NATIONAL POETRY MONTH
The parade was dull. The queen old, wearing a frumpy sweater against the
cold. No candy. The marching band wore black, smoked cigarettes, and whined
a lot. Some guy in a beard guided a giant balloon shaped like a question
mark. While the hyacinth girl ran off with the mermaid, a language poet
read his work in his native tongue, something he called "language."
People learned one thing, though—you can't teach old rain new tricks.
And don't look a gift book in the mouth. In fact, don't look at it at all.
Of course, most people don't need to be told that. The month was long and
cruel—as it should be. When the parade ended, someone woke briefly
and was awarded tenure. People went home to watch television. The home team
won in extra innings.
I've just been promoted to head writer at the blurb factory. I sit at a
small desk in a windowless room all day daring to be smug and even-handed.
Books occasionally zip out of a slot in the wall like coupons in the diaper
aisle. I don't have time for inspiration—no one does—so I write
things like Truth is stranger than fiction, but truth is often boring.
And Without perfection, everything is possible. My boss sends both
encouragement and veiled threats, pointing out that this may be the year
I win the Blurbitzer Prize. I imagine myself holding the trophy, a small
glass nose attached to a sponge. Finally, I hit on a line that is truly
my own: The beauty of most art lies in the fact that it fails to disambiguate
itself. You can quote me on that.