On Grant Maierhofer’s Forthcoming Novel, Postures
by Sean Kilpatrick
“Nobody seems ready to let anyone else love something for the hell of it.”
We place restrictions on love because it never existed. Likewise art regimented by currency does nothing but trend. All creative output has been demoted to the same reliant lung work of some pettier currency. That’s where we stand as conglomerate peoples: likewise and not worth being. We nametag portions of our quality flaked against time like a drive-by shooting (they won’t allow us to romanticize or revel in anything selfish these days precisely because everything is selfish) and say something was achieved. Labor for the tap dancing void. We dug our crimes a hole and the climate took a snifter of us with it. At least our measles have a niche, cave wall slash that cries fuck procession. No, in no way will we muster a blip. There’s too many of us. There were too many of us before we were mammals. Let’s die sentence one, scratch out our legacy either with minor voices, innovation, or general meanness. A message to this book is: if you want to write, begin by sucking an avalanche.
You can’t call someone immature just because they’re living out their abortion. A somnolent amount of Victorian adulthood stacks the novel. Maierhofer has committed a great atrocity against homeownership by displaying affection for shit you can’t truly buy. Meaning a book, not the humdrum commerce of infants being had. A book is only ever in a container until it rots your thought. A baby is a thing that suffers land. The worst part isn’t everybody bows to money. I’m Irish enough to be practically half awake. It’s that they’ve fashioned money into a couth plasmatic akin with manhood. Age or status are not abstract nouns to be enforced. You have to smile in the meantime, have to take pride or they lock you up. You have to stone your medium life across the less productive or you’re not a citizen. Orphan others by the bank account or be stuck in a teenhood caste will smite. Then you can stand refined by the self-aware futility of your gameplay and create pariahs on the phone, the poses you can’t fess up to, sneering in each profile.
Writers tribe their bottoms together and go to war for a paragraph on Wikipedia. The acerbic mismanagement of a little political marketability and your footnote is secure. Being a footnote if lucky is the deceit we got ourselves pregnant with. In that case, why not shit yourself a census. Dung accrues regardless. It’s the meaning of life. I prize the pen like any toy. But a parent is someone out of touch with the arbitrariness of nature. However alert they are comes with brackets around their young. Initially, the artist viewed your young most pleasantly as food. Keep getting by. You’ll never advance from the safety of the shire. Now everything is safe enough for groceries. A birth pang is an experience point, an ambulance brag, something a father can stick a cigar inside to sustain the monopoly. Those biologically noosed from instincts equally extinct and artless, we’ll take the lifeless life. We’re not owed because of the sky-wide castration that is the zeitgeist, but we’ll steal our two cents anyway, at the expense of everyone’s dumbass property, by squatting there, nibbling familial scraps and welfare. Because we’ve been raised indentured by our plentitude. Say it’s weak and we’ll hang you by your Republican bootstraps. And if we brave suicide we should brave it so well we take our manuscripts with us. We won’t, though, because a dumpster full of chapbooks shall be our single, tiny pollution. We know the big wars sucker class. We know jobs bankroll entities that hate us. It’s over. If you procreate, you’re obnoxious beyond a fucking painting. Let the crib you toiled to be approved about instead become a grant for a future artist, or vasectomize yourself with a rag. I speak only of utopias I know could never happen. Who really wants to live in that kind and sane of a fucking world? There’d be no art to make in spite of it! As long as we clog this planet right the fuck dispensed. Even if only your bedpan gets remembered. Next you’ll excuse yourself that sports are okay. There’s a retirement home you may learn to ignore the smell of. A decent writer is someone who can’t ignore their madcap reek. The rest will be quirkily famous for a year. You can usually tell complacency by the groomed and grinning insert, by the voice refusing to shake. The ease by which they neglect or humiliate anything that does not resemble the proper lie. You can’t embrace your puppetry with polished strings.
Any narrator for the arts is already deleted. Doubly so, as our X is quite aware. In a time when young artists are drowning in self-portraiture, there’s necessity in self-touting against everyone’s being vague. No one’s wearing their baby like a diaper, quite this sacrificed to studying the tumor of why write. People fuck cheaper than the abortion if you pace it wrong. The only complaint to lodge against the written word is that it slows the eventual embrace of another freshly minted (and much better promoted) mass shooter. We’ve sat in classrooms, worked McDonalds jobs, and dated the necrotized and ambitious for the decade plus required to have a hint at how good it would hypothetically feel to be torn apart or tearing and can do it ourselves if no one’s friendly, or be friendly to others if their brief blurts of chiming in continue. The secret horror of life is that there are more opinions than bullets and now we’re attached to the former by so much chickenshit coaxial networking. Anyway, who can afford either, except to say read on.
When I fumbled litward, online writing was new and rife with leftover suburban Bukowskis from the zine scene who enjoyed rap as much as telling you your writing was a posture. They had scary self-confessed underground connections that never showed up and threatening first run wives or babies that brought a faux weariness to their fluorescently simpleton, meaningful prose-verse. Nothing was quite so true or cargo-shorted as the bars that bared their hearts. They took pictures bruised by homoerotic friend-manufactured fist fights and tried to be candid with their comedian-level tough love critiques, but they didn’t believe their own lisps. This is why the sensitive, zombie-like selfie-monks of mock-Buddha who hop around publically liking everything please me. Both divisions promoted themselves as humanitarian, most divisions do, but at least there’s something a tad humble left behind from their paltry and meekly performed rapes. It’s always only the old gorilla dynasty bullshit of miniscule dipshit John Gardners versus linguists who enjoy what they do with religious fanaticism instead of religious shame. Even Lish is another Gardner, another man of home-lived beers, toting a standard above the technique he perfected, because the lack of a much sought truth scars our fright. But somehow Grendel is great despite who it mocks and the Lish legacy (the weirder folk, not the traditional dime-tall Carver folk) is immense, etc. Of course, I talk from no position and try not to in general.
An artist is someone who bucks in the act of pissing until their kidneys leak. If some version of ew wasn’t always in vogue, we’d have a paycheck here. I speak of the elusive living wage my generation saw done with. You have to be a real summer-house type helped into existence or study those dishes (or even stupider, born rich and doing that just to prove something to yourself about struggle), learn not to blowjob the college interest loan for White House income. I took those loans upon myself for fun. I will not be paying them back unless one of a hundred applied for jobs in my field responds. They are another mountainously declining slush pile and welcome to it. The great revolutions of our elders petered into worse. Let’s take the march to our wrists. I refuse to be paid or paying. Fuck the street and fuck being a guest here. Fuck that everyone’s a refugee of what shouldn’t be said and fuck who says the bold thing anyway. Foremost, fuck the strong. Stand back, someone’s about to be punished for their love.
Essay adapted from the introduction to Postures, Erasures, by Grant Maierhofer, forthcoming 2014. Images via
About the Author:
Sean Kilpatrick lives in Detroit and is published or forthcoming in Boston Review, New York Tyrant, BOMB, Columbia Poetry Review, Fence, evergreen review, Sleepingfish, Hobart, and Best American Essays 2014 notably. Anatomy Courses (2012) was co-written with Blake Butler. A novella, Sucker June, arrives May 2015.