I’m giving a lot of thought to the 100 titles I’m going to order from Dalkey Archive Press this year. I think I’ve just found my #1: Stanley Elkin’s Criers & Kibitzers, Kibitzers & Criers. Here’s an excerpt from “A Poetics for Bullies”:
Suddenly I raise my arms and he stops. I feel a power in me. I am Push, Push the bully, God of the Neighborhood, its incarnation of envy and jealousy and need. I vie, I strive, emulate, compete, a contender in every event there is. I didn’t make myself. I probably can’t save myself, but maybe that’s the only need I don’t have. I taste my lack and that’s how I win–by having nothing to lose. It’s not good enough! I want and I want and I will die wanting, but first I will have something. This time I will have something. I say it aloud. ‘This time I will have something.’ I step toward them. The power makes me dizzy. It is enormous. They feel it. They back away. They crouch in the shadow of my outstretched wings. It isn’t deceit this time but the real magic at last, the genuine thing: the cabala of my hate, of my irreconcilableness.