Joel Chace

from Initials


His wife enters the restaurant and seats herself just behind

and to the side of Stanley and his hefty male companion.

If not poor, I might have heard the fifty-drachma course.

The Human Mop. Syntax swims up from the seabed of

the soul. “‘The Bottom’s Fallen Out Of Everything But You.’ Can

you imagine me singing that to Babe!” The Boys have stolen

the wife’s liquor bottle, taken it to The Rainbow Room, and

finished it off. They are holy demons upon the earth,

beneficent, averters of ills, guardians of mortal

“Yes, TV is wonderful, a part of our lives,

certainly a Godsend — so much happiness and pleasure

into the homes.” Then it is with the unstoppable laughter

of the gods that The Boys inform the wife they have killed

her booze. I have discovered a hive of wisdom. Well, rather

ridiculous, and yet plausible. If I am not careful,

before tomorrow’s dawn I shall be wiser than I

ought to be.
“While Babe was getting ready to take it,

I went into the saloon on the left. Was he mad when he

developed it and found out I wasn’t there.” Which

wasn’t booze at all, the wife tells them, but cold tea.


Right, center, left, Lenny shakes the microphone towards

his audience. “To fix its new music as it may — to adjust it to

the new connections.” The inventor of words, being

a patron of the flux, was a great enemy

to stagnation.
Who confuses a blessing with

masturbatory gestures? “l and r...are giant

consonants, expressive of unquestionable

and unequivocal power; and sh...suggests moist

confusion.” A name expresses the true nature of a thing,

and is the invention not of a musician nor of

a painter, but of a namer.
It’s like, here is

the performer “in substance” — aka a peace officer

repeating the comedy before a Grand Jury.

“He judges not as the judge judges but as the sun falling

around a helpless thing.” That Truth herself may not say to us,

‘Too late.’
So, the irony: the performer’s the one busted

and has to go to court to defend his own act.

“There’s a huge difference between a big piece of art

with a little shit in the middle and a big piece of shit

with a little art in the middle.” But you must

remember that all language is in process of change.

Joel Chace has published work in print and electronic magazines such as The Tip of the Knife, Counterexample Poetics, OR, Country Music, Infinity's Kitchen, and Jacket. Most recent collections include Sharpsburg, from Cy Gist Press, Blake's Tree, from Blue & Yellow Dog Press, Whole Cloth, from Avantacular Press, Red Power, from Quarter After Press, Kansoz, from Knives, Forks, and Spoons Press, and Web Too, from Tonerworks.
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