Sturgeon’s Famous Ninety

I came down to the basement shortly before midnight and resolved to write a prose poem, or a song, or a poem-poem, or prose that sounded like them all at once. But the rhythm wouldn’t come, wouldn’t come, and wouldn’t come some more.

I turned the page and started over, trying not to rhyme, just trying to leap into the air and catch a current that would lift me higher — and suddenly I yawned. Was I too tired to do this? Should I let go and just dream the time away? Surely while I sleep the words will gather into a silken sweet explosion that will greet me with the dawn. Surely adventures will jump into my brain to be released with a gentle bang — and how did that phrase unleash memories of soft lovemaking in a time forgotten until now?

That’s how it happens, though: A phrase, an aroma, a burst of light, a familiar face in an old photo, and off we go to fond old times and sweet images detached from whatever baggage they carried at the time. Barbra sang about the good times being what we remember whenever we remember, and for that moment she was right and pure and perfect.

I turned the page again and faced a page — a congressional aide, that kind of page — but then it turned to fairy dust and congress of a medieval sort, and we sorted it then in sordid fashion, for if truth be told all politics is sordid. (My internal editor was tempted to write “most,” but let’s be blunt, the proper word is “all.”)

But enough sordidity — sordidness? sordilogy? That which is sordid needs to have its own noun. Oh, how dreary, spending words on words about words. This is a prose poem? Utter nonsense is what it is, and who would read such drivel (with apologies to you, who are reading this)?

I am the 90 percent, Sturgeon’s Famous Ninety, and proud of it. I cast this composition into the world, proclaiming it crap and daring you to suggest otherwise. The long, vain quest to capture the Ten Percent trundles ever onward. 

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