Applying for category of: NON-FICTION (am applying for all three)
Name: Susan Swan
Location: Huntington, WV
Favorites: Teaching, reading, writing, sleeping, movies
Author: Clive Barker
Poet: Dylan Thomas
Journalist: Hunter S. Thompson
Book: Canticle for Liebowitz
Poem: "THE FORCE THAT THROUGH THE GREEN FUSE DRIVES THE FLOWER" see here: http://www.bigeye.com/theforce.htm
Topic of conversation: movies, movies, and more movies
War: It sucks and I'm against the whole Iraq debacle
Sex: Yummmm, with anyone.
Drugs: Personally, only into narcs. Others stuff: not for me, but you -- go for it.
Music: Like it all, but love metal, love folk, love Mozart.
Application: OK let me explain why I am trying out for all three communities. I wrote these as poems which were also creative nonfiction. All of them are inspired by real events -- loosely, sometimes, but definitely -- the essays/poetry were inspired by real events. Unfortunately, in most cases. They are all comedic -- that is my main genre. Also, these are all performance pieces. That is, they are memorized and I perform them on a stage for an audience. Sometimes, but NOT ALWAYS (and not for a long, long time) at poetry slams. I'm intensely interested in delivery of creative writing. I teach my own students to deliver their writing out loud, performatively. Anyway, critique away. Being harsh does not bother me a bit.
1. Pat Sajack
If I were Pat Sajack, I’d kill myself. His job is anti-constitutional. It goes against the law prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment.
I mean, think of it. Every day he has to say the same thing, over and over and over and over again, talking to inane boring people about their inane boring families and their stupid bourgeois jobs. Nothing of substance! Nothing of anything!
Even fucking Vanna’s job is better. At least she can Walter Mitty herself into a kinder, gentler world as she claps and touches the screen, touches the screen and claps. But not Pat. Woe is Pat.
I imagine that one day Pat will lose it, go totally psycho. I can hardly wait: Pat will be at work, standing by the Wheel, talking to three dumbass people: Bruce, Jeanine, and Carole. Maybe it will be “mother and daughter day,” maybe it won’t. Doesn’t really matter.
Somewhere in between the recognition of the “three beautiful children,” the “job at a major pharmaceutical company,” and the inevitable tragedy of hitting “bankruptcy” on the wheel, Pat will begin to slip. Reality will jump and falter. The wheel will become evil, directing his activities in violent and socially unacceptable ways.
Jeanine, with scary permed hair and a gingham top from Fashion Bug, will be screaming “Big Money! Big Money!” She’ll land on a pathetic $350 slot, and make the biggest mistake of her life: she’ll say: “Yeah, Pat, I’d like to buy a vowel. I’d like to buy a T.”
The wheel will wink knowingly and malevolently at Pat. This is Pat’s cue. Nothing is holding him back now. It isn’t his fault, really. How stupid do you have to be to think T is a vowel? The bitch deserves what she’s got coming.
Pat’ll say: “What was that? Did you ask to buy a T you stupid whore? Did you?” And before the lady even realizes the trouble she’s in, Pat’ll be on her ass.
PUNCH! “You stupid fucking housewife bitch! Don’t you know that this is all meaningless? Don’t you know that you are killing me? Every day, with your meaningless jumping up and down, with the lemming-like crowd cheering so that you can win a pathetic 2,000 dollars? You are killing me!” PUNCH! PUNCH! KICK!
What did you say Vanna! You wanna piece of me? You really wanna go there? You know Merv Griffin always liked you best, with your fake tits and polyester QVC dresses. Fuck you Vanna, and say hello to my little friend: POW. Take that audience! POW! Take that Charlie the announcer. POW!
“You missed me, Pat.”
So, uh, Bruce, it is your turn next. Why don’t you give that wheel a spin. We’re on a “same name” puzzle, those are my favorites. Take a spin!
And you know what? Bruce will spin. He’ll yell Big Money. And the world will keep on spinning with him.
If farting were an Olympic sport, my father would win the Gold Medal.
For my dad, farting is an art. He farts, therefore he is.
Normally, I wouldn’t talk about so private an issue as my father’s flatulence, but he has told me one too many times that I’m full of “liberal bullshit,” so here’s payback, pappy!
First, my father saves his farts like Silas Marner saved his gold. While you and I might suppress gas for reasons of politesse, he suppresses to achieve maximum future effect. He hoooooolds them in. His stomach: very large, very round, very firm like the hide of a curved bass drum, is the perfect laboratory for the manufacturing of faultless farts. They germinate in there, bounding and ricocheting off the contours and polyps of his large intestines, making a go for his sphincter, and repulsed, heading back to deeper darker quarters, getting together with the other entrapped farts to think about committing a bit of the old ultraviolence.
