Last night was the culmination of Senior, Samantha McCormick’s 30-day performance in the Art Academy’s Chidlaw Gallery. This pinnacle of performance and poetry wonder featured introductory readings by students – Kyle Cottier, Chloë Bell, Billy Golden, and professor & Poet in Residence – Matt Hart, followed by several readings from Samantha’s new book of poetry and writing: Fatal Character. For your reading pleasure below is one of the poems Samantha read for a crowd of 35 last night, titled “Today I’ve Decided.”
Today I’ve Decided
Instead of poems and pieces of exploding,
I will make paper balls. It’s what the people want,
the people want paper balls. They want them
flooding the streets and burying their cars. They want
paper balls, all crinkled up in frustration, to interrupt
wedding ceremonies and Christmas mornings.
They want them in beds, right under the sheets
against their bodies. The people have spoken.
They demand that no more time be wasted in typing,
in thinking, in words – they just want paper balls.
They want them in trash bins, they like the idea of them
as classic imagery, but they want them to also move
from trash bins into landfills. They want paper balls
for pocket change they want paper balls for lottery tickets.
Paper balls should be the new currency they said,
and I am here to serve the people. The paper ball people.
They want different colored paper balls in air balloons,
paper balls in locker rooms, paper balls to keep
an eye on their daughter as she goes on her first date.
Paper balls should be the main course at fancy restaurants
and also not so fancy restaurants. We should eat paper balls.
The people want to swallow them whole or cut them up
into tiny bite size pieces for easy consumption.
Paper balls will sing the national anthem at all sporting events.
Paper balls will be granted the right to sing. The people will collect
greatest hits albums: Paper Balls of the 80’s, Paper Balls
of the 90’s, Smooth Jazz Paper Balls, and Death Metal Paper Balls.
The people will make babies to the sound of paper balls
for generations to come. You will be able to buy
diamond paper balls and paper balls made of engine parts.
Paper balls will guide people home from holiday breaks
where family relationships will feel less awkward shoved together
around dinner tables because the tables will be overflowing
with paper ball dishes. We will make dinosaur fossils into paper balls
so that we can enjoy visits to museums, they will be framed and sold
as expensive works of art – we will make the art into paper balls.
Paper ball stars will adorn the tops of Christmas trees.
The street signs will be made of paper balls, the paper ball cars
will come with new and exciting safety features –
along with seat warmers and extra large paper ball cup holders.
The children will play in ball pits filled with paper balls
while the parents discuss the educational value
of paper balls. They want the best for their children,
they demand paper ball learning plans.
The demand for paper balls will crush our culture
and the people will start to go mad. We will attend
paper ball therapy sessions in droves, like paper ball zombies,
and take prescription paper ball pills (responsibly at first
and then we will become paper ball addicts). The paper balls
will be melted down and shot up into our veins
and we will drift off into the ether with paper ball sugar plum fairies
in our heads. We will place paper balls on gravestones
and find God in paper balls. I am making paper balls for the people,
for the paper ball future. It is here my friends. We will make paper
ball weapons and continue to kill each other
even though we will all have our fill of the things we need.
Paper balls will consume our lives. We will fuck ourselves,
lonely, with paper balls and wish for something – anything-
other than paper balls. The people will curse paper balls
and fall prey to paper ball wants and dreams and I will cry
endlessly while I toil away making paper balls,
wishing that I could make poems instead.