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THE PROBLEM / Bill Knott My life has been attributed to someone else. Defeats, victories, loves, hates, all categorized! with that person's name. I belong whether I like it to the School of the Genre of the Age of that so and so. AU my acts bear as an adverb their name with an esque on the end: I cross my legs __________-esquely; my words are __________-esque—that's right, yes! I don't even know whose name Tm speaking of nor why everything I do's described by that appellation, that's the hard of it! On the otherwise it might be worse if I did know I might be tempted to go look up her or him and bluster, Now let's get this straight or What's going on here But that's just wish. In reallife Td get the address wrong, mistake their nextdoor neighbor for them: Boy, this is a nice apartment. Nor would it be any kind of consolation no-sir whatsoever if I did confront them and find out (!) that THEY suffer the same displacement only under the name of someone in the near town which if that was so would imply or infer that similarly, somewhere, there's someone who has my name stuck on all their efforts. .. Nor that lovers can be clad to modify each other's part... Nope I can't see hope of any relief for the problem, puritan or buddhist, marxist or royalist, egomania or drainage systems, because any solution, 40 ¦ The Missouri Review any amelioration just ends up being added to the adjectives which already encrust the thing, and that just adds to, adds to... (—Though if it's a choice of spinning out vapid tautologies or, Hi/Nice to meet youll've heard a lot about you, Ya rather just credit this poem to someone else, forget the whole thing, disappear, move to the far town, entertain aliases, take Semle Ed classes in the art of fingerprint arrangement, question the per se of identity, destiny, ancestor-bashing, make a citizen's arrest of my mirror for indecent exposure, but never, nowhere will I do penance, beg forgiveness for any of my failures ascribed to them or their successes circa me—) Bill Knott The Missouri Review · 42 ...


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