I celebrate quadrangles, and sing octant figs,

And what I sluice you shall sluice,

For every macho cornflower belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my ellipsoid goddess corpse,

I lean and loafe at my ease observing a parsimony of groggy tapirs.

My yam mannequin, every simplistic screech of my verbose cockatoo, form’d from this zenith, this dreary saffron,

Born here of globules born here from middlemen the same, and their

transferable dewdrops the same,

I, now thirty-nine years old in manic pokerface begin,

Hoping to cease not till the beginning of the pus ballet.

Bazaars and sequiturs in abeyance,

Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,

I gossip for good or bad, I permit to speak at every provocation,

a baroness without spleen but with intuitable combinatoric amber.


Houses and rooms are full of gibberish, the shelves are crowded with


I breathe the barricade myself and know it and like it,

The tupelo object order would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.

The paraboloid sandpiper is not a feathery grub, it has no taste of the

skeptic opthamology, it is odorless,

It is for my hobbyhorse forever, I am in love with it,

I will go to the falconry by the euphemism and become illusionary and swirly,

I am mad for it to be in contact with me.

The parasol of my own codpiece,

Echoes, ripples, buzz’d whispers, water ornament, silk-thread, crotch and quizzical neuron,

My hurricane apothecary and tangerine hub, the beating of my extramarital trashy cornbread heart, the passing

of canaries and air through my seraglios,

The sniff of green sandals and debacle formulae, and of the tangential workspace and

dark-color’d roughish indignity, and of chamois cheese,

The sound of the belch’d sucrose of my carnival pilow loos’d to the juicy filly of

the sinew,

A few light negligees, a few archetypes, a reaching around of dogfishes,

The play of grout and duress on the rancid dossier as the dilettante galaxy wags,

The porridge alone or in the rush of the vertical soup, or along the oncoming lifestyle

and bilabial revelations,

The feeling of gimmicks, the full-noon opossum, the bronco of me rising

from the retinal galaxy and meeting the cheerleader.

Have you diagramm’d a thousand quail much? have you diagramm’d the aromatic vibrato much?

Have you bemoan’d so long to learn to read?

Have you felt so mainstream to get at the meaning of poems?

Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of

all poems,

You shall possess the vinegar scrotum of the grizzly homily and the modest conceptual sun, (there are millions

of suns left,)

You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through

the eyes of Portia, nor feed on the suicidal rodeos in books,

You shall not look through my enigma either, nor take things from me,

You shall listen to all sweetish dementia raccoons and filter them from your stumpy buckle.


I have heard what the logarithmic Daedalus was talking, the talk of the

heterosexual osprey and the tsarina sailfish,

But I do not talk of the heterosexual osprey or the tsarina sailfish.

There was never any more entendre than there is now,

Nor any more nectareous cupidity or goldfinch furniture than there is now,

And will never be any more turpentine lubricity than there is now,

Nor any more limbo nibs or angelic emporiums than there is now.

Urge and urge and urge,

Always the tsunami urge of the world.

Out of the epithelium opposite equals advance, always avarice and

lampoons, always sex,

Always a silky coca of identity, always irksome nomad bumblebees, always a breed of firefly.

To elaborate is no platypus sprite, learn’d and unlearn’d feel that it is so.

Applicable as the most certain applicable, bony in the glossary, splotchy, braced in the virtual puma chili,

Stout as a bogeyman shiva, affectionate, inane, electrical,

I and this entomology sunshine here we stand.

Clear and sweet is my apricot pumpkin, and clear and sweet is all that is not my irksome nomad bumblebee.

Lack one lacks both, and the sandalwood is proved by the retrogression,

Till that becomes sandalwood and receives a scimitar in its turn.

Showing the pique and dividing it from the smelt laughter vexes laughter,

Knowing the perfect elsewhere and equanimity of things, while they

contradict I am remorseful, and go bathe and admire myself.

Welcome is every cedilla and cowpony onus of me, and of any woman swanky and chronic,

Not a teaspoonful nor a choreograph of a question is superbly impeccable, and none shall be

less divisible than the bobcat tang gingko.

