Though Wessington has outlived his usefulness as a literary character, I want to salute his production of
meter, metonymy, multi-entendre, antisthecon, critical theory, insanity and wisdom. So long as this page survives, it will prove the rebuttal to those who say self-published internet poetry isn't top-notch.
When I started with KW, I had been thinking about Henry Miller's hostility as a literary character. I thought of Rimbaud slipping semen and sulfuric acid in the drinks of friends. Honestly, I thought that the desperation of Thomas de Quincy combined with the literary rigor of Keats might reward me. At times, Khakjaan was simply a thinly veiled mouthpiece for his creator, yet wearing my Wessington catsuit made me KW as much as Daniel Day Lewis is some 19th century fucker or other when filming.
Ultimately, Wessington is a contrarian. As a character, he was an excellent outlet for every flicker of anti-social thought that manifested in my ephemeral whimsy (to imagine the lives of others is to summon their loves and hatreds). Over time, I realized this was an asset insofar as the critical component of Wessington was concerned, but otherwise was a major liability for me, his creator. Quite honestly, I've squandered his/my precocity for verse through impatience, self-aggrandizement and a zeal for telling talentless fucks they're talentless fucks.
The world isn't a meritocracy. Nobody wants to help an asshole, no matter how rad an asshole he may be. Just like those movies where some baby evolves a huge head and is psychic and winds up trying to enslave humanity: nobody cares if he's the next step in evolution—who will root for a jerk? (He also dies in the end) I will insist until the day I die that KW's Toylit was my 1st masterpiece—a part of me believes this will be recognized someday—yet the pragmatic part of me recognizes that my poetry is way too good for the self-published internet and will never be recognized as such due to the enormous number of enemies KW has made over the years.
Of course, what's missing in all of this is that KW has given you hundreds of high quality poems that range from hilarious to tragic. Even now, I feel real bitterness over the non-recognition of Toylit by basically every supposed 'online lit mag' that purports to publishing/knowing the best of the best. Yet, I realize that Toylit primarily appeals to other writers (and lost internet porn seekers) and that these writers have their own websites. We are all drinking from the same well and the institutions that should recognize the best of us, will never take us seriously. There are times when this angers me, but I'd be a liar if I said Toylit didn't take me to my ultimate potential as a craftsman. I've met so many talented writers online (outsiders without pen names) and I've learned so much from them (avoided at least 40 years of mistakes and dead ends), I have no regrets. I wrote a news poem every day for over a year. I went from clumsy iambs to semi-abstract metrical schemas in 3 years; from literalism to genuine poesis. There is no substitute for writing a rigorous daily poem when it comes to building poetic might. I can write any poem I want now and TRULY, that is the only reward that matters.
As I sorted through boxes of books a few weeks back, I found the original edition of Toylit—circa July, 2000. It's a tabloid with a staple in the middle that I distributed through the restrooms of San Francisco. I signed my name to each poem with the expectation Michael Krasney would call and ask me about the future of avant garde poetry. Ha ha. Some would say my poetry degenerated; the original Toylit is filled with semi-confessional verse and dreams made literary—vivid and image dense with memorable characters and manifestos. Yet it was too literal for me. Somehow, I had to remove my 'self' from my Orphic voice (don't be a dumbass and say it's not possible). KW became the ultimate expression of my underground spirit. Yet if we stay in a metaphorical cabin, we are as likely to become the Unabomber as Nathaniel Hawthorne. My KW skinsuit is a cabin and Toylit is my post office. Nate returned to the world after learning how to write. If I stay in this cabin, I will become a literary Ted Kaczynski. Like him, staying ensconced in this metaphorical cabin will mean I'll never reach my true potential as a writer—even if my craft continues to improve. I was going to have Wessington commit 'virtual' suicide, but I was worried many of you would think it was a cry for help from his creator. Therefore, I salute you in this open letter. Those I know personally, I thank you for your support. Those of you who started off as random-ass web visitors before becoming regulars, I greatly appreciate your attention and taste. Thank you. I hope you continue to support rigorous, independent verse. Will I be tempted to don my KW costume and write another news poem? Of course. I reserve the right to do that, even though it is bad for me. Every poem KW writes is a poem I can't send out for publication.
If I could leave you with a final KW thought though, it's this: stop coddling twaddle and twaddlers.
Final Salute from my KW Skinsuit,
Follow us on Twitter @Khakjaan
Return to Toylit
Subscribe to Toylit