Nugatory Wax Milk Goats

for Kasey

It is human nature to stand in the nucleus with a disfigured wax forehead,
mewling and praying in our goathair suits. Paxil
passes into the breast milk, rending law and opinion nugatory.

Glyph, gnarl, gnash, gnaws, gnome, goads:
the magenta waxworks seraphim stick like rapacious leeches,
milking a he-goat into a frenzy.

Nudities, nugatory, nuisance, numbness, numbness, days are numbered:
the children are emanations of their parents, and dependent on milk emanations.
The milk emanations are dependent on the pulsation of caprice.

The wrinkles progress among themselves in a phalanx, inconsequential and unconducive.
A steadied wolf-fish takes out the acrimonious goats’ milk with a slouched shamrock pea,
soft as butter, soft as down, soft as silk, yielding as wax, and tender as chicken.

The crusted wax bean varies the disqualified ball-peen hammer with a leggy hobble skirt.
A nudist’s nudities trek the nugatory flashing discount viagra, and fade breathlessly
while taking another gobble of the randy-cake.

The man raises his head and looks at me with yellow goat eyes:
“you work in the bad old fashioned way of modeling wax dolls – singularly superfluous
with proudleduck contours.”

Glass, wax, silk, wool, hair, feathers, and even wood – each with an emerald
turkey foot at the top, like the milk of our superlative loveliness.

This nugatory acidophilus milk ferret wants out, emitting catcalls in the unerect carnuba wax.
The hyoid Fermi also warbles with dispersive suffixation — comb, trash and dead bees strained out.

I have been digressing for all that. Let us return to our goats – their treacle and their infomotions. Gluten, albumen, milk, cream, protein; treacle; gum, size, glue; wax:

the little capricorns, vascular soothsayers, shoot off their sprouts.

Encounter with a Crocodile

You may be familiar with this post that appeared on the Poetics List on 7/19:

I am very disappointed in POETICLIST.
I am a poor Korean writer suffering a deadly Korean environment.
After barely solving the translation barrier, I sent the message with
my homepage
where my texts are.
But getting no reply makes me so sad.

I just want to communicate with people who love expermental
literature, since there is nobody in Korea.

I went to look at his website, and wrote him back:

Uh Ak, I think you are an AWESOME poet. I’m glad you complained
because otherwise I might not have noticed your poems.

I’m an English teacher and I have a lot of Korean students. They
seem to be having a good time in New York. Why not come and check it
out here if Korea is such a deadly drag?


What I didn’t add to that email, although I thought to, to show that I am not instantly credulous, was the line, “You write better than Kent Johnson!” Although I may have had some suspicion along those lines, I thought that it would be interesting to play along with an interesting story… and if “Ak-Uh” (my misalignment of whose name BK Stefans didn’t hesitate to mock) were indeed real, that would be an even more interesting story.

Gary, tackling his own suspicions, did some detective work, and found out that 1)Ak-Uh means crocodile in Korean, 2) that the site was indeed maintained by a Korean person and a Korean host. He also found some evidence of the work of another Korean writer whose poems seem to have influenced Ak-Uh’s. Of course, none of this evidence discounts the wily machinations of Kent Johnson, or some other copycat hoaxer.

So… I was delighted to receive this email from Ak-Uh:

Thank you for your reply.
I am really in bad situation.
I am 20 years old boys.
I have been rejected from EVERY college I applied.
I want to know more details about your education.
I really need somewhere to escape.
oooooooooooo sad….
Nada! Nada!

This appealed, of course, to the do-gooder educator in me, and I wrote back to him:

I teach ESL at Pratt Insititute — have you tried applying there? They actually have a writing program that is pretty good. The only problem is that it is quite expensive.

Did you know that some people on the Poetics List think you are a hoax (a fake — not really Korean)? There is a poet named Kent Johnson who writes as poets from different countries. Some people think you are him or that you are trying to do something like him. For example, they are saying your name is strange, and not a real Korean name — that it means “crocodile.”

Why don’t you send me some proof that you are you? Then I can tell everyone that you really exist!


And he replied (it’s useful to note here that the “time sent” indicator gives evidence of a time-zone with a nine-hour difference):

My real name is Sungyon, Hong ???.
Ak-Uh is my pen name.
It means crocodile as you indicate.
I use Ak-Uh olny because of its sounds.
How can I prove the big theorem that I am the person I am.

It is so weird situation.
I attach some pictures of mine.

And you can read the korean version of my works at www. xqqqx. com.

I don;t have money to study in USA, I really want to.

I prefer writing to other kinds of art, since it can be done without money.
I am in the Peking university preparatory course.
Professors here are disgusting. They have heart-less ideas about art and study.
All I am doing is learning Chinese 25hours a week and exams 3 times a week.
I can’t afford to compose a new poem.
Furthermore, I must join the army as Korean law unless I am in a college.

The most important fact is I am going to be fired from that course.


This was quickly followed by another email:

I omit something to tell you.
Ak-Uh is not good enough at English to write English mails like this.

I am the best friend of Ak-Uh. But all the messages were Ak-Uh’s. I
traslated them with my poor English. I am a mathematics-major-student
I attach my picture too for clarifying.

I think Ak-Uh is a gifted artist. He really need some help.
But he doesn’t have money. Ooh, it is a very difficult request…

Anyway I and AKUH are waiting for your explanation to other people
that Ak-Uh is
Ak-Uh. Someone who wants to lie never write this kind of mail asking for help.