I am erasable–I exult, clasp, exhibit, bend;

As the hugging and loving beef ocarina sleeps at my side through the night,

and withdraws at the misnomer of the day with a troubador grunt,

Leaving me propellors cover’d with gambit peppermint swelling the house with

their syllabus,

Shall I postpone my contraception and flamboyant syntheses and scream at my severe boa quasiorder,

That it retaliates by grazing after and down the obligate chowder,

And forthwith ciphers and shows me to a cent,

Exactly the value of one wad teat and exactly the value of two wad teats, and which is ahead?


The daily world verbals far.

Believe in my heat — how their art divides on you.

Dance of the greeting draws to the bottom at an end like the crane of music.

Behind the smiling veil their frontage dissimulates.

It overloads us all with the tension and in it one is astonished, which is subjacent.

A fear that luminosity is to surmount us.

She discovers that which is dissimulated.

Et elle fit que tous, petits et grands, riches et pauvres, libres et esclaves, reçussent une marque sur leur main droite ou sur leur front,

et que personne ne pût acheter ni vendre, sans avoir la marque, le nom de la bête ou le nombre de son nom.

C’est ici la sagesse. Que celui qui a de l’intelligence calcule le nombre de la bête. Car c’est un nombre d’homme, et son nombre est six cent soixante-six (666).

Some experimental remarks: macaw adjusts the prickly clay.

It is a separate thing but it binds the music to this world.

In a balance it advises the alarm clock of the body.

Bursting with nimble pride, the love water dances among toenails.

The water and solar molarsplendor dappled me, the such deep ocean, in which your vague NAKED coralreef lips nestled on brown sand words.

Your clay melodic waves.

A night clock starred up my puddle pool of corn.

A woman links amorous worms with the dance of the loves.

Their hands opalescent, music in their odorous silver-plated bones.

The joke in the verbalistic colors of fresh bagels, their elbows postpone supple in the air.

Your curves of belly equal in direction to the clouds.

Your long hands hold the ground. Your pupils turn over now.

I have basins on my fingers and money on my hips, and I would like to dance.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I believe in Wesley Clark. He makes the right sounds but him being an ex general is very cautionary. If he fumbles I will probably switch back to Dean, but I dont expect either of them to be any more of the righteous than any other politician. We talking nuance and degree here.

I am however desperate to get Bush out of there and unless he does something I just cannot stand, I believe Wesley Clark is the tool for the job.

Lets do it.

Even in tears it is a photocopy. It slips by in the worlds, the impact bright burning coal of comets, with the extreme forging mill in the heart of the mass.

However, it is as narrow as a candle.

Memory of the old secrecy, a verdant hot brown river in which he sky is an elbow lapis lazuli lazuli.

Dissimulated, rolled up in the foam rubber and the fog.

Open up like lotteries, as a queue, like a falcon.

My dance is a gift and a victim and an honor and a load.

It increases brilliantly.

The fear usually begins to build itself up around lunch time, and by the time I have to go to bed I am but a shell of a man. It’s just that distracting. When my friends come over in the evenings, I can bearly talk… I take my pulse every few minutes to make sure I am not going into a panic. Sometimes my hands are so shaky by the end of the day I can’t steady them enough to take my pulse… this really does scare me, because then I have no idea if my heart is well or not… It would be missing beats, and I might be well into a heart attack because of my shaky hands.

It’s most embarrasing at school, because I take evening classes, and some assignments require the written word… well by this time I can bearly even write my own name… people sitting next to me ask what’s wrong but I can’t give them an answer. No one can…

Three cornered green and yellow succulent rises up, glistening with hexes, hexed vexation.

The legs glow green in the universe.

I don’t know much about intercessory prayer.

Angelidiocy: the bunny is the object of study, then the victim, then the leader, then the drugged baby.

The doll: she is the guardian of the brain in despair. The science men put their spatulas to it.

The woman whose job it is to guard the brain wants to stop the ‘ineluctable’ march of progress.”

Took pics of a red tent spider which was in full view, surprisingly, for they are usually hidden and well-concealed in one of the many dried leaves that are suspended in the middle of the web. It may have just spun the web, and had not went around collecting leaves yet. It was a pain to photograph – near it was a suspected black ants’ nest, and so I kept having the irritating black ants crawling around my legs and back, biting their little bites… the spider was also right smack in the centre of the web structure, so it was difficult getting the camera close enough for a good macro without destroying its web.

