Monday, November 28, 2011

I Am This Dream's Dog

King Shit & The Golden Boys. I surrender, I don't know why it took till now, but Guided by Voices (all Pollard projects) is now officially the third permanent member of my Sillyass Desert Island Five, leaving only two rotating spots. Be in your head:


Lynn Emanuel
Even the butter's a block of sleazy light. I see that first,
as though I am a dreary guest come to a dreary supper.
On her table, its scrubbed deal trim and lonely as a cot,
is food for one, and everything we've ever hated: a plate of pallid
grays and whites is succotash and chops are those dark shapes glaring up at us.
Are you going to eat this? I want to ask; she's at the stove dishing up,
wearing that apron black and stiff as burned bacon, reserved for maids and waitresses.
The dream tells us: She is still a servant. Even here.
So she has to clean our plate. It's horrible to watch.
She pokes the bits of stuff into her mouth. The roll's glued shut like a little box
with all that sticky butter. Is this all living gets you? The room, a gun stuck in your back?
Don't move, It says. She's at the bureau lining up bobby pins.
Worried and fed up I wander to the window
with its strict bang of blind. My eyes fidget and scratch.
And then I see myself: I am this dream's dog. I want out.


  1. Kleptocracy and You should be a t-shirt. I'd pay five bucks for one, so I guess I have to wait until next Black Friday for it to be marked down.

  2. If nothing else, it will eventually be a Robert Pollard song.

  3. You'll have to wait in line all night too, R.G.

    Bring your pepper spray.

  4. Of course. I couldn't quite remember for sure, but I have to admit that hers was the only name that came to mind!

  5. Do eyes scratch?

    I read Elkin as defining a macguffin as an important neurological event (like a dream) (and not just for writers), a narrative and rhetorical mechanism by which we devise and persuade ourselves to enact our own hoping and daring. But did or didn’t you find it unusual that he so favors experience—chance meetings, coincidence, serendipity, how experience is ordered, what comes first, second, next, never—but Druff reads little or not at all? In the whole novel I can only remember Druff reading the taxi “driver’s” name, though he often enough refers to his office's blue brochures. Did you address that in your thesis, by any chance? Or what do you make of it now? Leaving out words for the most part seems an important and deliberate omission. Why not use written words as markers or propellents inside the macguffin? It seems so, well, unwriterly to make such a careful distinction between experience and reading. Wherefore?

  6. Let me let Druff respond:

    "I tell you, Miss Glorio, there are drifts and tendencies and pronenesses. There's kinks and fixations, bent and bias. There's yens and itches. And if the lion ever does lie down with the lamb, or the goat with the otter, it's dollars to doughnuts they're dreaming of Jeannie with the light brown hair, too. Because love has to be exonerated, the extenuating circumstances taken into account, the forgives and forgets."

    "I love it when you talk gabardine. It fetches, me, it really does. It's a shame you can't fuck," Meg Glorio told him.

    "There you go again," said Druff.


    Well, that's cheating, yes? As for the thesis, I haven't looked at it in ten years and surely would disagree with what I wasn't embarrassed by.

    As for macguffins, serendipity yes, and I can't help reading anything serendipitous in late Elkin in light of his health in general and MS in particular. What good did reading signs do Eddy Bale's children?

    But yes, Druff is one of the most bluntly and forwardly propelled characters I've ever met (though I confess, MacGuffin wasn't one of my favorites, though it by no means sucks).

    Which doesn't answer your questions, probably, I'm afraid.