Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Pan-Hybrid Scintillation

“Let language alter you!” proclaim these two itinerant
professors who alone address “pan-hybrid scintillation” –
not the sort of specialty one commonly expects to think
about until one undergoes the pixilating spill of the collision
with their influence. “Collision with their influence” is just
the sort of untoward way of putting it you’ll learn from them
is not perhaps upon reflection how you would be best advised
in bowdlerizing situations to co-vandalize your lingual will:
for instance like attaching “co” to “vandalize” to “lingual will”
or using adjectives like “bowdlerizing” with such plural nouns
as “situations” or to wrangle with the arbitrary senselessness
of “pixilating spill.” But with the introduction of pan-hybrid
scintillation in your psychic gullet you can feel the downward
pull at once of awkward phrases culled at random from the not
particularly consanguineous productions of the mind you find
by not much caring what you find – like “psychic gullet” or
“the not particularly consanguineous productions of the mind”.
Eventually if you follow their example you will run the gauntlet
of inapposite configurations of vocabulary while developing
a nose for better and less flatulent locutions: for example, never
mixing “run the gauntlet” with “locutions” you decide for no
great purpose other than the patent goading terror of not
coming up compulsively with adjectives that manage to evade
cliché despite their awful clatter in the ear (like “flatulent”
tied to “locutions”). When you are done at last with explications
they provide for parsing out the flight of the most morbidly
resourceful underpinnings of the implications of your most
voluminous ejaculations you’ll have learned incontrovertibly
and in the most collaterally endo-genitally macro manner
that the way to keep from grabbing words committing flabby
verbal violence is: never say what they would say. And that
the best solution to not knowing what to say is silence.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

A Lovely Experience

Be skeptical when you hear stories about derring-do.
Remember the red herring story’s a red herring, too.
Someone named Cobbett in England in 1805 bent
our ears with the tale that by rubbing red herring scent
over the trail in a hunt as a boy he’d distract all the dogs
from the scent they were tracking: red herring stink fogs
the olfactory sense in a canine’s prodigious capacity
to pick up smell: but Cobbett’s claim had the veracity
of all the bloody hell you’d told your brother you’d done
on the weekend, the awful spectacular transgressive fun
with which you were determined to shock: that you’d
kidnapped a nun but you couldn’t reveal all the lewd
and astounding particulars you had pursued after that
with the sister: no, not with the virtuous cad Pastor Blatt
always ‘round, with his nose to the ground, seeking evil
to fuel his next sermon in lurid detail and medieval
morality for which he’d long been egregiously famed,
packing in every illicit detail, with every perp named!
And that’s when your brother said, “Look to the skies
at the moon. Is it a red herring?” This scattered your lies
into chaos, somehow: strewn like confetti into the cold
emptiness of your interior, your old assertions, once bold,
were so feebly inferior you barely knew that the moon died
that night. Nothing could be understood or identified
with any proof, wrong or right. This shot through the dawn
of your consciousness, gun through a roof: you were gone.
You now knew eternal existence proceeds beyond breath.
Being is nothing at all. It’s a lovely experience, death.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

