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With its defiance for any one tradition or voice, Thomas Sayers Ellis's debut becomes a powerful argument against monotony
A dream. A democracy. A savage liberty.
And yet another anthem and yet another heaven
and yet another party wants you.
Wants you wants you wants you.
In one poem, Thomas Sayers Ellis prognosticates, "Pretty soon, the Age of the Talk Show / Will slip on a peel left in the avant- gutter." The result is The Maverick Room, the testing ground of determination and serendipity, where call-and-response becomes Steinian echo becomes Post-Soul percussive pleasure becomes a bootlegged recording hustled out of a D.C. go-go club.
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|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.09(w) x 9.08(h) x 0.71(d)|
About the Author
Thomas Sayers Ellis was born and raised in Washington, D.C. His work has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, and in Take Three: 1. He currently teaches at Case Western Reserve University and lives in Cleveland, Ohio.
Read an Excerpt
The Maverick Room
By Thomas Sayers Ellis
Graywolf PressCopyright © 2005 Thomas Sayers Ellis
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSticks My father was an enormous man Who believed kindness and lack of size Were nothing more than sissified Signs of weakness. Narrow-minded, His eyes were the worst kind Of jury-deliberate, distant, hard. No one could outshout him Or make bigger fists. The few Who tried got taken for bad, Beat down, their bodies slammed. I wanted to be just like him: Big man, man of he house, king. A plagiarist, hitting the things he hit, I learned to use my hands watching him Use his, pretending to slap mother When he slapped mother. He was sick. A diabetic slept Like a silent vowel inside his well-built, Muscular, dark body. Hard as all that With similar weaknesses -I discovered writing, How words are parts of speech With beats and breaths of their own. Interjections like flams. Wham! Bam! An heir to the rhythm And tension beneath the beatings My first attempts were filled with noise, Wild solos, violent uncontrollable blows. The page tightened like a drum Resisting the clockwise twisting Of a handheld chrome key The noisy banging and tuning of growth. Take Me Out to the Go-Go from "The Maverick Room" Nikita zips across stage Trailed by a troop of white-gloved One-wheelers: Killer Joes, The 12 & Under Crew In disguise. A sixth sense guides him Beyond darkness. An Inner voice says when, Don't stop, don't stop, don't stop, I'll tell you when. A constellation of funeral homes. Jumpsuits. Red & white Ribbons in the sky. The total Groove, a carnival of roses Circling the moon. Mere call & response Never knocked socks this way, Lifting nicknames & dates From the faces of tombstones And mere call & response never will. God climbs inside, Asking for souls-something we weren't taught to share. Atomic Bride for Andre Foxxe A good show Starts in the Dressing room And works its way To the stage. Close the door, Andre's cross-dressing, what A drag. All The world loves A bride, something About those gowns. A good wedding Starts in the Department store And works is way Into the photo album. Close the door, Andre's tying The knot, what A drag. Isn't he Lovely? All The world loves A bachelor, something about glamour & glitz, white Shirts, lawsuits. A good dog Starts in the yard And works its way Into da house Close your eyes Andre's wide open, One freak of the week Per night, what A drag. Isn't He lovely? All The world loves A nuclear family, Something about A suburban home, Chaos in order. A good bride starts In the laboratory And works his way To the church. Close the door, Andre's thinking
Things over, what, A drag. Isn't He lovely? All The world loves A divorce, something About broken vows. A good war starts In the courtroom And works its way To the album cover. Close the door, Andre's swearing in, What a drag. Isn't he lovely? All The world loves A star witness, Something about Cross-examination. A good drug starts In Washington And works its way To the dance floor. Close the door, Andre's strung out, What a drag. Isn't he lovely? All The world loves Rhythm guitar, Something about Those warm chords. A good skeleton Starts in the closet And works its way To the top of the charts. Start the organ Andre's on his way Down the aisle, Alone, what an encore. All The world loves An explosive ending. Go ahead, Andre, Toss the bouquet.
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