Watch out for the failures,
the middle managers laughed out of artschool, sitting sulky and cross-legged
under the treesof their ambition. It has to go somewhere,
like storm runoff washes over pesticidalfields to find a river. Neither
Manson nor Hinckley could write a hookto save their lives or maybe we would have a few
more Californians and Reagan wouldn’t besuch a boring hero. They say everyone
wants to be an artist. Not me.I want to be debonair.
I want to rise on a throne of fireand lash the cities with my seven arms,
so even the rich will have to pay attention.Seung-Hui Cho
signed his stories with a question mark.He wanted to be Jesus
and burn down the school where we learnall this crap. Once, Hadley left a suitcase
of Hemingway’s manuscripts on a train.Now there’s a story. Just thinking about it makes me nervous,
like watching video of the Dalai Lama brushing awaya huge mandala of colored sand, pouring it back
into nonexistence. Too bad we can’t all be so cavalier.Cho had locks, chains, hollow
points made to bloom in the brainof Liviu Librescu who survived the Focşani ghetto
so he could die bracing a door.Better scope out the exits. Better sit with your back
against the wall. Keep an eye on the nervous types, silenttypes, guys in bulky jackets. Better check beneath your seat
for a suitcase full of stories, a backpack full of nails.Better bow down to the body.
Copyright © 2018 by Mark Neely
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission
Begun by Donald Barthelme and Phillip Lopate, Gulf Coast is the nationally-distributed journal housed within the University of Houston’s English Department.
Gulf Coast is still student-run. We seek to promote and publish quality literature in our local and national communities while simultaneously teaching excellence in literary publishing to graduate and undergraduate students. While we are committed to providing a balanced combination of literary approaches and voices, all of the editorial positions are two-year terms, thus ensuring a regular turnover in the specific personality and style of the journal.