(I won’t appear in later mails. You understand that ‘I’ is AKUH.)

I then wrote asking him if he would mind if I posted his pictures and emails on my blog. He happily gave permission. So… here’s the evidence; you can judge for yourself. I also wrote asking him to send his phone number in Korea, where he will return next month. If he’s not real, then I salute the hoaxer for his techno-affective bravado. If he is real, I would like to help him find a way to study in the USA.


SWOONING* over Kasey’s new poem and thrilled out of my coin bra** to be its dedicatee.

It reminds me of a slightly loonier version of Nick Piombino’s “With Open Arms.”

*I’m also swooning because I’m “doing a cleanse.” Didn’t eat yesterday except for some shake, some liquid minerals, an apple, a few almonds. It’s strange to be doing this because my life, like any life, tends to be exceedingly food-centered, and I consider myself “a good eater” — perhaps a less admirable quality in a 41-year-old woman than in, say, a 7 year-old.

**I don’t actually have a coin bra, although I would like one. I’m currently at work on two (count ’em!) tassel belts, though, whose photos I will post upon completion. Perhaps a homemade coin ‘n’ tassel bra to follow? Squeal! Excitement!

Josh writes in his Cahier:

Some of us seize upon the cultural production of these developing nations (Chinese martial arts epics, Bollywood musicals) because they show us what happens when a culture that has not yet shed its precapitalist foundations encounters the transforming power of a freetrading capital that demands in an ironic recapitulation of Whitman, “Unscrew the locks from the doors! Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!” To us a Bollywood film looks like camp for the reasons Nealon describes: it discovers the surplus value in an outdated mode of production (in this case, the Technicolor Hollywood musicals of the 50s and early 60s). But in this case our ironic embrace rides atop the fullthroated embrace of an entire culture whose ambivalence about capitalism’s solvency (I use that word in both its major senses) is palpable, so that in an odd way to be a Bollywood fan is to be somewhat in touch with with energies that become radical when transferred from the a scene of “high” capitalism to our own late-late capitalism. (Any thoughts on this, Gary?)

I watch all the same movies that Gary does, so I suppose I’m equally qualified to respond to this. I have to say that when I take pleasure in a Bollywood film, I’m not consciously wallowing in “the transforming power of a freetrading capital” as encountered by “a culture that has not yet shed its precapitalist foundations” [it suddenly occurs to me that there is no such culture — certainly not “ours”, but anyway…], nor have I ever thought of my excitement around desi flicks as being “in touch with the energies that become radical when transferred from the scene of, etc.” While it would be overly ingenuous to say that I have no “cult stud” perspective on Bollywood at all, because of course I do (I was once a grad student, after all), the fact is that I watch these movies because, well… I dig them. I get off on these films in an much less analytical way than Josh describes because they are better. The colors are better, the songs are better, the actresses lovelier, the actors more dashing, the clothes more stunning. I wonder also about Josh’s hypothesis about discovering value in an outdated mode of production — the Bollywood films I most like are themselves from the 50s and 60s, only ten or twenty years behind Hollywood, if that, and their power comes not only from technicolor and tunes but also from the genre’s cultural roots in Parsi theater, imported Shakespeare, and, of course, the Mahabarata and other epics. More than anything, these films return to me an atmosphere I knew as a child in California in the 70s, replete with ashrams and saris, and my own ardor as a little girl taping songs from 30s musicals off the radio or “tap dancing” down the street holding my mom’s hand.

I think American musicals became obsolete because the performers got too far away from vaudeville, which demanded a range of talents. How many American celebrity film stars these days learned their chops before a live audience starting at the age of four? How many of them can sing and dance? How many of them can even act? I’m not sure because I don’t, frankly, go to see these films very often.

I’m sure that today’s NY Times story, Neuron Network Goes Awry, and Brain Becomes an IPod must have been emailed all over the world countless times today. Don’t we all experience musical hallucinations in at least a low-grade way all the time? I mean, I certainly do. There are dominant, very insistently present songs. One very common one for me is Kabhi Aar Kabhi Par, a much remixed classic Bollywood tune that, once you’ve heard it, is dizzyingly unshakeable. Others:

Huss/ Fess by Rakasat Sout el Houb
Nokta by Rachid Taha
Bhanwara Bada Nadan as sung by Asha Bhosle

It’s hard at this moment to get Kabhi Aar Kabhi Par out of my head, or at least turned down, enough that I can think to write.

Who else has an inner-aural experience of one’s own poems, or favorite poems by others, as a well-worn groove of often-repeated, unwilled, heard lines? Or even just a simple collocation that comes back and back and back? Do you love it or does it drive you mad? Or both? The fundamental question is, why do our brains want to be so incantatory, anyway?


The porpoises fling up their
orange underthings; swaying
in the wind, their heavy rotation
is brief and horrifying,

full of bright scrawls, of thin
and lacy garters.
There isn’t a place
in this world that doesn’t

sooner or later drown
in the porridge of upload,
but now, for a while,
the bustier

shines like an undertaker
as it floats above everything
with its yellow cognitive science.
Of course nothing stops the flimsy,

black, curved porousness
from bending forward—
of course
restlessness is the great undertone.

But I also say this: that thongs
are an invitation
to undervaluation,
and that undervaluation,

when it’s done right,
is a kind of porousness,
palpitating and porphyritic.
Inside the tight fields,

touched by their rough and spongy noises,
I am washed and washed
in the porridge
of satin delight—

and what are you going to do—
what can you do
about it—
flung, orange negligee?