the theory and practice of postmodernism—a manifesto [excerpt]
about two years ago elly and i decided we needed a new mattress or maybe elly decided it because i didnt pay much attention to the problem we had an old mattress wed had it for years and the salesman wed bought it from had assured us it would last us a lifetime and it was getting older and lumpy or lumpy in some places and hollowed out in others and i just assumed it was part of a normal process of aging it was getting older we were getting older and wed get used to it but eleanor has a bad back and she was getting desperate to get rid of this mattress that had lived with us for such a long time and so lotally that i thought i knew all its high points and low points its eminences and pitfalls and i was sure that at night my body worked its way carefully around the lumps dodging the precipices and moving to solider ground whenever it could but maybe eleanor sleeps more heavily than i do i have a feeling that i spent much of my life at night avoiding the pitfalls of this mattress that i was used to and it was a skill id acquired over the ten or fifteen years of this mattress’ life so I felt there was no reason to get rid of this mattress that had been promised to us by a salesman who said it would last the rest of our lives i figured we were going to live long lives i didnt think we were anywhere close to dying so neither was the mattress but eleanor kept waking up with backaches still i figured it was a good mattress and that elly just didnt have enough skill at avoiding the lumps it never occurred to me that the mattress was at fault so i didnt do anything and elly didnt do anything because shes not into consumer products and hates to go shopping but by the end of a year elly convinced me because she has a sensitive back and i dont that she had a more accurate understanding of this business than i did so I said sure eleanor lets get a new mattress were rebuilding the house as long as were going to have a new house we may as well have a new mattress but eleanor said how will i know its a good one i dont want to get another mattress that gets hollowed and lumpy and gives me backaches when i wake up how will i know how to get a good one i said well open the yellow pages and well look up mattresses and therell be several places that sell them and ill close my eyes and point a finger at one of these places and it will be a place that has lots of mattresses where we can make a choice as to what constitutes a good one by lying on them
Copyright © 2005 by David Antin. From i never knew what time it was. Reprinted with permission of the University of California Press.
A poet, visual media artist, critic and essayist, David Antin has published over ten books of poetry and critical essays, and has lived and taught in San Diego, CA since 1968.
Date Published: 2005-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/theory-and-practice-postmodernism-manifesto-excerpt