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as counterpoint to this compressed mass a longing by Jaydn DeWald


The functional and nonfunctional collide in Jaydn DeWald’s as counterpoint to this compressed mass a longing—a series of prose poems disguised as operating instructions, product descriptions, fine print, the “traffic of a dead world” (Devin Johnston). Merging felt experience and ubiquitous nonpersonal “writing,” these 21 untitled text boxes charge our commerce-driven, art-averse language with music, memories, personalities, and loss.



Sample poem from as counterpoint to this compressed mass a longing

Turn around. Today’s your turn in the barrel. Turning toward the sea, the actress felt a vast chamber throw its windows open inside her—an extraordinary turn of events. Like bumbling into this turn-of-the-century Italian dresser with tortoise carvings. His parents would be turning in their separate graves. Now let us turn to the artist’s early sketches: dumpy factory towns, nude boys looking drugged and frightened. Farcically she turns her empty pockets out, releasing an odor of vinegarish flowers. Turned the entire seven-year plan on its head. As we watch, our son half turns back, gripping his little orange cardboard suitcase, then disappears through the crowded gate. What, dost thou turn away and hide thy face? His heart turned to stone floating in deep space. Water turning to hair turning to fire turning to skin. Give us a turn, will you? Return to the bleached-walled kitchen in which I can still hear my mother (who will die before the leaves turn) scatting over her clumsy darningwork. No turns—children playing. How many times must I tell you to turn that down? At the turn of the path, one may receive a sudden, mist-shrouded vision of the mountains. The worm has definitely turned for you, man. The audience turned to the back of the theater, the usherettes casting flashlights over the darkened seats. The old Vietnamese poet turning on tiptoe at the end of the pier, swinging his deer-hide scarf. You can turn everything upside down (a wineglass, a small porcelain toad) but you won’t find anything. Years have passed since he first turned her face to the sunlight, on the white page.

 

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