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Clayton A. Couch


Notes on "Instant Parable"

What am I doing here?

American culture, if we are to believe the press releases, values the instantaneous, absolutely-present event over everything else. If Americans cannot actually create the instant, they will do their damndest to represent it in any and every format imaginable. Historical and spiritual echoes, such as they are, disappear. The flickering images and virtual obsessions of this poem are not whole representations of the instant; rather, they are the detrital remains left over from the consumption of whole representations of the instant. Each fragment radiates phantasmal undertones created during the moment of its parent's dissolution, and these undertones, these radiations, are circulated within the structural context of "instant parable" to the point where an alternate -- however slightly alternate -- history can arise out of nothing.

My recent writings tend to play around with the rhythms that can be created by weaving non-linear thoughts, sounds, and images into the linearities of written text, and while I do have a concern for sense and meaning, I tend to view these elements as being awash in something similar -- its virtual counterpart? -- to Max Planck's conception of quantum foam. In other words, I feel that there is a level of graininess -- a level of molten fuzziness -- undergirding even the building materials of poetic form, and I pay very close attention to the unintentional upheavals that assert themselves during the compositional process. I seek to charge a poem's words with found energies, and failing that, I actively allow such energies to tear at, crack, or batter my texts. The display of damage then becomes its own poem.

Being a pantheist at heart, I also see poems as word-organisms. "instant parable" is a probably a predator of some sort, although I'm sure it's quite harmless to most readers.


instant parable


no crazy in silence more to word
walled off for good i saw an accident
at corner of rosewood and assembly

accidentally creating a crisp vision
in my head of gods running sidewise
up a glass skyscraper fan it backwards

in this asylum territory we work against
time holding out a confederacy in the hope
that something in zany truths can save

us from sacrificial nigerian scam letters
across the tempest ocean call a dollar
or more mutations into millions i love you

if you exist or can will you into eXistenZ
some hokey video game meditation on unreality
irreal of circle stances reading in a vacuum

forgotten how to read out loud choke
chromatic out of clean there's always a memory
but it's only not there and blank verse can't save

no one from flittering away out in a sedate
backyard grilling on fire over leaves autumnal
with age full throttle more packaging please






Clayton A. Couch lives in Columbia, SC with his wife, Lauren, and his feline familiar, Gretchen. Employed as a Library Specialist for Midlands Technical College, he is currently working towards an MLIS (Library Science) degree at the University of South Carolina. He has published poems in such places as Aught, Big Bridge, can we have our ball back?, Dark Moon Rising, Dark Planet, Dreams and Nightmares, EOTU, Get Underground, moria, muse apprentice guild, Once Upon A World, The Pedestal, Pierian Springs, Poethia, Shampoo, Say..., Speculon, Star*Line, Tin Lustre Mobile, VeRT, xStream, and Ygdrasil. He was recently interviewed at Tin Lustre Mobile, and upcoming work will appear in SpaceBreather, Unpleasant Event Schedule, VeRT, and Znine. Like every other poet on the internet, he maintains a weblog (


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