Kristi Maxwell on "Plaisir Minus +/-"
How absolutely right of you, how appallingly right on at that time to say it—Fraud. I have finally worn out the shirt I wore out when you said it before—we were out of the car. A fraud again—I sold the shirt. Pit-withered or whether it is worn out, complacently, to a place, I cannot place it this way, my guessing sullied through the sale. That honor of the owner, to place the wearing in a where. The man you humored at the bar was my wife, married to my husband thought. You thought I had no husband. Chose not to implicate my husband in your calling—fraud.
Rather easily one can recall certain seats she sat in beside certain others (and certain others, a curtain de-certains a discerning). Who is what depends on direction—the director determining form and where from. From the stage (the actor cannot sieve a say, yet appeases the peevish spotlight with such gutted articulation), the first syllable in this instance of remembering is our sitting beside one another like stresses, or unstressed, but set off by the stress.
I won't to say I love you. I certainly won't—to say I love you—do anything with my mouth. I want to wind my mouth up to say. I didn't. My mouth wasn't wound. Wasn't wound. Bloodied with saying. Fraud! My mouth defended. Fender mouth that rammed yonder saying. Near the cow guards. The sheep grates. Near the bones that nary should have passed. Pasted up, the Great Mouth that passes through once a year—for which we will pay.
Which point has reached its boiling. At which point? Gyozas we stuffed with kimchi. I'd have it easier, recollection, recalling the you I knew if you were dead and thus outside my knowing. The now in my knowing. Dead recollection. Rather than this. Doing as we did. Did with the potential of do—because you're off somewhere, you-ing. How we pressed each satchel. Secure. Each edge depressed by our fingers. Impressed (with). After those entered our mouths. A recipe I look for—to make without. Without thinking about, but the taste.
If one maps her road trip. If one maps her road trip so cities are signified by chicken wings. If one wings it from city to city based on a survey of chicken wings. Based on which is best and which location this which is is in. That's it. Followed by another it. An it-ditty. Oh isn't it pretty, oh isn't it.
A highway lined with mattresses. Fraud!—you've caught me again. A median meditative as one mattress as thought-bubble shows. One point cannot make a line unless that point is line-shaped. Fat line a mattress makes. Or if that point is lined as with a sheet, though in this case, not. Naked mattress no one points out as. I think now we should have pointed to the mattress and pointedly said, Mattress, go get a room. Some sham! To have shamed it for falling. For slipping from the ropes we tied so tightly that others who looked at our tying said, Yes, that should do.
What a bunch of crap—brunch exchanged for a small thing. Yogurt-sized or actual. My frauding caught like something stationary. To talk through it. Concussion-through. Not a discarded roll toilet paper scrolled from to empty. Though this was empty. Little concussions of the heart that resulted in— not loss, not the golden floss memory shows off as. The sweater I've sewn from that day. Bah, bah little sheep, little wealth sheep that keeps our record in its teeth—our cud.
On "Plaisir Minus +/-"
When I was writing "Plaisir Minus +/-," I was thinking about meaning as a process of addition and subtraction—the isolation of a word that leads to a new fusion in a line or sentence or stanza. The way words are companions to each other. The way the word is companion to the mind. The way context infuses. Language as simultaneously remedy and refusal.
The title winks at Roland Barthes' The Pleasure of the Text, and I think of the words as rubbing on each other, the eroticism in that, and rubbing off on each other, a familial connection, e.g. moving from "certain" to "curtain" to "discerning." Or the way "based" recalls "basted" when paired with "chicken wings"—that which is below the surface. Language as a clot that breaks up into a poem. (We often hear about the "heart" of the poem and so I can't help but think of the poem's bloody flow, the act of circulation and recycling.)
The +/- in the title also nods to the symbols on batteries, to being charged (both alive and dynamic and accused—"Fraud!").
I'm drawn to the pun as mischief-maker and the poem as an attempt to tame that which, like a cat, will only ever be semi-domesticated. (When I see "plaisir," I also see, "play, sir." I see permission.) I hope, ultimately, to pay homage to an inherent wildness and to highlight the joy in composing, a joy I hope translates to reading.