Curated by Canadian writer, editor and publisher rob mclennan, the “spotlight” series appears the first Monday of every month.
Constrained poetry mesmerizes me. Although I know it’s not legerdemain, it almost feels that way. Over the last while I’ve tried my hand at these feats, drafting erasures, lipograms (both forward and reverse), and mesostics. At one point, I planned to write a suite of anagrams from the sorts of monologues that actors have to memorize for auditions. I felt defeated after three. This is the best one. A mentor once told me that I sit at a computer the way a medieval monk kneels for prayer, which I took to mean I wear a hair shirt and self-flagellate for some reason. Not sure she wasn’t wrong.
from David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross
Fuck you, that’s my name. You know why, Mister? ’Cause you drove a Honda to get here tonight, I drove a sixty-thousand dollar B.M.W. That’s my name, and your name is you’re wanting, and you can’t play in the man’s game, you can’t close them, then go home and tell your wife your troubles. Because One Thing Counts In This Life: Get Them To Sign On The Line Which Is Dotted. You hear me, you f*ggots . . .? I know your war stories. I know the bullshit excuses that are your lives. What do you know . . .? What do you know . . . A. Always, B. Be, C. Closing, Always Be Closing. Always Be Closing. A.I.D.A. Attention, Interest, Decision, Action Attention: Do I have your attention? Interest: Are you interested? I know you are, because it’s fuck-or-walk: you close or you hit the bricks. Decision: Have you made your decision for Christ? and Action? A.I.D.A. Get out there, you got the prospects coming in. You think they came in to get out of the rain? A guy don’t walk on the lot ‘lest he wants to buy: They’re sitting out there, waiting to give you their money . . . You gonna take it?
I’ve got bad news: You’re Cursed. Why is that, Minister? How was I danged to heck? Is there any reason that I am sporting a Kmart coat and you wear Armani suits? Why hand out the collection when it comes back to me bare? Why do I preach on blessings at all? Oh no. I’ve got good news, too: The Big Guy Doesn’t Care About Your Tongue — Talk Is Cheap. Listen, fools . . . you got to finger the suckers in red ’n yellow, black ’n white . . . tut-tut, tut-tut . . . onIy not blue-collar believers with roots in the Caucasus. You condemn. You con them into hating another guy so they make good with gifts for you. Go con. I, you, we, I. Not them. Unity knot. Book it. The beginning and the end . . . Alpha: accuse. Omega: others. Accuse. Others. Accuse others. I.N.R.I. Individual, Network, Resentment, Idolatry. Individual: Do you want what is yours? Okay. Network: Do they know who you are? Yay. If not, you better get on TV. Resentment: Do they want what is theirs? Okay. Idolatry? Are you a god? Yay. If not, Deus Ex it . . . then exit. You damn ’em, you scam ’em. You trash ’n you cash in. I.N.R.I. It suits you. Feeling evangelical yet?
nathan dueck’s middle name is russel, which means his initials spell “nrd.” His parents tell him that nobody used that word when he was born, but dictionaries say otherwise. He is the author of king’s(mère) (Turnstone Press) and he’ll (Pedlar Press). His poetry collection, A Very Special Episode, was published by Buckrider Books in 2019.