Not to Half-Ass It, Oni Buchanan

Laurie Doctor, Come Further In, Oil and Mixed Media on Wood, 13″ X 24″



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, Im 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.

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