The second of four programs featuring Alabama poet, visual artist and musician Jake Berry. On today’s show Berry discusses his most recent poem, “Gossip (a comedy).” Together, Jake and Jack engage in a wide-ranging conversation that includes speculations on the “truth” of gossip and on its relationship to literary form. “Gossip (a comedy)” begins,
Let me tell you,
I never thought I’d say this,
but it just made me sick to think…
You don’t mean it!
She actually said that?
Why, yes, and that was just the start of it!
Clutter, clack and flutter
empty words about another
(another) thing she said was
he said he’d never even spoken
to her about it no matter what she said
The President said today during a press conference
that he would never spread malicious rumors
about his political opponents
To analyze this statement
we have assembled a team of experts
to discuss the possibly dangerous consequences
No, no never mind. I promised I wouldn’t tell anyone,
but I can trust you, so…
And thare it wuz all of a sudden, right in front of me.
I wuz damn neer skeered out of mah clothes!
Mah first grade skool teacher with a ruler in her hands.
Donny, she said, all lit up and whispy, didn’t I tell you
abut talking in class.
The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
(James, chapter 3, verses 6-8)
he comes up to me, wagging his tail, tongue hanging out. The happiest creature you ever saw. And it struck me, we are happy when we’re tame.
Part Two of Four. Recorded in Florence, Alabama.