Academic journal article Chicago Review


Academic journal article Chicago Review


Article excerpt

Somewhere for anyone to happen on,

unheard, unreferenced, on master tape,

my outtakes, the edges of completion,

still survive as leftovers from a cleaned-up

final version. They have been filed away

for someone killing time in an archive

to stumble across while his fiance

collects her coat and pay cheque and clocks off:

my nervous coughing; a few pat words

of instruction; the dry-run that amounts

to attempting "Baa Baa Black Sheep" backwards;

fingers drubbing; some seating adjustments;

the technical hitch purring like a fridge

in the wee hours; an entry off cue;

a pitcher of tap water clinked; the bridge

of "Norwegian Wood" lilted out of key;

a gag about old dentures which falls flat

after tripping on grasps, slurring the same

diphthong twice; groaned from the editing suite

"And from the top again, in your own time";

a pause to wangle a cut for the news;

the reel let run through apologetic

yawns and ill judged ad fibs and the tannoy's

pointers on pronunciation; static

like rain on a skylight; a clearing throat;

the suggestion of five to download

three seconds of wind through a field of wheat

or footsteps nearing on an asphalt road;

blowing on coffee with neither sugar

nor milk; a last pre-emptory sniffle

within range; the odd expletive on air;

a hangover's residual crackle

swept beneath the first riffs of a fugue;

requests for a breather and a script re-think;

stammering on flashbacks of last night's fug;

a Swatch bleating six; mid-sentence, a blank

or fluff or coming too close to the mike

at the thought of underthings on a floor;

a door sighing shut; my mumbling junk like

"I'm not sure I can do this anymore. …

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