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A Spoken Map

 

 

Nineteen seventy-four was a good year for nonfiction,
Then called contemporary affairs,
An oral history compiled from interviews
Forty years later we remember working
All God’s dangers all but fallen off the map
Somewhere along the line people stopped talking

Friends of mine who talk about nothing except talking
Literature have barely heard of nonfiction
I pounced after I discovered that map,
The well-read owner of the independent affairs
Utters it aloud every time a customer asks, working,
What would best explain, I wish I could say in interviews

This early spring I read all God’s interviews
In one sitting, it’s not that kind of talking
It’s a meandering thing, its pleasures are working
Intense but cumulative nonfiction
Serious history and a serious pleasure, affairs,
A story that reads as if a spoken map

Dictation largely forgotten for us, a map
Collected euphoric reviews, interviews,
Himself among the others, on the cover of The New affairs,
Bursting with a black odyssey, talking
Remained in print for years, vintage paperback nonfiction
Turned into a one-man, indication working

Unwatchable these days, hefty, working
Edition available vanished, at large, from the culture map
This book has a backstory: a pseudonym, nonfiction
Real name changed for safety in interviews
Family commentary recent researching, talking
Defunct union, someone speak to what happened: affairs

Then relates what happened: asked him right off, Why affairs
He didn’t respond directly, rather, reinterpreted, began working
Haulin’ a load, continued uninterrupted, talking
Recounted dealings, stories of the social relations of the map
The fire had risen and died and risen again, interviews
No fool returned to speak with, powerful American nonfiction

 

 

 

 

“SESTINA

This will be one of your most challenging Oulipost prompts! A sestina is a poetic form of six six-line stanzas. The end-words of the lines of each stanza repeat those of the first, but in a differing order that in each successive stanza follows the permutation: 615243. The entire sequence of end words is thus: 123456; 615243; 364125; 532614; 451362; 246531. All words and phrases must be sourced from your newspaper text.” -from The OULIPOST Handbook

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