I’m working on a series of poems I call “Wrecklogues”. They’re about paradisiacal Southern California — uber-trope of the built-over & over-built. My wrecklogues tip-toe & slog through this myth-bitten Golden State. What 'golden state'? — the sitcom-plotted fantasies of this place? Wrecklogues must owe as much to the TV travelogue as to the eclogue.
I think of the eclogue as the museum language one pokes around in during A Year [abroad] in Provence — winsome undergrad-speak about one’s native hicksville. Later comes the post-grad, pave-paradise drive to run over anything that un-avant-garde. One prefers les figues to ‘figs’, but more of that in future installments ….
When does nostalgia-cide become the only remedy for malingering mal du pays? It’s weird to be homesick for a place one's deriding in hindsight.. Whoever’s ‘sick of the old country’ [my translation] can find a way to counterfeit new origins in LotusLand.
But nostalgia sells; it buys us into the faux-pastoral’s Hollywood zip code, where we concoct mock epics of suntanned transcendence for export as if they were our crop, the fat of our land.
Just a couple days ago the heavy rain washed dirt into my swimming pool. Yes I have a swimming pool. (Bought the dream & not the farm.) The pool’s azure eye, perpetually staring at the sun, got mud in its eye. The wrecklogue of it admits the grit as grist, taking an animated swing at the Disneyland* of simulated picture-perfect Kodak moments. There’s fresher dirt in any sedi/mentation not that Astro turf.
What if this land of emigrés, faux-naïfs & plastic people is where you’re really from? How to shepherd that sheepish plot-line hook and by crook through this air-conditioned daydream factory? Stay tuned. I think it happens in episodes [“an incidental narrative or digression in a poem, or story, etc.” (OED)]. But not your father’s TV show.
[* “ . . . those whose phantasies condemn us.” Xeclogue, Lisa Robertson.]