3.Avatar Review
     A Review of Poetry, Prose, and Art - Summer 2001

The Problem

by Clem Kilroy

The problem with a lot of poetry is Smokey's reverse rotation engine. You can narrow it even further—the non-smoking tire. Genius is childbirth. Our words are few. Everything is something else because we cannot acknowledge our agreement. We cannot see what the transit bus is. Everything in nature, including ourselves, is how water runs downhill. The Virgin Birth, of course, is Kerouac's “unspeakable wisdom of the individual.” If all my days are done, I'd say it this way, “You'll die trying.”

Poetry and science are the same thing, except poetry assumes we already know it. In the first turn at Indy, Stan's car broke in half, and it flew through the air. Most amazing is he had the presence of mind, with his steering wheel gone with the front half of his car, to wrap his fingers in the shoulder harness. Eddie said if Stan ever needed to land on him again, he was welcome. In other words, all the poetic lives. All. If you ever saw one of Sonny's Pro Mod cars launch, you'd understand Smokey's engine a lot better.

Mutants don't want to read what they are sure of; they want to read what they suspect. Only a few will read what will take their lives.

Out of pure fear, fundamentalists agree upon the most popular lie of the past. They cannot accept Unpredicatble Future. Sadder still, Smokey died this year. Stan was thrown through the windshield of his truck in a head-on collision on a desolate road in Australia—killed this year, not wearing a seatbelt.

Poets love words because it is a non-invasive environment. We are ill because the tiger is no longer in the bush. A reverse engine throws the crank in the opposite direction. Stan was always quick, even as he talked in front of you, he was planning several turns ahead. The thing is, quit whining, and write the poem that will stop war. Don't change the finish line.

Smokey's engine threw the crank in the direction of the inside wall. I owe my children the best upbringing, and a world in which they feel safe. What separates men and women today is lack of imagination. The tiger made us smell the air, listen to molecules landing on leaves, and see the world that thrives in shadow. The tiger made us our best, and took the rest.

Chris said it was the greatest race he ever saw, and he's over 70 and has been going to races every week, and watching a bunch on television every weekend. We are tumbleweed, blown by the wind. The big become football players. Good spellers become writers. Everybody lives as smog, until will. Smokey had Stan come to Florida to train him on a reverse rotation engine.

Poetry has absolutely nothing to do with what people say it is. Death comes to brand you, finally and forever, as defeated. I will tell my children I don't think this has to happen. It is hard to overcome the fundamentalists because there can rarely be an equally opposing solidarity about the future. The only thing that exists is that which is done on will alone. Those who do not participate in will are ghosts. A reverse rotation engine will bring you naturally into the corner.

If Stan drove normal, he'd put her in the wall. We want art to threaten our lives. Women demand creativity from men, as much as men demand action. We want to be alert this second. Poets can't expect fans to understand how the race engine works. It's not about human history. All poetry is based upon what the transit bus was before we agreed it was a transit bus. The Irish Famine was not about lack of food, but politics. Profound Fun is rare for the same reason. Women and men get bored for different reasons.
Stan visited Smokey during Bike Week, because Stan had a world class bitchin Harley. My children hold me responsible for the world. Stan couldn't qualify because a goddamned oil pump kept the car overheating. But, he wouldn't give up the car. He'd have to qualify her in a heat race. I think poets ought to write the way Stan took Turn 1 at Indy. Poets would write immeasurably better if tigers read their poetry…or, there'd be a lot less poets. They race to put the tiger back in the bush.

Smokey's reverse rotation engine was the only one out there, and it won the race. Stan had started dead last. Coming out of Turn 4, you could see the smoke burning off Page's right rear tire. Stan had better tires at the end of the race. God bless you, Smoke. God bless you, Stan. A nation without poetry never means what it says. Simple. Poets: Win the race. Lust for a checkered flag. Page got hit in the head by a sprint car. Didn't kill him, but it hurt him pretty bad. If it takes a reverse rotation engine, poets have to write it. It's a poem when it becomes physical.

© Copyright 2004 Avatar Review.