Paradise is Here: an unruly epic ode to PAMLA 2022 (click link for entire poem)
PAMLA= Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association — the Pacific regional MLA conference—a modest branch on quite a large tree.
This poem will be featured on their website soon.
Most of this is inspired directly by the panels and presentations I attended—some more populated than others. For example, scissors appeared three times: twice visually in presentations (once in a puppet show and once in a work of stop-motion animation); and once in a poem by Adrienne Rich.
If you didn’t follow my exact trajectory through the conference—which of course, no one did—not all of this may make sense. Or at least, it’s a series of inside jokes that make a lot of the oddness of this piece funny (or at least notable) rather than just—well, odd. (Did you see the little dog??!)
And then, there’s me in the mix, too. I probably needn’t blame the oddness on anything else.
“What is really beneath this professional, intellectual bearing?
Why, 3 witches, of course, assembled ’round
a cauldron and armed with scissors sharp held
ready to render the fate of oppression:
Death to the mundane! Death to capitalism
(unless you’re a grammarian, though in
that case I hope you don’t mind my spelling).
Begone injustice, faux-modernity
and Death to “the Man!” …who’s so much smaller
than we thought before—he lives like a mouse,
behind a little door. Long Live The King,
Creativity! …and his wayward mistress:
“So toil and trouble we double down
on our efforts to brew, polish, hone and
perfect our masterpieces—so many
seemingly disparate fragments drawn in
spirit together. We eagerly don
the carnival garb of jackets, ties, and
jeans to frolic in jubilation with
the ontologically absurd.
unwittingly drawn around the common
locus of a black “jewel bearing,” a
multi-clawed animatronic motion-
synthesizing spider. Her name: PAMLA,
the not so underground well-tended