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only I were a painter, I could render this scene. Of course, I still could, I suppose, if I used the gray version of the technique that resulted in the masterwork “White Cow in a Snowy Field During a Blizzard.” The surrealists would have loved it—how often I wish I was with them as they were in the 1920’s, sitting in cafes discussing art, playing their little “exquisite corpse” parlor tricks, or indulging in their favorite pastime, a game called “Let’s read De Sade, Put Studded Dog Collars on the Babes, and Whip Them with Leather Thongs.” Man Ray, I feel, would have been someone with the potential of truly understanding me. Still, I can dream, and reveries like this only serve to stiffen my resolve in pursuing my private quest—to make Seattle my own personal Paris of the soul. **************************

For You

Yuliya Helgesen-Thompson

David Fewster

The Poetry Slam From the Diary of Nanette Jenkins As Expurgated by David Fewster DECEMBER 1993 Re-reading Quiet Days in Clichy this afternoon in my studio, where Henry Miller rhapsodizes about the multitudinous variations of gray to be found in Paris. What a kinship I feel with him! Looking out the window with new eyes, I see the many grays of my own city; the contrasting hues of bird lime congealing on the cobblestones in an early December drizzle, or the complimentary tableaux of a bearded old wino in a tweed sports coat too small for him passed out under a newly painted park bench, the only spark of color added to the gray universe being the maroon trickle that leads from a spilled bottle of Night Train to a rain puddle where it mixes with the mud and forms yet another shade of gray, this one perhaps the most nauseating of all. O, if

Showed up this evening at the Emerald Diner on lower Queen Anne, the home of the much-vaunted Seattle Slam. The restaurant, which sports a vaguely 50’s style motif, is adjoined by a dive bar where the performers read on a small platform in the corner under a TV tuned to ESPN with the sound off, no doubt a concession to keep the regular patrons from rioting. The Slam is the brainchild of Saul Grandiose, an eyepatch-wearing egomaniac transplant from Chicago with a Bertolt Brecht complex whose apparent mission in life is to bring the heavy-handed Germanic literary stylings of his sausage-eating hometown to our land of lattes and wheat grass juice. In his capacity of Master of Ceremonies, he even attempts to lead a sing-a-long on his Weill-influenced composition “Boneyard of the Damned” (chorus: “And we’re all just wormshit in the end”) while accompanying himself on an accordion. Jesus, what a cornball. The rules of this “slam” thing are quite simple. The poets sign up for the competition, and are randomly paired off against each other. Three impartial judges (i.e., those who can convincingly lie that they are unfamiliar with any of the contestants) are chosen from the audience to score the performers, using a 1-10 system. The rounds continue until there is a winner, who receives $25, and invitation to a “Grand Slam” competition at a later date, and, if they are very lucky, an opportunity to see what might be under Saul’s eyepatch. I was signed up in the last slot, number 7, having arrived late because of problems in choosing my wardrobe. I had initially wanted to go with a Dadaist ensemble, wearing a black velvet evening gown covered

Cirque, Vol. 7 No. 1  

A Literary Journal for the North Pacific Rim

Cirque, Vol. 7 No. 1  

A Literary Journal for the North Pacific Rim