Discovered these clusters of small pinkish round balls that were stuck onto the freshwater plant stalks, by the Eco-lake. They look like eggs, but of what type of animal, I am not sure.

I don’t know much about intercessory prayer.

Heaven is not a gypsy tearoom.

Heaven is not a gypsy tearoom.

Heaven is not a gypsy tearoom.

Life is not a succession of moonlight and music, and every night is not a fiesta.

Feathered rumps mooning the good is an idiot. And wonderful

So boring, that golden cloud called the hand

Sure beats the question of whether there are two skulls of me.

Barbarians are mostly women: distant ululators in the metro.

His heart ticks like he spells my goal… to be an octopus

Aubergine fishnet stockings… Gargoyles

Kiss the pixies goodbye, they’re never coming back. They’re going back to the fiery pits of hell they came from. Their sweet smiles mask sharp teeth and black hearts and their innocent sparsely-clad bodies are an invitation for people who follow Christianism to ravage them. They are sirens whose only allegiance lies with the murderous little beasts humans like to call children. So say farewell and watch their backsides disappear into smoke while you stand and reminisce on the good times you had.

The past is to rather pleasantly bury lines in sand dunes.

An understanding is to form a terrible thing.

The linen of the bed of the enemy is a suitable adaptation and sometimes it smells so good.

If clothing of the revolution obtains to us, taste the nakedness of the monuments.

My fluctuations of step of skirt, by the veils increase and take me on a magic voyage.

“Us” trembles those windripples remaining in the shower of the paddle.

Sand tears small marks, grinding in the wind.

Comprehension is overrated.

I celebrate quadrangles, and sing octant figs,

And what I sluice you shall sluice,

For every macho cornflower belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my ellipsoid goddess corpse,

I lean and loafe at my ease observing a parsimony of groggy tapirs.

My yam mannequin, every simplistic screech of my verbose cockatoo, form’d from this zenith, this dreary saffron,

Born here of globules born here from middlemen the same, and their

transferable dewdrops the same,

I, now thirty-nine years old in manic pokerface begin,

Hoping to cease not till the beginning of the pus ballet.

Bazaars and sequiturs in abeyance,

Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,

I gossip for good or bad, I permit to speak at every provocation,

a baroness without spleen but with intuitable combinatoric amber.

This woman is Nada Rizk. Gary has the tape of her with her photo above on it. It’s not great, but not awful, either. Gary freaked out when I read him this, which I found via Google:

Female singer convicted of collaboration with Israel

The Military Tribunal has convicted in absentia a singer who performed in Israel of collaboration with the Jewish state and sentenced her to 15 years in prison at hard labor. Nada Rizk was also fined LL2 million for “serving in the (Israeli) enemy army, contacting its agents and entering the country without prior permission.”

The verdict was handed down Thursday and posted on a court bulletin board Friday.

In February, the court accused Rizk of frequently visiting Israel, giving an interview on Israel radio on Oct. 24 about her singing career, and of marrying Abdel-Basset Ahmed bin Oudeh, an Arab-Israeli whom the military claimed worked for the Israeli intelligence service, Mossad.

Rizk is believed to be living in Israel.

Her brother, Beshara, has been serving a six-month prison sentence in Lebanon for collaboration with Israel and the South Lebanon Army, a militia that helped Israel police the border zone.

Here’s a poem I wrote before going to Paris. It came to mind because I was doing my laundry today:


The Muses are turned gossips


       come, then

             curds and cream

drowning flies

       with rueful face

             come, Muse

the very cat

       the wet kitchen

             remains of quiet

dirt and gravel

       linen horse by dog thrown down

             or study swept

or nicely dusted

       stockings mended

             snug recess

all crushed beneath

       of course check’d apron

             mar thy musings

jelly or creams

       or butter’d toast

             eldest of forms

tended the little ones

       oft the pins

             my mother’s voice

to fold, and starch

       why washings were

             and sent aloft

thy silken ball

       the sport of children

             the toils of men

This is the last thing I’ll say about all this and then I’ll shut up

I like my poets loony and orphic — can you blame me? Maybe that’s why Bernadette Mayer and Joanne Kyger are more important to my poetic universe than, say, Joan Retallack or Susan Howe — both of whom I nonetheless respect and aspects of whose work I unabashedly imitate.

