Switched-on Gutenberg Vol. 6, No. 2
Wish You Were Here

Got in on a technicality (my near-death experience counts!). Rooming with H.D. and Anne Sexton. No such thing as a friendly game of Scrabble with those two, and don’t even get me started on the "words" we have to allow when e. e. cummings plays. Keynote speaker is Pessoa—rumor has it he demanded four podiums, time for wardrobe changes, and a look-alike puppet. Last night Keats and Shelley started a fist fight with the Beats (the offending comment went something like "take your romantic iambic head out of your consumptive pale flat ass"). Mother Goose (also admitted on a technicality) broke it up and received a nasty blow to her left eye, but Dr. Williams patched everyone up in no time. Whitman and Rilke have discovered karaoke and there’s talk of revolt—dead or no, a person can listen to "American Pie" and "Danke Schon" only so many times, though with Gertrude Stein and Anonymous egging them on, I think we’re in for another night of it. Last evening’s martinis were strong and things got a little out of hand—Sylvia P. answering every Trivial Pursuit question with a line from "Daddy" and Emily D. leaping out of Jack Keroac’s lap and letting rip such a string of expletives that even Allen Ginsberg blushed. Not to complain, but I had such expectations—brightest minds engaged in political debate, literary criticism, maybe even writing a killer chain poem… but I’d better go as I can’t miss this—Ezra Pound wearing a lampshade, Neruda and Sappho lip-syncing "Greased Lightning."

Copyright 2004,  Marjorie Manwaring

Marjorie L. Manwaring lives in Seattle, where she does freelance writing and editing and teaches poetry in the schools. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in 5AM, the Seattle Review, Pontoon, Diner, and DMQ Review. She holds an MFA from the Writing Seminars at Bennington College.


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