A N N E X    P R E S S    2 0 1 5 

TOM MANDEL        FROM     LETTER TO POETRY    FOLLOWED BY REPLIES

A Monument Obscures the Scene of the Crime



i.
Time being a mixed bag
of short rations, any day
long enough outlasts its night.


Rectangle #1 displays a suspect in our case; like the victim she is dead, or perhaps one should say ‘therefore,’ or if holding her breath, & that after only a few moments to prepare, perhaps unsatisfactorily, even briefly, so that too little time may pass for a camera to capture the effort it costs, we grant nonetheless – not with reluctance but enthusiastically – primacy to illusion, along which vector rectangle #1 is likely to propel us.

 

ii.
To stymie its pattern
hold your palm up to time


“Our proposed 60 second spot depicts an awkward individual, male, emerging from under a rock (his home as will be made obvious by shot details) to save up to 25%. The intention to amuse, also to convince, though perhaps not on its own but in combination with a soon-to-be-aired spot in which we are seated at the side of a woman, fur at her throat, eyes closed, not at all ill at ease, as she drives a well- known but pointless, roundabout route (to include a number of turns, both left & right) to the unnamed town’s train station, our elite audience may be expected to grasp. Arrived at the station she greets the advance party. As if by chance, but this is anything but coincidental, they are 40 & 8 in number, like the Preludes &Fugues of Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier, which simultaneously we hear on the soundtrack.” (marginal note: but not the whole thing! Please clarify in next draft).



Wearily yet in anger, the video engineer rises from his workstation. In a practiced gesture he pulls from his head the circumaural Beyerdynamics studio cans that enable his day- long contemplations & judgements while reinforcing his possession of the power to render them. It is as if the entire soundscape of the piece exists around him & within it he exhibits improvisational ease & freedom playing not what comes next in the score but whatever he likes, so that each fall of finger onto keyboard unrolls tones intention won’t unravel.

 

I live to see depicted the noble, yet tragic (but inevitable) triumph of crow- madman over his neon dirt hall cousin-speciman with whom circumstance, or else chance (shaped in the final screenwriters’ plot conference), has forced a contest. A kind of bi-partisan diffidence, not an absence of desire but an intentional glance away from anything that might provoke desire, seems to be one effect of the salutary climate hereabouts. Let me say right away that for this thing we are prepared to provide an altogether different soundtrack, maybe something delicate that can absorb blood as well as shed it?


 


iii.
Up drives a black cadillac
it’s come to take me back

Where first I heard the tone
 of Zen inside a koan

The day you turned to stone
while counting out my loan

For payday’d come & gone
& left my debts undone.

You told me I alone
would be the one to own

The brand new stick-built home
you showed me on your phone

While wrenchmen on the dome
pried up the royal throne

The piece I meant to hone
proving I was no clone

He packed in styrofoam
which caused my down-home groan

That like an inside bone
Howling Wolf once bemoaned
 


iv.
While I stretched out in the back
Of that limo Cadillac

You took a pencil from my purse
& on the coffin in my hearse

Finished up this verse
Then what was even worse

After giving me this curse
You chatted up my nurse.



v.
The caddy stopped at the light
When I saw the driver I took fright.

He brought to mind an awful night
The night we spent together

A night that felt like leather.
That night I made my first mistake

I put my holster in the toaster
I tried to drown it in the lake.




vi.
From above, a camera mounted on our news break helicopter zooms in on the
SUV slowly, until the vehicle fills the frame. Almost entirely flipped over, it lays at a precarious angle on its partially collapsed roof, its twisted unibody splayed
from bottom left to top right of our screen above a bright red banner across which four word phrases in yellow move smoothly from right to left succeeding one another at a constant pace until their motion stops & we read: “Call This
Number Now.”