'So I encourage you,' 'Accept your failure,' and 'Embrace the word whole.'

So I encourage you—bow eagerly to love. A soccer dad in black knee brace kicks his son in the leg, yelling something about a hammer. Ask if the perpetrator is much bigger than you are, if you're in a confined space when you confront someone who spews racism, think about instability and escape routes. Think before you love, CNN advises us. The author of The Cloud of Unknowing was anonymous. He advises me to bow, but I do not. I walk by the man in the Bulls shirt as his son's eyes fill with tears. A coach speaks to his team nearby, says he turned girls down because he didn't like their parents' attitudes. On my way back, I stop to tell him of the coincidence. The president tweets about fake news. As Williams writes, some men die for lack of the real stuff. Others see it, walking past. A young man with full beard is dead in Portland, along with an older man, the one who must have said, “You don't talk to girls that way.” His name was Best.


28 May 2017



Accept your failure . . . you'll discover that you melt like water. The dog darts to catch lizards on lava rock and I pull her back with my left hand. My student claims Language poets (contra manifesto) use the first person pronoun, but I suggest that it stands in for "put pronoun here." What the “I” does in poems, it does. It's a minor obstacle, but all too frequent. “It's nice outside” differs from “it's mine” as a state does from desire. What matter the agent, when there's an act to be performed? The point of her tail is white, the rest gray; half her head is gray, the other half brown. Rep. Steve King claims we can't save civilization with “other people's babies.” Mine are Asian-American. In Ashbery's poem, the pronoun “he” introduces some 40 lines of statements, as if “he” were manifold. One Trump supporter prays to a 6' cardboard cut-out of his hero each morning as he leaves the house. No one can pinpoint when this happened. They are hyphenated anti-Americans.


13 March 2017



Embrace the word whole. “Ze hole in ze text,” Herr Iser intoned, circa 1985. That's where we fall in like babies in a well, before we ascend into the headline, which rests at the top. Tails you find the bottom, where wisdom is before it kills you. Of course you think about suicide, he said, because you're trying to prevent it. I just added the “w” to make the pun complete; the hole had had a hole, albeit without a sound. Being of sound mind, I think out loud, muttering mantras on the plane (“we are experiencing turbulence, do not be worried,” said the Chinese voice, too often to prevent it). Can a canned voice console? Will our robots help us through our griefs, whether of beloved uncles or disappointing friends? Should we can our own words, like blood or peaches? The White House website advocated “peach” in the Middle East. I remember someone put a large leaf over the letters “im,” so that only “peach” turned its skin toward Kahekili traffic. The pun in German is with sex; the word whole is where we're headed.


23 March 2017



Susan M. Schultz

Susan M. Schultz has lived and taught in Hawai`i since 1990. She is the author and editor of several books of criticism, as well as prose poetic books, including two volumes of Dementia Blog (from Singing Horse Press) and several of Memory Cards. Her most recent books are Memory Cards: Thomas Traherne Series (Talisman), Memory Cards: Simone Weil Series (Equipage) and I Want to Write an Honest Sentence (Talisman). She is a life-long fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. Photo by Radhika Webster Schultz.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Monday, July 10, 2017 - 20:48