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A journeyman upholsterer . . . his hands gliding over the shape of a chair as if he were adjusting a queen's underwear tugging and straightening the floral satin describing the ideal shape of a perfect chair . . . I suspect he does the same thing every night in bed tacking a new skin onto his wife's bones. Dale Zieroth describes a trip home from work by trolley, the weary bodies sardined together: Outside the cars glide by like brilliantly coloured birds while we move from stop to stop as something wounded. Like an unknown Lenin nearing Moscow, I am full of secret plans for change that are half-forgotten the moment I am out and walking home. In a poem called "Residence" Stuart Peterfreund tells us: I have lived in my body like a bad tenant . . . My body's just a boarding house For second-rate germs, the Cheap scuffed furniture, the occasional Window, a body in suspenders, full Wine glass in hand, staring out of garbage cans, At black limousines on Sunday. These are the themes of Wayman's own poetry of labor: the motions of work and their effects on loving, the weariness, the pocket dreams, the alienation from the body. Here as in Wayman's two volumes, they are set forth lucidly, vigorously, in the voices of men and women speaking about their getting and spending, about the labor at the center of their lives. Scott Sanders *Available for $1 by mail from the publisher: George Melnyk, Newest Press, 10026 116th St., Edmonton, Alberta. THE FICTION COLLECTIVE Peter Spielberg. Twiddledum Twaddledum. $3.95. Jonathan Baumbach. Reruns. $3.95. B.H.Friedman. Museum. $3.95. 129 Her weight centered on the burning point. Pierced, breath caught, she sways delicately balanced; her thighs clamped around his legs; his hands cradling her buttocks. And then (in slow motion ) the tree behind her falls away and her arched torso bends supply backwards from the waist, arms curved, long hair tumbling to the earth, meeting the grass, breasts face skyward. The conquest of la belle dame (everyman's favorite fantasy) has never been more vividly realized than that. But in the world of Peter Spielberg's Twiddledum Twaddledum, where this seduction of seductions supposedly takes place, it happens only in the tormented dream of Spielberg's adolescent hero, Paul, and ends with him masturbating in his step-parents' drab New York apartment, where he has found shelter from the Nazi scourge of pre-war Vienna. The scourge, however, follows him, indeed lurks within him. Jew though he is, he is not only victim but villain, conspiring in his own abasement. The prototype for the voluptuous passion flower he harbors in his head is his Viennese governess, Lotte—fascist, sensualist, and fiance of budding storm trooper, Hans Streicher—who initiates him in the flat from which his family has that very day been untimely ripped by the Gestapo. Paul recalls Lotte telling him a tale of a beautiful princess, turned by witchcraft into a black corpse, and entombed in the vault of a dark, deserted church, where "she roamed about and screamed every night from midnight to dawn, suffering horrible tortures, beating against the locked doors in her agony, ringing the church bells wildly in a desperate call for help" until a young man, secretly in love with her, came to her rescue. In rescuing her, however, he dies. This tale blends into Paul's dream life, leading him down an endless spiral staircase to a rancid depth where someone awaits him: "The boy tries to stop himself, but it is too late. He rushes, now trying to scream, eyes fixed in recognition , into the outstretched welcoming arms of the shrouded figure. They close about him with a cry of triumph; grinning, soft worm-eaten flesh presses against his lips. . ." Which is to say Lotte's tale becomes a symbolic paradigm, acknowledged subliminally even by Paul, of the trauma to mind and spirit he suffers and his novel explores. The corpse grasping him to herself simulates Lotte, stretching her arms to show Paul (then Pancraz) how good was the wine she has shared with Hans, and anticipates her greeting him at the door of his...


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pp. 129-136
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