We Make Mud
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Peter Markus makes myth out of mud, a river, fish. By parceling his obsessions so obsessively, he creates a never-before-seen form of mud, a new species of fish, a river that flows backwards to its source: all of this rendered in a language that is uniquely and privately his own.
We Make Mud by Peter Markus Dzanc Books 1334 Woodbourne Street Westland, MI 48186 www.dzancbooks.org Copyright © 2011, Text by Peter Markus All rights reserved, except for brief quotations in critical articles or reviews. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission from the publisher. Published 2011 by Dzanc Books Some of what’s inside this book first appeared on the insides of these other publications: Agriculture Reader, Alaska
says. When we hear this word boys, us brothers, we turn back with our boy heads toward the sound of our father. We wait to hear what it is that our father is about to say to us brothers next. It is a long few seconds. Outside the window, the sky above the river where the steel mill sits shipwrecked in the mud, the sky is dark and silent. Somewhere, I am sure, the sun is shining. You boys be sure to be careful, our father says to us, not to wake up your mother up from her sleep. Our father
brothers to say what about the day after tomorrow. Us brothers, we don’t say anything to this man to what about the day after tomorrow. Us brothers, we don’t like to think too much about tomorrow. Us brothers, we are brothers who live in the today. Us brothers, we are brothers who like to wait for tomorrow to come before we start to think at all about it. Man looks his man look down at us brothers and then he gets his mouth ready again to speak. But if I were to give you boys each one of you boys
take hammer and we take nail to the each of us brothers. We take each other by the hand. We take our hammers and nails and we hammer and nail all of these things, one by one at a time, we hammer all of these things into trees and into fencing posts, into backyard telephone poles and into the shingled sides of houses. But first, before we do the hammering in, we cover up all of these things with mud—this, to protect them, this, so that when somebody else comes into our town all that they see is
backyard, that backyard telephone pole, it was sticking up, it was standing up, like the backbone of some stuck-in-the-mud fish. When I said to Brother, Give me your hand, Brother did like I told. He gave me his hand. I held Brother’s held out hand back up against the wood of this fish-headed backyard telephone pole. In my other hand, I was holding onto our father’s hammer. In my mouth, I was holding with my teeth a couple of our father’s rusty, bent-back nails. This might sting, I said to