But They Will be the Ushers at the Wedding

An Investigation of the Critical Mind
It occurs to me that even when I'm fiercely immersed in
something – hmm, when am I ever that? – I can't think even
of a remote example: okay, let's say, when I opine about
Henry James' 'late' writing, and try to explain what I love
about its aural effects, I suppose I look for easy and pleasurable
ways to reinforce or, en passant, add credence to a claim, but
all these observations are made in passing. What they serve
is a poetic intent: to fashion a clarion call, not not to "make
a point" (indeed I’m almost only ever talking about a single
theme: unknowability), but to have it arise out of whatever
is engagingly at hand. If I find myself suddenly thinking up
an argument with a more scholarly scent (I suppose that's
happened here and there), like a flash itch to see something
in terms of what I understand to be semiotics – I play fast
and loose with that, too: the aim is never consciously to define
anything, but rather give a visceral take on the sort of minute
limited breath of a thing that tends to interest me. I love playing
just a few notes. Example: choose any two contiguous sentences
James wrote after 1910 – like this, from a letter to his niece Peggy:
“I glory in the piling up of complications of every sort. If I could
pronounce the name James in any different or more elaborate
way I should be in favor of doing it.” It’s perfect, personal
and completely James. A kiss and a handshake. I am driven
by whim to find and settle on whatever caters to the whim. But
when the whim arises out of an immersion as odd and wide
and full of suggestion as mine is in Henry James, it will be a whim
with a built-in mission – certainly to underscore my view of
the 'whole' – that is, my overall feeling called up by reflecting on
something – someone – I love. Everything I write, like each photo
I take of New York, amounts to a love letter. But as with anyone
I love, I really do welcome departures – upsets – incursions
of something unexpected. With whatever or whomever you love,
you always want, I think, more truth. So it's not an onanistic
return to a fond fantasy. The thing you return to is alive,
not dead, and you seek in it and bring to it evidence of the quirk,
the unforeseen, the untoward kick and slap. Actually, James'
language gives this to me all the time. It's not some dreamy sea
of cadence; it constantly surprises; at its best it follows the mind
so closely that it recreates it. I find simply by charting my reactions
to it, I establish as much of a relation with it as I can imagine
having. Not that it may not rivet me to learn the facts about
the Dreyfus Affair or Belgian soldiers in the Great War,
but they will be the ushers at the wedding.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Nemesis and Genesis

Nemesis of life –
Genesis of art:
He benefits from strife,
where all the ladders start.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Homage to Quentin Crisp in advance of November 21st, the date in 1999 he died.

I’m never terribly aware of what day or date or sometimes even month it is I suppose because (in addition to not believing in ‘time’) I don't have a life which depends very much on knowing those sorts of specificities. So I'm not a little surprised and charmed at the synchronicity of my having come upon a piece I wrote about Quentin Crisp for Middlebury College's magazine 17 years ago, right as the date of the anniversary of his death, November 21 (1999), drew nigh. It made me think memory is biological. Which of course it is. It also made me want to YouTube it, which I now have.
I talk about all that in this video so I won't go on about it here. I will however add what I didn't say in the video which is that my dear friend and Middlebury College library archivist Joseph Watson found the piece for me (I couldn't find my copy); it was the photocopy he sent me in 2015 I came upon. I have become convinced Mr. Watson can chart the provenance of anything written down or published in any place and at any time in the history of our species and be as likely as anyone living to effect the placement of a pristine first edition of it in your hands. Thank you and a big MWAH! to Joseph for his unerring success in this realm. (text in photos below.)

Friday, November 16, 2018

What You’ve Thrown Away

Imaginary friends, discarded
once outgrown, upended
and forgotten by their blood-
and-flesh companions whom
they’d shown and who they
thought had also shown
a love which offered them so
unconditional a fit that it was
unimaginable they would ever
need a love additional to it.
But now these randomly
abandoned beings have begun
to find equivalently yearning
others of their kind. New
intimacies salve their burning
losses. Imagination glosses
its effects and predilections,
finds new ways to ride the bends
of its fluidities, affections
and desires. Floating past each
other on their river, they begin
to feel the quiver of a possibility
of love they’d thought was gone.
Might dreams love dreams?
Now they do. Which means
there may be hope for
what you’ve thrown away,
and therefore hope for you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Her Heinous Sin

Sometimes I’ll see her wander in,
adorned in unfamiliar veils
and scarves and hat
and wonder where she possibly
could have acquired all of that.
I didn’t put them there,
and no one else has favored her
with his or her attention that I know of.
She’s long not had a flow of dough
to spend on anything. And what
accounts for all the flowering
of new appurtenances sprouting from
her skin I’d never seen sprout up before?
Whatever has afforded her return –
its what and why and when –
we can discern she’s ventured forth again

to test the air for more than temperature,
although how cold or warm it is,
is of surpassing interest: she seeks
whatever signs she can divine align
with hope – and if the world is genially
temperate to her today, might that, she
wonders, signify a welcome, bidding her
to stay? She wonders if the Cosmos ever
will forgive her for her heinous sin.
Or if it simply isn’t interested
at all in what befalls her.
So far it hasn’t been.

