway commutes. Cute is ten million gut rolls in spandex pants. Cute is cracked wire-frame eyeglasses on the shiner of the elementary bully. If you want to see cute, baby, you ought to smell garbage dump fumes in August! Indescribably cute! Her migraine is cute, his blister-toe is cute, that bone poking through my knee from the stumble -- cute, cute, cute! Bar stools and baby puke and police crime scene tape -- all excessively cute! That radioactive waste warning is so cute, it'd never date me! That schnauzer's poo-smear gooping over flip-flop soles -- you got it: c-u-t-e! Cute goiters, cute cancers, cute cinderblocks and bank robberies! Holy cute below-the-poverty-line, Robin! Here a cute, there a cute, everywhere a cute, cute stripped van! Take that welterweight's fat lip of blood -- I can't even believe how cute that is! That tsunami is so cute, I could just eat it up with a spoon, and that's not even acknowledging the cuteness factor of naked moll rats and cyclones! The cuteness of used-up band-aids is not to be beat! Cuteness is a virus cup drunk down daily. Sing a song of cuteness, a pocket full of lye which is cute, cute, cute! Now, not quite car crash cute, not even alien invader cute, but definitely autopsy cute, definitely so cute I can hardly stand it!

-- Melanie Faith

Thank goodness somebody said it. Maybe we're coming round the corner after all. No paypal button yet on the site but they're working on it. Eight dollars.

Jordan - #




I'm Jordan Davis.
I write a lot.
I mention it here.

Say hi: jordan [at] jordandavis [dot] com.

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