Sunday, December 03, 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Apparition Poems in Jacket 31

I have some new Apparition Poems up in Jacket #31.

Also in Dusie and OtolithsMany thanks to the editors.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Pigs and Planes

I don't believe in poetry.
It's a slant that wavers
around different patches
of sky, or mud chucked
on slats of a sty, or it
could be the pig, or the
plane, farmer or pilot,
pork-chop industrialist, air-
traffic controller. The one
thing it isn't is itself.
To say poetry is poetry
is a rank offence, post-
misdemeanor, sub-felony,
the sort of sin credulous
people pray against. Pigs
you can believe in, & sties.
Planes you can believe in, & skies.
I don't believe in poetry.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

why america is a sham democracy

It's simple: NO FREEDOM WITHOUT HEALTH. If you're not healthy, you can't be free. The fact that millions of Americans get sick, stay sick & die because they have no health insurance makes America a sham democracy. We're the only civilized nation in the world that doesn't offer some kind of coverage for everyone. I'm ashamed of this. If I can find something to do about this, I will. It's a joke & it ain't funny.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Talking Back to Jean-Paul Sartre

Sartre, in What is Literature?, brings up poetry in this context- people have been asking him why he doesn't publish more poetry in his journal. Sartre says he wants signification, which "throws us into the world," rather than "word-things" that separate us from the world. But Sartre clearly doesn't know enough about poetry, or "the world" in a general sense, to make an intelligent judgment about it. No one conversant in Keats, especially, would mistake poetry for "choosing to lose."

This is a quote from What is Literature?:

Poetry is a case of the loser winning. And the genuine poet chooses to lose, even if he has to go so far as to die, in order to win...he is the man who engages himself to lose..he is certain of the total defeat of the human enterprise and arranges to fail in his own life in order to bear witness, by his individual defeat, to human defeat in general.

Sartre never explains what exactly he means by "lose": lose in love? Lose money and starve? Lose notoriety and live in obscurity? He makes the fatal, immature mistake of treating art like an Olympic sport, in which winners are crowned with gold metals and losers slunk off into interminable, media-eschewed shadows; and that kind of crass, vulgarized treatment expresses the dark side of twentieth century lit-crit, and of twentieth century treatment of the individual in general. Century XX had little sense of the individual as unique and/or irreplaceable; and the poet-as-individual, at his/her best, subsists as both.

Friday, March 03, 2006

"content with a new form?"

This new form may be useful or aesthetically valid; as with the Beam form, I can't say; but it is new. The poem works like this: two stanzas of ten lines each; moving from the middle lines (final line of stanza one, first line of stanza two) & moving up for stanza one, down for stanza two, the poem is a kind of mirror- the lines "answer each other", with slight variations & refinements. Here's the poem in question, "hair":

"we" were in english class, next to being next to
each other.
a matter of adding a porch or rolling in mud.
she said to me: "you're caring"
sounded to me like: "you're a fairy"
the hair became a kind of relic, the way
a once-used metaphor might (in its' "it")
leaving high school was a "volta" i'm still
combing out.
combing out with meredith's mud-brown hair.

combing out with meredith's mud-blown hair.
combing out.
leaving "leaving high school", another "volta"
now, becoming a once-used metaphor (out & "out")
that way is a hair-relic, "me" a heretic; her tic
sounds to me like: "you're a weirdo"
she said to me: "you're a weirdo"
a matter of adding peach or rolling in hay
with each other.
"we're" in a separate class, "late for the next one".

What could we call this? I'm at a loss. Should I start a series of these?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Baudrillard's Conspiracy

Got around to reading Baudrillard's Conspiracy of Art. Baudrillard's main thrust is that after Duchamp, the banal got tangled up into art, creating what he calls a "transaesthetic" society; a society where everything could possibly be art. Warhol then took this to the extreme by turning "art" into a mechanized routine, taking out everything transcendent in art and replacing it with plain quotidian artifacts, or the simulacra of these. Baudrillard claims, staying on the surface of things, and accepting surface-level narratives of art history without inquiry or objection, that this influx of banality has destroyed art as we know it, and that art has reached an advanced stage of "nullity," with the art community frantically trying to pretend that this hasn't happened.

