Academic journal article Chicago Review

From CAMPTOWN

Academic journal article Chicago Review

From CAMPTOWN

Article excerpt

Note: In Camptown various monsters speak and sing.

"Monster or beast: one who walks."

Tunes came to chronicle volition. Say

what it is you wanted. Shelter

in the lee of what you said, shelter in the published range, the lips

of one pushed up against

the brow of the other one. Sing what

music you want-meteor, shooting

star-and then say what overtook you.

Let me

talk a little bit. I think

safety's all hex

-if this, over

here. You

can walk

around it. You

could pace time.

Let me please you.

Don't be cross with me.

It could be the widest part of the field.

We tarried all day on this job. Night-

season

the sky

was black

as skin.

We were

sexed and sighted, and we

were making a desultory

retreat-nobody

likes that-

just ahead of

the field. Who,

in hell,

walks?

I'm beside myself. There's some evil to this boat and you can study it

but it's beyond capture. Jaunty, brother, the more vulgar the more

tuneful-and how intimate the chorus with its "interjections." Camp's

up all night and I've got no business at the skyline-I'm not about

to integrate, I'm beside myself and as distant from fable as I am

from silence. That

is, I think I'm too ticklish by half and that the parts are catastrophic-

where

in the world had I been going? Cheek to cheek, sailing ahead to the bad

man's ball. Half awake. (Town's awake all day and I was out of town.)

Or bad air, or nothing in the free air between us, nothing

between us, no fabric or purpose. Or I was outside of myself,

the monster may have said; or, I was unreliable.

The stride we took was careless and full of mistakes-one's

part mistaken for the other's, typically-though the range

of interest was also a kind of passing. Camptown serves a comic purpose.

They let you out? How'll you appear again?

In smatterings or in any counting game-someone invisible,

me, someone else-or in just opening the window or pantomiming

such an act.

Aren't you getting ahead of yourself ? the monster may have asked.

Little story to the stride-to pacing-but the bigger figure's just part

of the terrain. Seeing is embarrassment. On stalking legs I would go

and, sullen as the night is articulated, slap silly

those abroad. …

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