Black Lawrence Press
April 11, 2015

National Poetry Month Spotlight: Marc McKee

Welcome to National Poetry Month, 2015! We’re celebrating all month long. Each day we will bring you a poem we love–a selection from one of our published or forthcoming collections. In turn, the featured poets will introduce poems they love. Happy April!

Today’s featured poet is Marc McKee, author of Fuse and Bewilderness.

 

BewildernessAlternative History Club

In those days, we never knew.
Restless heat charged through
the pores of the air,
real and unreal butcher knives out
and lawyers everywhere
and report cards everywhere
like blunt scalpels.  We called us
exhilarators and exhilaratrices
when the power to produce lift-off
warranted.  The rest we reduced
to play-by-play personnel
or colorless commentators.
Envy was the infallible guide
but moonlighted as a weakness
beneath us.  What wasn’t
beneath us in those days?
Then, more words were known.
They went on at length
while we listened, shivering in the glow
while they cut swaths enough
in the apparent to make us blush,
as if from the heat of overheard prayers
as dawn turned from deep dark
to embarrassed day, sparks arrayed
on the walkway like wedding rice.
Realities grew around us like stalks of corn
while we bent to jugs.  The dial
grew ashamed of its static.
When I came to this world
it meant something different—now
all the celebrators are shaven from view,
preparing their instruments to combat
a staggering metastasis.  We were going
to the heart of the great satire, plucking
the twined bindings into music.
We lay pincered and snagged
in the squirreled oeuvre, found wanting
in vignettes that cared little for the likes of us.
The score was great and terrible.
We almost loved everything.

 

 

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Marc has chosen to introduce this work by Thomas Kane.

He says:  In early 2014, my friend Thomas Kane asked me for help recording him reading some of his poems for the online journal of culture and literature Better. I’d read some of these poems before, and heard some of them, often as we were walking to or from our favorite bar in Columbia, MO. It wasn’t till I helped him out and then saw and enjoyed these poems on the Better website that I realized with some chagrin–emphasis on the grin–that I wish I’d recorded/filmed all the poems he’d recited me over the last few years. These in particular I like for their intrepid gumption in taking on what can often be a banal form: the online, internet-sourced question and answer practice on search engines like Yahoo! Answers and the like. Recognizing that the questions can be answered in virtually any way, he turns the answers into poems that hew something tender and strange and utterly realized from the basic elements of the question. Check out more of them on Sixth Finch and Interrupture.

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BLP-NaPoMoa15_McKeeAuthorMarc McKee is the author of What Apocalypse?, which won the New Michigan Press/DIAGRAM 2008 Chapbook Contest, Fuse (Black Lawrence Press, 2011), and Bewilderness (Black Lawrence Press, 2014). His work has appeared in journals such as Barn Owl Review, Boston Review, Cimarron Review, Conduit, Crazyhorse, DIAGRAM, Forklift, Ohio, LIT, and Pleiades, among others. He teaches at the University of Missouri at Columbia, where he lives with his wife, Camellia Cosgray.

 

 

 

 

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