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Terence Winch — Two poems

My Work

In my work, at any given point,
the great issues of identity politics
and dialectical absolutism assume
a tight coherence, a profoundly
threatening total awareness
by which I seek to mediate
the conflict between meaning
and the extremes of deconstruction.

I never strike a false note
I believe in savvy artistic
incandescence as a constitutive
enhancement of racy sexuality,
all as a way to examine the
necessity of self-love.

It’s always dangerous to underestimate
my work. I insult the intellectual
dignity of the French. They arrive
in my brightly colored landscape
right after quitting time only to discover
an empty stage set in which all the clueless
actors have wandered off to an installation
of obsolete Marxist sloganeering.

Yeats was deeply immersed in mythology
and so am I. T. S. Eliot preferred Dante
to Shakespeare, but I don’t. Charles Bernstein
loves the way my sentences decompose.
John Ashbery will read my work only
while naked. Everything I do is the pure
output of brains, speed, and skill.

A couple of weeks ago, I digested
Aristotle. I found him to be electrifyingly
ahistorical, and he has now been subsumed
into my work. I have open-ended stratagems
when it comes to the Germans, particularly
Goethe and Kant. They live now in my
imagination. I go way beyond alienation
into a new synthesis of desire and content.

My work stands for something invisible,
something inner. I attempt to explain
the risk of appearing. Foucault would know
how well my work succeeds in revealing
the discourse between power and structure.
When you read my work, you may think
“simile” and “metaphor,” but what you really
get is the storm, the dark mansion, the servant
girl standing alone in Columbus Circle.

Triumph and loss permeate my work.
People should try to pick up on that.
My technical virtuosity is unrivaled.
Don’t talk to me about subject matter.
My work takes “narrative” and turns
it into whatever happened. In my work,
“story” becomes language contemplating
its own articulation in a field of gesture.

There is a higher reality at play in my work.
Sacred memories resonate with perceptual
knowledge of the body as primal text. Yet
my work is never subservient to the dominant
ideology. It circulates warmly and freely
through all variable channels. My work
is like the furniture you so much want to
sink into, but must wait as it wends its way
from distant points in a giant moving truck
screeching across the country
to your new home.

The Welsh People

— for Doug Lang


The Welsh People are waiting for me
in the Childe Harold. It is 1973. The Welsh People
have been drinking and playing Pac Man.


I go out carousing with the Welsh People.
They are all on strike because the authorities
want them to stop stealing books. It is two hours before
closing time and the Welsh People have already had 18 Irish Coffees.
They do not like the authorities. These are my Welsh People.
The Welsh People stop by with all the music of the 1940s
re-arranged Welsh-style onto hundreds of cassette tapes
and we listen all night amid the stolen books. We are
smoking a lot of cigarettes and dope with the Welsh People.
Welsh People like to make lists that have thousands
of items on them and that go back many years.
List-making is an ancient Welsh art, dating back
to Richard Burton, a Welsh person. Some of the other
Welsh People are called William, Anthony, Ivor, Allan,
Dylan, Bob, Tristam, Romney, Meredith, Lucky, Sluggo,
Gwynn, Gwyneth, Glenda, Lloyd, Llewellyn, Puff Daddy,
Becky, Andrea, Mary Ellen, Sandra, Cordelia, Calvin Lewis,
Anthony Hopkins, Tom Jones, Boom-Boom, Rocky, Ringo,
T-Bone, J. J. Lyly, Lefty. But mostly they are named Doug.


I see the Welsh People eating Welsh rabbit, or is it
rarebit? This is cheese and beer on toast. It is very healthy,
the way the Welsh People like everything to be. To build
up your Welsh vocabulary, simply type “Ll,” close your eyes,
and randomly hit letters on the keyboard. Many Welsh People
are known to get angry and set fire to their homes if the landlord
replaces the deluxe toilet bowl with a much smaller one.
The Welsh are called “The Fire People” because of
their magic Chevrolets, which they are not licensed to drive.


Some of the favorite places of the Welsh People are
The Cozy Corner, Kramer’s, The Hotel Wallaby,
The Rondo, Folio Books, The CafŽ Splendide, The Fox and Hound,
The Tabard. The Welsh People smoke while playing soccer
near the castle ruins. They prefer taking drugs
and listening to jazz over working in the coal mines.


I want to explain how the Welsh People have phone bills bigger than
   their rent, but I can’t.


I am with the Welsh People and they say to me
the trouble with the future is that it doesn’t stop
when it gets to the place you want to be.
I agree.


I am thinking of the Prince of Wales, a royal person.
When he calls his girlfriend and tells her he’d like to be her Tampax
the Welsh People finally accept him as their prince.
Not since Gruffyd ap Llewelyn and Owen Glendower
have the Welsh People been so pleased with a leader.


The Welsh People are riding in a cab, which is
the only officially sanctioned Welsh means of transportation.
I used to worry about the Welsh People until I realized
that they are at one with the universe and are protected
from all harm by their impenetrable spiritual armor
and by all the things they learn by watching cable t.v.
If the food is good, the Welsh People will eat
every last molecule. They will smoke all the cigarettes,
drink all the drinks. This is the secret of their success,
which is itself a secret.


A long time ago, the Welsh People came to America
and began biting Americans on the ass. This delayed
the issuance of their green cards for many years. I used to
think the Welsh People were a bunch of freaks,
wandering around Dupont Circle leaving tips that were
often really just too generous for the service they got, but
now I have come to realize that where there’s smoke
and fire, there’s Welsh People throwing a party.

New American Writing # 19 and Jacket 13   Contents page
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