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Notes on Editing

Although for the most part Chad’s poems were of an exceedingly high and arresting quality, in regards to both form and content, several of the poems I discovered in his manuscript were of a quality incommensurate enough with the more outstanding pieces to warrant their exclusion from the present collection.

So that you might have an example of the type of poem I cut, consider “Chad’s Poem about His Bad Mood,” a poem whose pairing with the brilliant poem “Chad’s Poem about His Good Mood” (included on page 17 of Me-You) seems to beg for its inclusion. The poem begins thusly:

I feel like
a piece of crap

and the piece of crap
I feel like

feels worse than usual,
which is pretty bad

given how much crap
crap’s been given all these years.

I would submit that this is a fine beginning octave, and were Chad a lesser writer, these eight lines alone would warrant admission into a collection—the broken chiasmus reminds me of Milton, perhaps Pope as well, but the colloquial language usage is Chad's own, and speaks to his unique abilities as a versifier. The poem, however, leaves the reader (and the poem) wanting:

Piece of crap,
I’m sorry

but now that you’re here
you should know—

It’s hard to be alone.
You’ll miss the turd.

Although I see here how a scholar some day may claim this to be Chad’s finest achievement, I decided to omit this particular poem due to its ending, which I find unnecessarily baffling.

What does "You'll miss the turd" mean, excatly?

And how does missing the turd contribute to or complicate the loneliness (as opposed to the solitude) of the speaker?

These questions are provacatively raised by the final stanza, but I did not feel they were explored in enough detail to warrant their being raised within Me-You, the book. I should also mention that though many of the pieces here were written in a shaky, and at times almost illegible, hand, this poem was written by a hand so shaky its very lines criss-crossed at their ends, making even this transcription difficult—for quite some time I thought the final stanza read "It's hard to be the turd. / You'll miss the alone." and was only moved to see the more authentic version by following the line of an ink smudge.

Few other poems were ommitted, and for the most part, what you have in front of you as Me-You reproduces the contents of the manila envelope I received in the mail. Some spellings were corrected; a few were not. And though some liberties were taken in my transcriptions, the voice, the syntax, the paratactic didacticisms, these are all Chad's.

Like any superb editor, I am simply the work's vehicle, or, perhaps more accurately, the work's director/producer— No. Reader, merely consider me the man whose luck (when combined with his fine eye and taste) makes the reading of these poems possible.

Copyright Devin Becker 2010
Created April 2010; last updated March 2011