Viddy well, o my brothers, viddy well.
Asshole control is the key, so my father will not release his fart until the perfect moment. For example, if my family is eating Thanksgiving dinner, and my senile and deaf Grandpa is saying one of his long and winding graces, my father waits until the perfect moment, somewhere in between “oh we thank you Mary for this beautiful creamed corn” and“bless you Jesus we just love you so much and you are our friend.”
Then it happens. The perfect sphinctal pressure is achieved: a kind of intestinal equilibrium. Too little pressure, the fart will not be long enough. Too much pressure, the release will be uncontrolled and therefore not as beautiful.
In that interminable moment while we are enduring Grandpa’s grace, my father smiles, and scoots over to one side.
That’s only the beginning; you see, a good fart, much like a good belch, must be controlled. The butthole in this case is much like a wind instrument, to be handled with finesse, mastered only after decades of practice.
We are all too shocked to even be grossed out. You think we’d learn by now, but it is a revelation every time he cuts a long juicy one.
Oh, my dad rocks his ample ass back and forth on the thick plastic 1960’s kitchen chair as we pass around the candied yams. His goal is to achieve maximum vibratory capacity: a symphony between his butt cheeks, the rapid pulsation of the sphincter itself, and the thwopping of his ass upon the slightly sweaty plastic of the chair.
Faaaart Faaaart Squeak.
We are dumbfounded. We are silent. We are in awe; truly, have we not just witnessed something godlike in its artfulness, in the execution of the exquisite sounds that a body can make as it rids itself of excess air? We are too moved to speak.
But my dad, he speaks.
3. The White Trash Last Will and Testament
My Uncle Mike died during a hunting trip in Arkansas.
His heart exploded when he tried to heft a 700 pound elk up a steep Ozark hill.
Mike was born and bred in the boondocks,
Swam in a crick called Two Rocks,
Beat the shit out of anything that moved,
Fucked the shit out of anything with boobs,
and drank Jack Daniel’s Black Label for breakfast, lunch,
and if he hadn’t passed out yet . . . dinner!
Here’s what happened when Uncle Mike died:
All the relatives drove their el Caminos to Mike’s doublewide.
They were looking for a will.
There was no will.
Mike was too busy drinking, fucking and shooting thangs to make a will.
Here’s what there was:
1 great big Mason jar full of change: 500 pennies, 72 dimes, 64 nickels, and 4 slightly sticky quarters.
4 mounted elk heads, 2 mounted deer heads, and the crown jewel of taxidermy: a slightly ratty bear skin rug.
Above the mantle, there were 3 guns: 1 pistol, 1 sawed off shotgun, and 1 highly illegal semiautomatic weapon with a “Let’s Roll!” sticker on the barrel.
The pantry contained 32 cans of Spam and 12 cases of Miller High Life.
The relatives arrived.
Nephew Rodney, being smart, quickly assessed the situation and left the trailer: his pockets bulging with change from the Mason Jar. He charitably gave his sister Eunice the empty jar to use for puttin’ up elderberry jelly.
Mike’s brothers Bob and Jimbo argued over the deer, elk, and bear wile drinking dead Mike’s beer, until they began punching each other: blood and teeth were flying, the cops were called, paroles were revoked, and a long-lost bastard love child named Skeeter quietly left with all the taxidermy.
Nephew Rodney, seeing his chance, stole the semiautomatic and peeled out with enough change to keep him gassed up to his mobile home in Oklahomie. Unfortunately, the fuzz pulled him over five miles down the road, and Rodney is doing hard time for having an unregistered loaded semiautomatic gun (from Iraq) sitting on his passenger seat.
Then only Eunice remained. Eunice loved her Uncle Mike. She remembered sitting on his lap and fishing off a splintery pier when she was a little child no one else really liked. Standing in front of the ruin of Mike’s trailer, Eunice closed her eyes and remembered rubbing her small soft cheek against his whiskery Old Spice chin, and she nearly swooned with grief. She carried the SPAM out of the trailer, placing the cans gently in the passenger seat of her pale pink el Camino.
She found a container of lighter fluid and splashed it on the trailer. She lit a filterless camel and inhaled deeply, and she felt powerful. And as the flame from the match touched her yellowed fingers, she threw it, and the trailer exploded: just like Mike’s heart.
“Ashes to ashes, Uncle Mike,” she said. “I loved you.”