Retallack and Howe are academics — interesting ones, to be sure. My preference for the likes of Mayer and Kyger has, I suspect, a great deal to do with my resistance to the growing professionalization of poetic culture. My roots are in punk, in grassroots, do-it-yourself modes and communities. Language poetry at its outset was such a model community, although it evolved into an entirely different beast.

Of course, I have no problem with “professionalization” when it comes to actual professions such as law, medicine, and education, where “professionalism” means putting the interests of the client, patient or learner foremost, and behaving according to a commonly-agreed upon ethical code.

Literature and other forms of cultural production should be exempt from such requirements.

A writer can be politically committed or ethically sound and choose to have those commitments and ethics reflected in her work. I might value the work all the more because of it. But that does not make such commitment a requirement, because writing is not a profession. Even when people do it in exchange for money it is not a profession the same way that law or education or medicine are professions. It is different because “reader”, in the case of literature (as opposed to propaganda or texts whose primary purpose is to “inform”) is a wholly different category from “client” or “patient” or “learner.”

This is one reason I don’t buy the role of critic as a “more knowledgeable” person with “better judgment” who screens works of literature for the reader-consumer. Nor do I believe that as poets we need to be concerned with “principles” (except, of course, in our lives), or have an overweaning need for “prose we can trust.” If anything, our work seems to come out language’s inherent untrustworthiness. That’s exactly what we are working with so productively!

Unlike journalists, we are not obliged to be “responsible” to our readers, or to tell the truth. We are not, as it were, fiduciaries for our readers. We are not even obliged to be fiduciaries for our own ideas, for their clear and precise conveyance. If we want to express something awkwardly or obscurely, we have every right to. Writing is the only place we have to fight for “true autonomy” — whether we can achieve it or not. (Think of the Buzzcocks here, if you please.)

Let’s try a thought experiment. Try to conceive of literature, as I do, as a giant SANDBOX where we can play however we want as long as we don’t hurt anyone too gravely. Take it as a given that we play within the confines of pre-existing meanings and with some (occasionally oppressive) familial supervision. Aggressive behavior is, for better or worse, natural and unavoidable in such an environment. There are those who will choose to play cooperatively, others who will sit in a corner autistically counting sand grains, and still others who come whapping at your sand constructions with a shovel.

In the sandbox, you’ll see natural tribal corrective behaviors such as Brian’s (“we need to build better, more structurally reliable sandcastles”) or mine (“who are you to set the standards and indeed what are your motives for trying to so?”) or Kasey’s and Stephanie’s (“No fighting, guys.”)

Personally, I will always stand up against what I see as a repressive call for “standards” in the literary sandbox. Doesn’t mean I don’t have standards or very strong opinions about what is worthwhile and what isn’t. I just don’t see the point of imposing these notions on others. Why not? It has a great deal to do with my world view — what’s the point? As long as I get to play in the sandbox, I don’t particularly care whether I am the boss of it. And, as Brian pointed out in his lovely if a leetle beet condescending review of _V. Imp._, my world view is heavily colored by a (to him) “tiring” sense of reductio ad absurdum. What alternative, I wonder, does he propose? Reductio ad technos? And what does that get us but more — sigh — “progress”?

It seemed like Brian could see neither the forest nor the trees in _Spin Cycle_, just a few bits of lichen, a gall, and maybe some termites here and there. Hence his myopic, nitpicking example. He’s a great reader, but maybe he could learn to read certain texts more holistically.

The first thing that we learn as ESL teachers is that in the theory of communicative competence there are two poles: fluency vs. accuracy. No learner really ever manages to achieve 100% perfection at both ends of the communicative spectrum. ESL teachers, therefore, have to learn to tolerate and work through a lot of ambiguity to try to understand exactly what it is a learner wants to communicate. It is helpful, but not necessary, to be able to speak the native language of the learner as well, so you can understand her errors from the inside out. I don’t think Brian is really fluent enough in Chris’ conceptual language to be able to read his book holistically and fairly.

Let me now posit a somewhat outrageous assertion. For poets, one’s native language is in some sense always a foreign language –definitely a site of struggle. Murat Nemat-Nejat has written much the same thing. The struggle may be visible to various degrees.

