Avoiding Purple

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Last night, I went to a book awards show where Jane Urquhart was the guest speaker. While she delivered her address, which was both insightful and full of humour, I took out my notebook and began writing a poem. I do that sometimes when I listen to authors speak; they open their mouths to say terribly witty and engaging things, and I open my notebook to scribble out the wealth of ideas that have suddenly leapt into my head. If I only I were a sponge for creative genius, though. Sadly, I am not, which was evidenced by what I found in my notebook this morning.

In the middle of fiddling between the words hanging and suspended in my poem's fifth line while the author spoke at the podium, I stopped short and stared at the carpet. Oh gawd, I am such an asshole, I thought. Jane Urquhart is talking about place and narrative not twenty feet from me, and I'm wondering if I've got the spelling of caesarian right in this fucking purple poem.

Here's a tip: if you're ever stumped on a word in a poem, and it's caesarian, as in section, it's best to put down the pen and walk away. It's things like that that kept you from dating in high school.

So, I did. I stopped, deciding that nobody fucking cared whether hanging or suspended made it into my moleskine notebook anywhere near the word caesarian, especially if it had to do with my own birth.

You see here, this space here between your breasts and your pelvis? Yes. There is that indentation there, the bellybutton, and the surrounding flesh? Yes. This is your navel. Some say that you can crawl right up into yourself through that indentation if it is fixated upon to the exclusion of all else. The phrase "head up his ass" is actually incorrect, as it is navels such as the one upon which you are gazing that swallow the most heads.

If someone did want to see those words shoehorned together like ill-fitting puzzle pieces, then they obviously never got laid in high school, either, and they probably romanticized the medieval era and had Waterhouse's painting, "Lady of Shallot" on their wall in university. * I slid my pen back into my bag, listened to Jane Urquhart, and discreetly fingered the Palinode's knee next to the tablecloth.

After the awards were all handed out and I had leaked the salty ocular emissions associated with acute author empathy (She won, and her book is in french, so I can't read it, and one-third of her acceptance speech was in french, so I couldn't understand her, and I've never even heard of her, but she won, oh gawd, the joy), the Palinode bought a copy of Daniel Scott Tysdal's first book of poetry that came out in July of this year, Predicting the Next Big Advertising Breakthrough Using a Potentially Dangerous Method.

My moleskine notebook is firewood.

All I've done so far is gawp at the pages. Later, I am going to gawp some more. This is a poet with which to be reckoned, and you should read his work and give it to other poets who may or may not have had their noxious poem about heartbreak and futility published in a high school rag while they upgraded their grade twelve, and had technically already graduated, just so that they could say they had been published. **

*** (an extraneous aside)


* I had a "Lady of Shallot" poster on my wall in university. I still got laid, though, because I'm hot.

** Okay, this desperate teenager was me, but the Palinode already bought Tysdal's book, so it's too late to give me such an awesome piece of literature.

*** I really wasn't going to incriminate myself further, but this is so bad, it's a must-share. When I was in grade ten, I wrote a poem for an English assignment at the last minute that was meant to be very tragic and severe, but I accidentally wrote down lichen instead of the word lemmings, which I was using in a metaphor that was based on an urban legend, anyway. My teacher kept me back after to class and asked me why it was I had chosen to make lichen ambulatory. He looked wholly amused at how mentally deficient I apparently was.

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The Year Of The Doctors