A Skeptic’s Critque of Storytelling

“What the earliest scriptural-literary texts . . . do is attempt
to find a language to come to terms with . . . the contingency
of being.” —
Amit Chaudhuri; Storytelling & Forgetfullness

a story’s a trip through landscapes of dreamt
characters bent
by other characters
shoehorned into imaginations or pulled
as a potter does a pot drawing up water & clay, the stuff of earth,
forcing it into free-standing somethings into which are pitched
or placed our day’s most concrete dreams so
to see them
as fresh bouquets on tables in rooms
we inhabit among stars

they’re songs skewed by future disharmonies
no matter how
religiously we hang their notes upon staffs
to create sounds harmonious and appropriate to the moment
of the day they were first sung —
parcels of hope and re-collections,
Jenga game blocks
assembled or disassembled as our need sees fit
to salve a wound or wrench an instant into configurations
convenient to
the top dogs of a time, or into
the more humble stories of losers

— histories whose top billing among surviving texts
depends upon coincidence or a thing even more mysterious
which bends the arc of future tales in the peculiar direction
of whoknowswhat?

Jim Culleny