Deleted Characters

Literary Hub Poem of the Week

October 21, 2015  By Khadijah Queen
1


Language is perpetually put to the service of meaning-making or the illusion thereof. This common approach toward instrumental communication—first and foremost—is even older than our marketplace modernity which habitually demands words to function as info-bits, soundbites, inventory. In the framing of poetry, however, though never dissolved, the expectations of immediate meaning is put to the background as the texture, associations and happy chaos of words are made front and center. In Khadijah Queen’s new poem, Deleted Characters, I marvel at the way her elemental list of articles and nouns unleashes a universe of absurd, humorous, disturbing phrases. The artificiality and artfulness of (her) language astounds. The plausibility of these characters may be more or less realistic but their actual stage exists inside the endlessness of semantics itself, certainly. This happens thanks to Queen’s seeming infinite fecundity to create new, dizzy combinations; to explode and undermine our stock, workaday associations. Inevitably, the poem tells us of our time with its winks and nods to contemporary slang and jargon, but also the awesome possibility that always awaits anyone trapped as we all are by the confines of discourse. That these “characters” (which are not characters) are themselves “deleted,” as the title tells us, simultaneously relieves and elegizes such a busy imagination.  

—Adam Fitzgerald, Poetry Editor


DELETED CHARACTERS

 

THE POPULARITY CONTEST

Article continues after advertisement

THE HECTIC TED TALK

THE BLACK FARMERS

THE FALSE CHANTERELLE

THE RUINED CROPS

THE BUTTERCUP ANARCHIST

THE CONTINUOUS NON-INDICTMENT

THE CAGEY VETERAN

THE IRONIC ABSOLUTISM

THE POST TRAUMATIC PATRIOT

THE SENIOR HOUSING COMPLEX

THE JAUNTY HUMIDIFIER

THE DOOR CRASHING DEER

THE PREGNANT MUD WRESTLER

THE OVERDONE GEL MANICURE

THE STYLISH COUCH COVER

THE ANONYMOUS COSPLAYER

THE CAREFUL OBSESSION

THE TEXTURED PAINTING

THE PRESSED HAIR

THE WILTED FLORAL ARRANGEMENT

THE LIMP KALE

THE SLAYED STANS

THE OCD COKEHEAD

THE PERFECT DATING PROFILE

THE SUPER LONG WIFI PASSWORD

THE FROG-THROATED BOOTLEGGER

THE BUMPED UP BONUS

THE BORROWED VACUUM

THE IMAGINARY TIME WARP

THE MEMORY OF ASSASSINATION

THE WANNABE IP MAN

THE DILAPIDATED COLONIAL

THE WINK TO ELIOT

THE KIERA KNIGHTLEY HATER

THE LORD OF NO PANTS

THE TRANSLATED SPECTACLE

THE ENDLESS MONOPOLY GAME

THE FAIR WARNING

THE FLAT EARTH THEORY

THE RESIDENT PARKING

THE INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PLAN

THE FARTHING FLINGER

THE MOODY CIRCLE K CASHIER

THE CLANDESTINE TECHNICIAN

THE 4-IN-1 BUNDLE

THE BOSSY TODDLER

THE LOOP-DE-LOOP PANCAKE FLIPPER

THE BLANK ANALOGY

THE SHO YOU RIGHT

THE CONVULSIVE FRAILTY

THE KLUTZY WUNDERKIND

THE MINT JULEP

THE BURNT BISCUIT

THE KHAKI SHORTS

THE SLAPHAPPY CENTURION

THE MODERN CHANGELING

THE FROWSY ASSISTANT

THE PERMISSIVE GALAXY

THE PAUSED GENERATION

THE FAILED ITERATION

THE SHIT SHOW

THE BAG OF NASTY CAT TREATS

THE ILL-FREQUENTED BISTRO

THE POPULAR SANDBOX

THE TEPID SWAMP

THE WATERY EYE OF A STRANGER

THE SARTRE APOLOGIST

THE CORNERED LILAC

THE BLINGED-OUT TRANSPARENCY

THE IMPOTENT MANIFESTO

THE MARTINET LOUNGE SINGER

THE LAST THIN MINT

THE NEGLECTED SUBLIME

THE TWICE-THRIFTED SOFABED

THE SINGLE ADIRONDACK CHAIR IN WINTER




Khadijah Queen
Khadijah Queen
Khadijah Queen is the author of four books and four chapbooks, most recently Fearful Beloved (Argos Books 2015). In 2014 she won the Leslie Scalapino Award for Innovative Women Performance Writers, and her verse play Non-Sequitur will be staged by The Relationship Theater Company in NYC this December, with accompanying publication by Litmus Press. Individual poems appear in Fence, Tin House, Best American Nonrequired Reading and widely elsewhere. A Cave Canem alum, she is core faculty for the new low residency Mile-High MFA program at Regis University in Denver.









More Story
Jane Smiley: "At the End of This Trilogy,
I Wept."
In the 1980s, I came close to writing a trilogy—it was The Greenlanders, and I composed it on a Kaypro “portable” computer...