Significantly, Baudrillard never mentions poetry, so it's clear his critique is aimed at visual art and visual artists. Nevertheless, I took his rather vulgarized critique somewhat personally. In Language/ post-avant circles, there is a somewhat prevailing ethos that "anything can be poetry/make a poem." Certain experimental poets have used this as an excuse to substitute banality for transcendence, nullity for depth, simulation for authenticity. Authenticity, of course, is a dicey issue here; we get back to the lyric "I" and long-standing issues experimental poetics is trying to avoid; I mean authenticity in the sense that it implies a certain formal rigor, a commitment to aesthetically and not merely conceptually or politically valid poetics.

Pursuant to this reading of Baudrillard, I've come to the conclusion that the bravest thing a poet can do now, paradoxical as it seems, is to go backwards. Towards form and narrative. Going back per se is the bete noir of post-avantists in general; but, as Baudrillard noted, going forward into even more vapid banality isn't much of an option either. A brave retreat towards formalism and narrativity is a valid move because, as you can't step in the same river twice, a narrative-thematic movement would have to create new forms to reflect new circumstances and contexts. We wouldn't be going back in a merely imitative or Centrist sense; we'd be going back in our emphasis, our preoccupation with content, specifically as regards crafting a poetics out of an engagement with the most serious issues poetry and philosophy can address, the primordial ones. Philosophy in poetry, dialectic or not, nullifies whatever the transaesthetic impulse might be.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Diana Magallon: A New Poem




2.- I’m a lonely man
The eyes of the forest
The leaves of the forest
The knees of the forest

I’m a lonely man

I’m a lonely man

( milks

I’m a lonely man


More Diana Magallon on PFS Post.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Ode On Jazz

Physical beauty, Formal Rigor of God—
spiritual beauty, Economy of God—
Natural Will, Transcendent Will,
Facile Will in all its’ dismal “there-ness”—

Piano broken chords breaking down space
like watching bits of paper collect,
contained in a 12-bar blues; root
notes you tend to lean on,
or maybe a honking minor third,
a harmonic multi-colored sharp…

Follow your compulsion into flurries,
clusters of connecting phrases,
then a pause to sanctify as the progression
resolves after lingering on the fifth
for the appointed time—
pentatonics mainly w/ some suspensions,
sheets of sound, there it is...trademark leaps
only found in Coltrane,
like watching a rainbow erupt
out of the placid bowels of street-lakes,
sparrows in the gutters,
Eliot-esque alienation syncopated
impossibly high & mighty…

Repeat the repetition now into major scale—
Ionian gold, major-third suspensions again,
almost midnight for tremulous trees,
also hipsters, flights of birds, rabbis
in the wilderness as blues ends; here’s a quicker
quirkier jarring bit to cut
your teeth on…

Base bottom notes natural like ferns,
ride the ride cymbal like musical fellatio,
roll w/ rolls & kick-drum ejaculations,
what Hart Crane heard in bridges,
only blues (so bridge seldom comes),
stasis achieved nicely replicates movements,
bowel, kidney, heart-beat, daring snare of lip-ness,
thickness, quickness,
get it all out for all of us into the brick-laden city,
mutter of exhausted midnight buses
as vibrato notes shiver, miniature
solos on the toms creates energy
of emptiness among the weird abundance,
concluding w/ roll on the snare, now bass
also investigates metaphysical space,
not so much implacable as inexhaustible
eruptions; spring of autumn,
autumn of spring…

Seasons of balance, compromise,
away from extremes; Middle Path exteriorized,
oh piano on a minor seventh which bespeaks
longing for a more ethereal world,
elegiac as the last apple of October, eaten
by a Halloween camp-fire, beyond blues
of Earth into cadence, dying fall of pure moon,
ravaged, torn from the throat of persistence,
mute existence destroyed completely
and on fire, a universe of fingers & mouths,
looking down the tide of Death into eternity,
square-shouldered & erect,
freezing into whims of Ultimate “there-ness”,
beyond ordinary notions of quotidian abyss
in one long sitting pow-wow peace-pipe corn-cob
wholesome dinner of Voidness,
but insinuated only to drive away singularity….

Jazz is plural,
they give you a space, show you its’ contours,
allow you to move around & drown
if you want over hilltops of remorse, created
by Love or dolorous longing & especially
Central Parks of the soul & intellectual Bordello
life cut & pasting its’ bleak outline over rooftops
& bluebirds


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