This book has a message. This message can be summed up in one word. Unfortunately, the author doesn't know what this word is. Yet he still tried to describe it using the clearest, most concise words he knew—which turned into this abstract. Maybe in his childhood full of toppling Jenga towers, and chronic headlocks from his siblings, the author once knew this word. Maybe he overheard his father use it when his mother dropped his toolbox on his ingrown toenail, or learned it from Pick-Axe Jack, the ghost of a Schuylkill County miner who haunted his Boy Scout camp, the vines moistening in his sobs at night. Maybe a girl in college tried to tell him it through her chemical eye contact as she peeled off her sweaty shirt like a snakeskin. But now he has forgotten the word, lost it somewhere among the Pennsylvania pine trees rustling with fifty-five ears. Now he would rather say something and not mean it than mean something that can't be said. To write this book, the author had to unbelieve all the things he ever felt certain about, all the 2+2=4's of life that tuck us in at night, that keep the trains running on time and the parents packing their kid's school lunches, all the definitions in the dictionary that stop words from hemorrhaging. He had to write poems that didn't have a meaning, but were a meaning. Poems that let their subjects perish in the fizz of test tubes, the calculator chaos, rather than mummy-wrapping a moment for stale parched preservation.^
Marianne J. Boruch, Purdue University.
Off-Campus Purdue Users:
To access this dissertation, please log in to our