Saturday, June 5, 2010

Verser Pens Boffo H’w’d Slanguage Poem!

Today I give the o.o. (that’s the “once over” in the argot of the Daily Variety) to topliner Rachel Loden’s “The Hollywood Years,” a poem from her collection Dick of the Dead, which preemed a bit more than a year ago from Ahsahta Press.

Dick of the Dead is a book with legs. Almost a year ago I wrote about “Affidavit” from the collection, and then a few months later did a post about another poem in it, “I Know A Brand”. Others too have written about particular poems in the book, including Daisy Fried on “What The Gravedigger Needs,” Philip Metres on “The Toybox of My Intentions,” Joel Brouwer on “Milhous as the King of the Ghosts,” and Loden herself on “Miss October”). Reviews of the book as a whole also appeared steadily throughout 2009, including by Maureen Thorson, Susan Grimm, Tad Richards, Crg Hill, D.A. Powell, Douglas Barbour, Jeffrey Cyphers Wright, Joanna Fuhrman and Elaine Terranova.

In addition, Pulitzer-winner Rae Armantrout’s Attention Span 2009 list had Loden’s book at the top. Most recently, in March 2010, the Commonwealth Club named Dick of the Dead a finalist for its annual California Book Award.

I continue find and re-discover poems in Dick of the Dead that provoke heavy mitting. “The Hollywood Years” is a good example. It was something of a sleeper for me; I’d read and liked it, but now, I REALLY like it. The poem deserves a far higher Q rating” among poetry-lovers than it appears to have. So in the hope of making it a hotsy read, this post tubthumps for Loden’s rhymer (well, okay, it ain’t really a rhymer), and I think for good reasons.

Here’s the poem, right here on your big screen, with its socko slang, lexi-oddities and even a few of its regular ol
’ words hyper-linked for your click-‘n-go, mind-(en)light(en)ing pleasure:
The Hollywood Years

My elevator pitch is getting shorter and shorter.
I keep a trained mouse in my persqueeter
Since I have one, and since you don’t
Talk out of your neck till it asplodes.

These last spring days are merciless, yes/no
Will Bluto finally favor us with his blutorial
Or shall I just power up my do-me shoes
And tether down the antipodes?

So much scrumtrelescence, daddy-o.
There’s crab butter already on your whickerbill
And it’s not galumptious in the swankienda
But the kiss-and-cry area is getting full.
These word-lines, first and foremost, are one big guffaw-fest. Loden’s language – in the main a mix of slang, the unusual, and satire of the super-smart kind– just kills. And because it kills, it cues an endorpho-rush in the megaplex of your mind, and gets the thought-wheels gleaming. The poem’s the exact opposite – antipode, shall I say? – of a yawner. It opens the eyes and alerts the mind to the possibilities of language.

S-c-r-u-m-t-r-e-l-e-s-c-e-n-c-e, indeed!

And what’s the vibe in, coming from, the poem? H’w’d and its silver-screen projected reality as superficial yip-yap? Maybe so. And that leads to a big-time sense, underlying or pervading the poem, of sadness, opportunities missed, time passed. The persqueeter and whickerbill may be in play, but nothing is tippy-top or even okey-doke. The days are merciless and as the curtain closes the kiss-‘n-cry is filling up with folks who, having finished their strut-
‘n-fret sound-‘n-furying, now just wait for their scores.

But I can’t greenlight an A-Z explication on this one. I’ll leave that, I suppose, to the crix, though if you
’ve grokked something here, drop a note in the comments, okay? I’ll just call “The Hollywood Years” a whammo poem, and say that Loden’s a hell of a chantoosie, of the poet-scribbler kind.

And folks, for me today, that’s a wrap!



Rachel Loden
(along with Maxine Chernoff and Donna de la Perriere)
will read at
Moe’s Books, Berkeley,
Thursday, June 10th at 7:30 p.m.



Ed Baker said...

GREAT "stuff"

takes me back to where I "learned" everything. was gonna say (especially) how the characters in Popeye cartoons co:municate/d.
what? Hanna-Barbera? or Merrie Melodies? or Looney Tunes?

Then she mentions Bluto and WHAM!

Hollywood at it s bestest. Ever, were them cartoons.

Rachel Loden said...

I love learning from the Urban Dictionary that "an asplosion may occur if a person is overwhelmed by current circumstances, or if the existence of an object must suddenly cease to exist." Because that would be overwhelming indeed.

Another link took me to a page on the creator of Popeye, with the exciting news that "in 2008, a Bluto statue was dedicated at the corner of Swanwick and W. Holmes Streets, in front of Buena Vista Bank" (in Chester, Illinois).

Alas, Google image search reveals that the statue is a botch and an abomination, barely Blutoesque. Far better to have imagined it than to be so robbed of mystery!

Anonymous said...

yes. As Einstein said:

"Imagination is more important than knowledge"
but, what did he know?

Growing up "watching" Radio has/had many Avatages. Old Time Radio Used to be for 4 hours on Sunday nites on NPR Old Time Radio maybe still On tonight host Being (blind) Ed Walker...

who is still here in D.C.
... greatest jazz DJ EVER!

and his partner... Willard Scott was the first Claribel (of The Howdy Doody Show).