This is a picture of the novelist and poet Jack Remick who I ran into while doing a reading at Jack Straw Productions this last summer. Jack is currently working on the last two volumes of The California Quartet. In November he will release Gabriela and The Widow. Jack said he is trying some writing projects he’s never done before. He is working a trilogy of plays dealing with characters who don’t have any language other than growls, grunts, and screeches. He notes his debt to Samual Beckett and all those people whose brains are devoured by some kind of dementia. “There are so many kinds,” Jack noted.
Jack was kind enough to send along a poem (below).
by Jack Remick
The lost mother-sister-muse cut me to drift,
pitched me scarred babe mouth agape
into the word stream
I howled the verbal umbilicus
rapids rocked me I floated, Moses
into reed calmed water, fished with barbs
for mercy, snagged out blood-fang misery
dripping with fraudulent flashiness
or the tawdry prurience of novels.
I crawled at the altar of mystification.
The Ministry of Encantation blinded me
to paradise in sound lost
to wordsmiths toying with sleeping dragons.
I found a master. I learned to speak
clicks and uvular utterances, tones
and poems of agglutination
I became Shaper of the Unheard
Hungry I pry the Pearl from its shell
eat the oyster raw
I gouge light out of nothing
I knife-walk the edge,
I trip on a grain of sand
before I learn to weave torn wood
with fingers of torn hands.
I hope that I mean more than
—skin and bone and meat and sweat
—I sense a vague design
—I sense Revelation at hand
—words stick fish-bone
deep in my bleeding throat
and like a lame-tongued priest
I cannot Plainspeak the crackling mystery
wiggling wormlike in the word stream.
One day I see her curled in stone,
her finger touches me.
Fire. She speaks. Fire and rock.
The painted interior opens for one second,
I see it all. Then, it eludes me.
She speaks—Poet dazzled giddy peacock in sun
conceit decants your quest into cant
decants in-sight into cliché that you,
you wait for the truth to become babble for babble
to become lie
turn away, lose yourself, do not kneel.
She speaks—Use hammer and chisel and sledge
to nail down the eely oily unsaid.
One generations poetry the next cant grasp
cant grasp how One begets light from the birth maw.
Thorned tongue enthroned, she dives into the rock.
Light eludes me. I drift again in reeds
lost in the dark dream.