Friday, November 13, 2009

A Story That Insists on Telling Itself Again

Paul Lisicky read tonight at USD. From "The Boy and His Mother are Stuck!", this:

"Just yesterday, when we were all a little calmer and safer, my younger brother put his palms on the oven of her and murmured duck, duck, I want a duck as if words alone could make the thing inside her grow feathers."

Lately, many people around me--and when I say "around me," I include myself--are wishing for things to be other than they are. None of us wish our bellies--or any of the bellies around us--to contain a bird instead of a fetus. No, our angst centers around jobs/careers/what we do each day/what we call ourselves/what others call us. In other words, identity. Which is a theme Lisicky dealt with several times this evening.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the duck that is held hostage in Richard Russo's Straight Man, where the protagonist, a long-suffering English professor at a financially struggling college, cries, "A duck a day, until I get my budget."

How did ducks come to represent such futile yearning? Hopefully there's a PhD--who self-identifies as an modern American lit expert--secreted away in some dank office, toiling on this very topic.

2 comments:

Lakin Khan said...

How cool to hear Paul! One of my fav poet/essayists/writer dudes. And you made me laugh, remembering the duck in Straight Man.

Perhaps Daffy Duck started that futile yearning trope.....or Donald......

Anonymous said...

Amazing as always