In 1906, a writer made famous by the gross things inside hotdogs built a utopia based on the ideas of an author made famous by the gross things inside wallpaper. As you might imagine, Helicon Home Colony had neither nice interiors nor much by way of bar-b-q. And then: everyone in the hallowed new community were writers, or academics, or painters.
Everyone ate boringly and the bland interiors quickly soaked through the ethos and into the paintings, poems, and histories. Such that when the whole thing burnt down six months in, no one was too upset about it, except the writer himself who had written about hotdogs. He was convinced that for six months he had lived in the future and now was thrust back into the past. The past of the present, where, figuratively, instead of washing with soap, folks used perfume ‘til you could taste it. The present where parochialism ran amok. The stinking present where you don’t sit down for dinner at a long table of know-it-alls carping about the cooking and quoting the New Yorker: which sounds a lot like what college is now, in this very present present, and perhaps this was truly what Upton Sinclair, famous hotdog critic, did invent: College.
A world in which you are set aside and asked to do the important things you do while people who are born to make beds make beds with what were born to be invisible hands and those born to leaf blowing blow leaves with what were born to be noisy machines, and you settle in, when you can settle in given the sound of the leaves being blown, and plot the end of capitalism in nice ways that don’t involve mean people. But do involve: love so free
who’d want it.
John Emil Vincent lives in Montreal. He will publish his second book of poems, Ganymede’s Dog, this Fall with McGill-Queen’s University Press. He’s surely proof of something.