Quink® is an ink for dip and fountain pens
produced by Parker in little cartridges
for my first fountain pen, when I was first
in college. I used it for poetry because
art is eternal, assignments are temporal
and pencil erases itself too easily.
A quink is a libation after a long
slog, but it’s a quirk of mine that I
abstain from such delights as offer me
oblivion—there is no “there” there for
my weary feats, my feast of wariness—
I fast in my own fastnesses from drink.
A quink’s a kind of goose, an anser anser
to a questing question no-one’s posing now,
the greylag, with its cousins now domestic,
for thirty-six hundred years a source of food
for us, the apex predators, who pray
for plenty and regard it as our right.
A quink’s a whimsical variant of “quack”?
Well anyone who’s heard a duck request
a little room, or call some ducklings in,
or serenade itself in failing light,
would have to have had several quinks to think
a duck would so disgrace its kith and kin.
A hypothetical fundamental particle,
the quink is whimsically a preon, part
of a quark, and not a fresh acid-set cheese
but rather a sub-component of a hadron,
part of a nuclear family Shame’s Voice
could only dream of, but could never have.
A quink’s a slang term for a nerd, which is
a slang term for a dink, or dork, or geek,
a grind, or swot, or weenie, wonk or bookworm—
perhaps from one of Doctor Seuss’s critters
inhabiting If I Ran the Zoo since Nineteen-
Fifty—but only a quink would make that leap.
—One of three Finalists in MacQ’s
Quink Writing Challenge
Publisher’s Note: While corresponding with the poet about this playful poem,
I got the idea that publishing a commentary with it would be cool. And he was kind
enough to indulge me by writing the following:
When I first saw MacQueen’s Quinterly had invited writers to submit poems using the word “quink,” I thought it a nonce word like “vorpal” and dashed off a poem and submitted it. Later that day, having finished a poem about my grandson’s newly rebuilt school, I came back to the MacQueen’s Quinterly website and, for the first time, read the full announcement. It included six definitions of “quink,” and the first, which begins as my first stanza (above) does, called to mind my first attempts to write in ink. Even in college I aspired to be an ink-stained wretch.
Since I had already written one “quink” poem, I titled my second try “Quink Again,” and kept on plagiarizing definitions for successive stanzas. When I reached the fifth definition, its invocation of hypothetical fundamental particles reminded me of James Joyce. He punned incessantly, and more especially in Finnegans Wake, which is the source of the word “quark,” a parent particle for the quink. Two of those puns seemed relevant to my poem: he named himself “Shame’s Voice,” and “Germ’s Choice.” The connection I felt with the former might only be clear to people who recognize Joyce’s ambivalence towards Ireland and Irish Catholicism, which in its own way resembles the wave/particle ambivalence of the nature of photons. Being born and bred a Utah Mormon, it resonated with me like a sub-atomic zoo of vibrating strings, and I just strung myself along.
retired a number of years ago from productive work as a public librarian, and now makes his living as a private poet. He is more commonly known as sinned, or PunDMC! in poetry circles, where he cycles helplessly like a Poe caught in a maelstrom. By some quirk, of fate or of personality, he has never been identified with any living being. If you seek him on Google, you will not find him. But if you giggle him, you may hear him.