Monday Jul 22

BeckerDevin Devin Becker was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His poetry and research articles appear in such places as American Archivist, Cutbank, Faultline, Microform and Digitization Review, Prairie Schooner, and Washington Square, among others. He currently lives in Moscow, Idaho, where he works as the digital initiatives and web services librarian at the University of Idaho Library. His first collection of poetry, Shame | Shame, was selected by David St. John as the winner of the thirteenth annual A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize and will be published by BOA Editions, Ltd. in spring 2015.

Breakfast Bar

Truth has been replaced by Narrative, is what the eggheads say. I say: the peregrinations time holds for us are relentlessly forward.
     (Should I go to LA? I should go to LA.)
     And furthermore, to oppose these systems is not the point, the point is to be aware that everyone and
every system is out to get you.
     (Sometimes I find too many vegetables ruin the omelet; sometimes, the opposite.)
     To theorize is to direct traffic with your elbow.
     (To atomize is to need a magnifier.)
     The problem with endings is that they end and still you have to find someone who will
love you for you and despite the future.
     (A future whose promise is so powerful we live by repressing the dread it inspires.)
     The problem with criticism of any kind is that it assumes artists capable of and therefore
either progressing toward or declining from their “full potential.”
     (I am full of eggs and broccoli this morning. Later I will be less full.)
     This is true also of psychiatrists. You must lessen your anxiety, the Shrink says; Critic: you are
too in love with your own style.

New Year’s Eve Day

I’m in the workout facility of the housing addition Kristin’s parents live in and it’s me, this older couple, and a redheaded high school girl wearing a pink t-shirt with “Red” handwritten on the back of it.
     None of us can work the televisions so we’re surrounded by black rectangles, but I’ve got an audio book so I’m semi-entertained. On the elliptical, I move my feet up and down smoothly in short strides listening to Johnny Depp read Keith Richard’s autobiography, my general hope being that I’ll sweat and lose weight and look better and have a more clearly-defined jaw line.
     I can tell Red wants to use the elliptical but I don’t want to get off it yet, so she uses this ab-stand thing half-heartedly while the older man and woman walk the two treadmills at their slowest speeds.
     I get done, Red takes my place, then I take hers on the ab-stand.
     I lift my legs up to my chest 19 times.
     The older woman comes over as I’m finishing and remarks that today’s the first time she’s ever seen someone use that thing and oh to be young like me and Red.
     Red is way younger than me I think and then I think about dying, I get that twinge.
     The older couple leaves and it’s just me and Red and a sort of tension emerges but it’s not sexual, it’s annoyance.
     I finish up and change to walk back to Kristin’s parents’ house. I wish Red a happy new year on the way out after debating in the locker room whether doing so would be creepy or appropriate.
     I walk back along the road, houses on one side, late December mudfields for miles on the other.
     Some guy working on a car in his garage looks at me weird so noncommittally I say “Howdy.”


These two couples are sharing a pitcher of sangria and the girls are pleasuring each other, going back and forth, each in turn claiming herself fatter.
     I’m the cow, one says.
     No, I am, replies the other.
     They are all so young they’re just practicing for later, but OMyFuckingGod they want it now, Lord, they are DYING to get comfortable.
     Were it that each could, but the one boy’s eyes are uneven and his girlfriend is actually a fair bit bigger than the other’s, so the feelings between the couples dim a little after the banter stops and their physical inequities start to glare across the table.
     The restaurant is jungle-themed, bamboo everywhere with little leaves hanging down, and in the quiet just created, the better-looking boy starts to pull a branch apart until he notices their waitress returning.
     Time for dessert now, Fatty, he says to his girlfriend, the skinny one.
     And the kindness with which he says this forgives everyone, all of us; cleans the room.