Friday, November 9, 2018

If She Isn’t Here

She doesn’t need dreams or boats.
She floats her schemes in breezes –
The mad zephyrs she wheedles out
From her despair and disgust over
what I have done when I’ve fussed
with her hair. She’s never touched
anything other than air – not our air,
but the air she creates in her secret
enclosure that I’ll never see,
although oh – how I wish it were
open to me! I’d love just a glimpse
of wherever she goes when she’s
gone to her lair. It’s from there she
irradiates out into space via thin leaky
streaks her response to the words
that the thing of me speaks, which
she hears all the time since I can’t
not intone what I type, while I type,
almost always in rhyme. She doesn’t
like rhyme, or anyway mine.
Each streak is a reflex – a burst
of aversion against the mistakes
I apparently cannot not make when
I write what I like in a verse –
which ignites her displeasure as well
as my own – further, curses my cause:
to regale her. She’s never not told me
I fail her. So why does she want me
at all? you might ask. My task,
and our bargain, are fearsomely clear.
If I do not draw her, she will not appear.
With what repercussions? Egregious,
my dear, and with no help from Jesus –
morbidly fatuous, fatally sly.
If she isn’t here, then neither am I.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

seven weekends past their prime

Did they plan to commit a mortal 
sin of calamitous crime? Or were 
they mere shenanigans that, 
seven weekends past their prime,
began devolving irredeemably 
into unpalatable slime, resolving 
then before they were themselves
disposed of to collude and frolic in 
and bollix up and spoil the arrival 
(and most probably survival) 
of some unsuspecting dummy
who had brung his hungry tummy
to be fed. Balsamic vinegar and
olive oil waiting waiting waiting for
somebody’s final piece of bread.
Soon we’ll all be dead, they said.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Affective Poesy

with a stronger than usual appeal to listen to the video (which, heaven save us, even has a postscript), since this poem feels like it marks new territory for me and I couldn’t seem to not need to say stuff to somebody about it. So if you can bear being that somebody, I’d like it a lot.
Two days ago I took a crash course in Affective
Poesy and I think I’ve got the knack of it at last.
Affective Poesy requires forty-five lines separated
Into five nine-line stanzas. Visually any line
Should seem about the same length of Another.
Each line’s first word Flush left is in the upper case,
And never lower. You can however Govern whether
Other Nouns and Verbs and Parts of Speech be
Crowned in upper-case as Well. Content mostly
Will not much Engage: protecting you against what
You had Very badly Feared, and at other Private
Moments hoped, might Spell your Destiny: to dash
Into an under-handed, under-fucking-standing
Of the under-Fucking-taking of the care and
Application of a Pearly quantity of Sickeningly
Slick Pellucid fluid of the human male, a true spin
Through the famous halls of Montezuma, and an
Amplitude of everything that fails: and falls to Seeing
That another otherness be Gently excised from the
Room to be politely Shown the Door, sent out to
Implore The rest of any- and of Everything in this
Rapacious Urgency to learn what it had not Yet
Learned: to do Without the glory Promised it But not
Delivered By Saint Anna Plume-de-Lune From whom
We Thought you’d learned sufficiently the reason
For the Ogling Mumbah turning his Attention far
From what he’d thought that he Was here to bless,
Confess – when at that Unrepentant Moment you
Said Yes, you’d fill the Coffers of each strange new
Tent raised in the jungles and the deserts which
Appeared to Harbor organized talk therapy for all
The endlessly Repentant winners at casino coin
Machines. The beans and rice of it! To think there
Was a way to live That didn’t strategize to make
You Do what you were sure you had To Do to live!
To think! To think at all becomes a kinky slinky
Correlating uppity capacity to render an acute
Neurosis, like a flaccid acidosis of the spirit Veering
To and fro between, among the psyche’s Three
Presiding Needs to please itself too well. Nothing
Ever breaks that spell. Some say it quells Their
Rheumatiz quite well. Some say it’s hell. Some
Say it’s an inordinate attempt to Be: to pre-Select
To go-and-see. I think it’s all affective poesy. You
should try your Hand at it. It’s meant the world to me.