Ben Pease - a “blockbuster in verse.” Space. Drugs. Talk shows. The epic Saga of The Wichman, a reclusive-apartment-hermit-turned-internet-sensation who struggles to harness the god-like power of Celebrity

chateau-wichman--web.jpg
Ben Pease, Chateau Wichman, Big Luck Books, 2017.

paperbagazine.com/Issue2/Pease_ChateuWichman.HTML


Space. Drugs. Talk shows. Diagnosed as a “blockbuster in verse,” Chateau Wichman is the epic Saga of The Wichman, a reclusive-apartment-hermit-turned-internet-sensation who struggles to harness the god-like power of Celebrity. Inspired by Weinberger, Apollo & Daphne, Chayefsky's Altered States, the Apollo space missions, and that one Davis Foster Wallace essay about cruise ships, Chateau Wichman is a epic saga of rebellion and romance for today’s trying and exhausting digital times.


"In Chateau Wichman, Ben Pease’s sprawling debut book of poems, the intoxicating absorption of consuming art and popular culture goes hand-in-hand with the blurred fantasy and reality of being gazed at in turn. The self-aggrandizing fantasies Wichman engages in are inescapably intertwined with the self-pitying realization that what is real can never match the dizzying kaleidoscope of his own imagination—a feedback loop that animates the Berryman-esque combination of bemused and resigned wit in facing down one’s own life. The name “Wichman” brings to mind the title character from the 15th century morality play Everyman. But Wichman’s salvation is not found in good deeds or Christian salvation, and not, as he - or the readerfinds, in a retreat into his own mind. Chateau Wichman is for those of us who found “Life of Walter Mitty” to be painfully sad.Dan Magers


excerpts:
the trees took off
their clothes
                      rushed
their fingers toward
The Wichman
it's all mustard to mehe grinned
          playing underdog
with a swing full of gooseberries

                       the dog walk
became a run
               the playground a field
of impalpable statuary
the merry-go-round
took a turn
for the morose
and The Wichman
                        made a face
that many would attempt
to carve likenesses of
into the hundred
                            inedible
autumn gourds
appearing on shelves
                           as abruptly
as the season changed
               and skimpy female
referee costumes
invaded our lives
The Wichman
disinterested by the human
desire to know
                           infrequently
had his nose
                      in books
     though much did he have
                   his pen
hello
            I love you
                         won't you
tell me your name
                             address
date of birth
              and social security
                       number
the frieze
of girls holding
               grapefruits
over their breasts

the scattering bluebirds
        a contiguous wreck
of nerves
look up vehicular
                      manslaughter
in the Dictionary
                         you'll see
           a self-portrait
of The Wichman most satisfied
      that the sculptor
                 refused to distinguish
        where the grapefruit
             began where the breast
ceased
            The Wichman
milk bottle bowling
           the surrendered leaves
twice stilled
     since the last gust of wind
                           had passed
the almshouse
                  the tree house
the doghouse
                  all pocked
with the branches' shade
                                              otherwise
the whole stand
     of oak    stone pine
and purple ash
                       resigned
the reeling earth
          allowed The Wichman
to stand upon her
                          stretch his arms
and crack another beer


The Wichman loafed. The Wichman moped. The Wichman lumbered about his bed like a plank of oak disregarded to the sea. The Wichman took his hands to his head in a spheral harmony, his body sang out thud thomp thud and his phone rattled the table where a record player bounced over Del Shannon's Hats off to Larry, The Wichman stumbling over a day-old tallboy sending rivulets of beer onto the rug and the last few drops into his mouth, The Wichman grabbed his phone to his dismay: I can cut your hair for you. No. No thought The Wichman who was of a species who didn't want just anyone adding to or taking away from his person unless by his command. The Belligerent Wichman, The Scrofulous Wichman flung his phone to a pile of laundry, opened the shades and let the sun detain him for a while.

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