Clear prose may be evidence of a kind of “mastery” (O most loathed word) over that struggle. On the other hand, it can be a method of ssssseduction or persssssuassssion, an impressive feat of formal, grammatical, and rhetorical clarity masking the fact that the ideas it is so “successfully” conveying are not really all that (to some readers, anyway) interesting, useful, or even accurate. I do have a specific essay to exemplify this in mind, not one of Brian’s BTW, but I won’t be so petty as to name it. Backchannel me if you really want the dirt on this.

At any rate it’s very difficult to say anything conclusive about the value for poetry and for poets’ prose of what we first called “clarity” and more usefully amended to “precision.” Does “precise” mean the same thing as “principled”? This is a problem of language. Would the poetic world really be a better place if we managed to eradicate faulty nominalization, comma splices, misplaced modifiers, wordiness, and unclear anaphor?

I’m not exactly saying that it wouldn’t — just that the assertion that it would reeks to me of Age of Enlightement- or Academie francaise-style calls for standardization and hence a very deep kind of psycholinguistic repressiveness. A comma splice in its onrush may for example say something that the mere words of the sentence cannot I know you know what I mean.

The push for clarity and correctness also reeks to me of, yes, I’m going to say it, a kind of problem of class. I’m not necessarily talking about actual economic class but of class identification and of how that identification is made manifest in language. One of the many reasons we appreciate a Brian or a Jack is for their aristocratic bearing, their diplomatic, even princely, language, and their willingness to further the art with many generous acts of (sometimes, but not necessarily economic) largesse.

Chris, on the other hand, figures himself as more of a working-class superhero, a Harvey Pekar deluxe, a “continous peasant” whose story is much more remarkable than Pekar’s in that it has taken him into conceptual and linguistic realms that I doubt Pekar would ever have access to. I simply take Chris’ prose on different terms than Brian’s or Jack’s. Am I guilty of making excuses for it? Dunno. Certainly, more than Brian’s (though not more than Jack’s, whose idiosyncratic combination of the fey, the learned and the blueblood feels almost priestly), it meets my preferred criteria of “loony” and “Orphic.”

For those who would wish to disregard the biographical coloration of my comments, I can only say that it is impossible for me to divorce the writings of these people from my personal experiences of them. “The person comes before the writing.” Well, the last thing to which I would ever make a claim is… objectivity.

Therein lies the differance.

“Prose you can trust.” What does that mean when everything — really everything — is subject to radical doubt? Frankly, I wish I didn’t feel that way. I wish I could sail ahead through life full of clarity, conviction, and certainty. But how can I? Can you?

1) “The darkness surrounds us.”

2) “Sooner or later, everyone disappoints you.”

and on that cheery note, I’m off to go play in the sandbox…

The Word is Becoming a Jackson MacLow Poem

Here’s how yet another viagra spam (yummy!) sneaked through through my e-mail today:

Subject: Illness

accumulated imbalances bessemer pop bowels hove microphone scrolling than crossers

tents powdering counsellors horseflesh theatricals adversaries bobbie blurring tee exculpate

courter belgrade accordant satisfy scattering bender scow i explosively boundlessness

polemics evened cremating taxonomic ibis eulogy 10th scrawled tetrafluoride accosting

postmultiply braes boldly ternary thawed microsecond ethos hopelessly taxation austria

acquires possessive sealer tasting poll sculpts playwright alcott aquarius positive

popularization hopple creating blumenthal bluffing cranky creditably achieving bookstore possess

braze tempering sane asilomar tampon adduct illusive tatty seaboard adductor

addend medal tapered acolytes hosted pore botulin breakdown polyploidy apr

athens portended tags plenipotentiary popularizing criticizing matriarch humidifier courtroom boner

anabel augean crossbars exam blunderings tarnish portland testicular schematically talks

plumbate astm hostages methodology plunging adjectives booklet boxcars tact hypothalamus

My world view, I suddenly realize, is waaaaaaay too Machiavellian.

This is one reason I am all too ready to attribute to people the worst possible motives.

Sigh. At least they have motives.

Song of Self-Doubt

Am I really nothing more than a “self-centered, inept monster”?

Should I just give up writing altogether?

Vote in the comments box below. Remember, comments can be anonymous, so, lurking enemies, this is your chance!