“Forklift” by Pavement


If Forklift, Ohio had a superhero origin story, it would be this song. In my memory, it was an early-90s-Matt Hart-on-a-Wittgenstein-bender who said our new poetry journal needed “a name that does work—like ‘Forklift.'” As roommates, we listened to the compilation of Pavement’s early EPs often enough that the reference was understood. It was a token of the sensibility we shared, something beyond the DIY, lo-fi aesthetic: a belief in the expressive power of the noisy and nonsensical, the mis-appropriated and absurd, the brash and improvised. The name stuck, and we’ve been growing into it ever since. “Forklift” (the song) is not exactly a sing-along; it’s more like the recipe for a tasty Static Sandwich. Start with thinly-sliced, crackly, staccato guitar, piled on hissy, overdriven, spoken-word 1989-era Stephen Malkmus. Add an off-pitch “bah dah ba-da dah, ba-da dah, da-da” refrain, and a nice schmear of ethereal, “doo be doo” Casio-keyboard. Salt to taste. Prep time: 3:27. Also: are those typewriter sounds at the beginning?

Eric Appleby

eric applebyEric Appleby is co-founder, designer, and publisher of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking, and Light Industrial Safety, which has published since 1994. He has designed more than a dozen full-length poetry books, including Outtakes (Sarabande, 2010), a collaboration with U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Wright. He plays in the bands 7 Speed Vortex and TRAVEL, and lives in Cincinnati with his wife, Tricia, and their dog, Olive.

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