Sunday, 11 October 2015

Clarence Major

"Liz 2" by Vince Viloria - Flickr: Liz.
Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Clarence Major was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1936 and grew up in Chicago where he attended the School of the Art Institute before joining the US Air Force in 1955. He founded the literary magazine Coercion Review in 1957, which put him in contact with many poets such as Allen Ginsberg and Robert Creeley. In 1966, Major moved to New York City and became associated with the Umbra Workshop group of black writers.

In addition to his work as a poet he has gained wide recognition for his numerous fictional works as well as for his paintings.

Major is professor emeritus of 20th-Century American Literature at the University of California at Davis.


My below poem took its inspiration from Major’s 1985 poem “Inside Diameter”.

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Inside Diameter: 8 megapixels

express yourself
at arm’s length
at a slight upward angle
the position is a classic
forget the reclining muse
strike a pose
put on a smile
it’s in your hands now
the position is so
so well-worn
the position works so well

choose your filter
add a caption hashtag
you might wanna experiment with props
throw in a little wink
a supersize sandwich
choose a striking setting
a bit of cleavage never hurt anyone

this is who you are
keep it real
don’t overdo it
flat design won’t reduce the penetration
don’t be fooled
let them see you
there are many ways you can make it work for you

the position is a classic
you cannot count the variation
just don’t be too obvious
just don’t be fake
be authentic
the keyword let me spell
it out is “verisimilitude”
that is to say “life-like”

as the position continues to be
struck and turned
don’t let them see your
shattered display
your broken nails
and bleeding gums
battles are won and lost
in this position
the position is so
so well-worn
the position works so well

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