Not to Half-Ass It
The demands of not | half-assing this one thing are more | stringent than simply half-assing 99% of all | the other things The price tag not to half- | ass it is near unbearable The price tag | not to half-ass it is objectively | unreasonable What's a “reasonable” demand | to ask of oneself? When you compare the amount | to other amounts When you make a mortal | ratio of numbers The economics | are not on a human scale The extremity | of it means in a way we've reached | the terminal point of a perception of how | things are supposed to play out The | disowned theory of mimicry Drive to efface | the distinction between self and | environment “Instinct of renunciation” Because if | you were “smart” the whole way | being shuttled along this tunnel being | crammed down this excruciating tunnel | you were looking for a janitorial doorway | leading elsewhere leading to a room | with a party piñata and people half-assing | the beating down of some representational animal | stubbornly metaphorical animal | to achieve a low-quality leak of generic | drugstore candy—
_________________ Oni Buchanan
Review by Dennis Hinrichsen
“Not to Half-Ass It” is a much more fractured ride than the previous poem. I enjoy where it ends up—I think the poem finds its formal groove in these last five couplets. However, I’m not quite sure how to read—rather hear—how the opening movements are hanging together. I am a big fan of finding new ways to punctuate and guide the reader’s eye and ear, but I need more help on this one to understand how the formal gesture of half-assing the poem with half-lines and graphic punctuation is working with syntax and content. Not sure yet what is gained by this. But I’m intrigued. Perhaps I need to John Cage this one and prepare my ear (and eye and mind) differently. Will work on that.