Laura Mullen
VERSION notes Re: Verse
(Tense: tension / Verse: version)                            (page 7)

Vermouth / Wermut
Just show it to the vodka, okay?

The mixer masks nasty flavors or what seems to be a lack of flavor with herbs and wormwood, but see (under various definitions) also the references to a star that falls from heaven to poison or adulterate the waters as well as an immoral woman or the woman who (she entices the wrong guy into the wrong pleasure) we’d like blame (wrongwrongwrong) and sideline. Adultery, uh huh: that’s (evidently) the Bible, that tome / tomb from which worms I mean words will still come crawling out (vers) toward us. But Ver-Mouth is also a false friend, true in some ways, in my hybrid franglish, worm mouth, mouth full of the corpse and what comes to life at that site. “I’ve killed my father, I’ve eaten human flesh, I tremble with joy!” Pier Paolo Pasolini has a young boy confess to the camera, repeatedly, as if it were a charm, as if he might convince himself. We consume and incorporate those who came before us, and I—following the Modernists I was weaned on—march toward the porcelain throne, trembling w/ joy and other emotions as I rolf up the mostly undigested stuff (it doesn’t settle): “Blowing chunks,” as the kids say. (High modernism as an eating disorder—of one sort or another. Run with that? This-a-way, quick.) (Ooops: every stall’s in use.) Just puleeese don’t make the mistake of thinking, as one critic did, that I don’t want you to remember the (in her words) better (“more satisfying”) meal: each glance at the spattered evidence is intentional (see Pasolini on the purpose of montage, and read Placed by Carol Snow). I want the former version there, informing the new version—there’s a charge in the repetition and revision, done in part on the page and in part in your head in the work of not only memory but comparison. Evoked and revoked… (A student told me his grandmother kept two parakeets she replaced, renamed, each time they passed on: “Pete and Repeat.”)

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