Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Aimless Reading: The M's, Part 61.1 (Harryette Mullen)

S*PeRM**K*T by Michael_Kelleher
S*PeRM**K*T, a photo by Michael_Kelleher on Flickr.

Mullen, Haryette

Purchased at Talking Leaves…Books.

As much as I admire Harryette Mullen's poetry (this much, he says, spreading his arms as wide as possible), including the work in this book, I have to say that this is one of my least favorite book titles of all time.

Not out of any prudery or such, but because I don't think it works either as a comment or as a joke, it feels like a forced discovery, especially given that there is no "I" in "Supermarket." (Hey, now there's a book title: "There's No "I" in Supermarket!") If there were an I, I still don't think it would be a very good joke, but at least the Scrabble lover in me would be satisfied that the word discovered was in fact buried in the original.

I suppose you could argue that I am over-interpreting the material and that the title is actually S/Perm/K/T. Well, okay, but what the hell does that mean? I don't take any pleasure in the game of determining what the title of the book is in this instance.


I love to be challenged by the complexity, ambiguity and difficulty of language. It is why I read and write. But I also want a little better payoff for the work I am doing and I don't feel the title of this book gives it to me.

"Supermarket" would have been a great title.

from S*PeRM**K*T

Lines assemble gutter and margin. Outside and in, they straighten a place. Organize a stand. Shelve space. Square footage. Align your list or listlessness. Pushing oddly evening aisle catches the tail of an eye. Displays the cherished share. Individually wrapped singles, frozen divorced compartments, six-pack widows express themselves while women wait in family ways, all bulging baskets, squirming young. More in line incites the eyes. Bold names label familiar type faces. Her hand scanning throwaway lines.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

if the guy lived in south florida, miami, he coulda added "grocery cart cowboys running you over or bumping your ass..."

simplicity can say more than description, like I was listening, watching to "O Superman" off youtube recently:
O Superman
O Judge
O Mom and Dad

the title reminds me of sigil magick practiced by thee temple of psychic youth, among others