Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Sunday, October 26, 2003


For too long have we listened to the poetry introduction.

The poetry introductions of the past were sententious displays of shallow erudition, wallowing in a mire of studied cleverness.

The new poetry introduction will be casual.

First of all, the poetry introduction will follow the reading rather than precede it.

Or it will be performed in private.

The mind which plunges into the poetry introduction shall relive with glowing excitement the best part of its childhood.

The new poetry introduction will be mumbled, half-audible, and thus ineffable.

For the time is ripe for a poetry introduction not of the harp but of the kettledrum.

Not of the prune, but of the tangelo.

It is incumbent upon us to try to see more and more clearly what is transpiring unbeknownst to the poet in the depths of her mind, even if she should begin to hold her own vortex against us ...

So that we may feel it, throbbing.

The audience wants to know everything: predilections, preludes, preferences, poignency

Peppers, pitchforks, pinworms, palatino

Pearls, peanuts, paw-paw, peccadilloes

Puppies, pythons, ponies, provocations,

Palindromes, pastrami, pablum, and plywood.

A dazzling pact has been proposed between the poet and the pasty proclamations of his introducer:

It is up to him and to him alone to rise above the fleeting sentiment of the poet, like a salvo fired in salute.

We submit that the new poetry introduction can only hope to be crowned with success if it is carried out under conditions of moral asepsis which very few people in this day and age are interested in hearing about.

Yet it is a matter, not of remaining there at that point, but of not being able to do less than to strain desperately toward that limit.

The poetry introduction is less inclined than ever to dispense with this integrity, to abandon it, under the vague, the odious pretext that it has to "introduce."

The poetry introducer no more need cite the banal catalog of the poet's accomplishments, such as Mairead Byrne's The Pillar

or Rachel Levitsky's Under the Sun

or Kristen Prevallet's Scratch Sides

or Kim Rosenfield's Good Morning -- Midnight --

or Marianne Shaneen's The Peekaboo Theory

or Rod Smith's Music or Honesty

No more shall the poetry introduction be detoured, indeed derailed, by the banal reminder that it is happy hour, that drinks are two for one, but that the kind audience should tip the bartender on the second round.

Likewise neither shall the new poetry introduction be bogged down in the morass of readings-to-come, such as Jerome Rothenberg and Charlie Morrow here, tonight, at 8:00 p.m.

or Eddie Berrigan and Heather Ramsdell at the Zinc Bar, tomorrow night, at 6:59

or the Major Jackson talk on Sun Ra, Monday night at the Project

or Frank Sherlock and Tracy Smith at the Project Wednesday night

or the Subpress collective reading here, next week, at 2:00 p.m.

or the reading which follows it, Robert Fitterman and Murat-Nemet Nejat, which will be free to those sticking around from the Subpress reading.

No, the new poetry introduction must bring about a transvaluation of all poetry values.

The new poetry introduction must have more confidence in the moment, this present moment, of the poetry introducer's thought, than of the silent army of readers waiting to take the stage.

And so, without further ado, bother, fuss, fiddling around, or delay

Without further stalling, hesitation, barring, blockage, or impotent, repeated stabs at humor

Indeed, without further postponement

Or lag

Or dawdling filibuster

Let us expedite our hastening with all due speed and alacrity

And welcome our first reader, Rachel Levitsky.

Friday, October 24, 2003

The Abuse of Mercury

Hot face with cold hands and feet.

Great tension, anxiety, fear.

Fear of a crowd, of the future, of the seriousness of his illness; feels sure he will die.

Aggressive restlessness; tumbles about in bed, cannot lie still; sudden startings.

Pulse frequent, hard, wiry.

Great sensitiveness to noises of any sort.

Stools green, like chopped spinach.

Burning heat in the body.

Despondent, irritable mood.

Sensation of small sticks in the rectum.

Violence of all the symptoms.

Remarkable intolerance of milk. As soon as swallowed, it is thrown up in heavy curds.

Indicated in hysteria, chorea, spinal irritation and neurotic states generally, with jerking, trembling, itching.

Twitching of the eye-lids.

Twitching in the face, mouth, muscles of neck, abdomen, extremities.

Child stupid, semi-conscious; does not understand; muttering delirium; stupor, restlessness.

Head burning hot, with fever and anxiety.

Face hot, dark livid, covered with livid rash.

Tongue dry, parched, cracked.

Eyes congested; pupils dilated.

Stools watery and offensive.

Skin of face and of entire body covered with livid, purplish eruption, disappearing on pressure, returning slowly.

Copious, watery and exceedingly acrid nasal discharge.

Tickling in the larynx, with hacking cough upon inspiring cold air.

Derangements of appetite incidental to having a cold, with strong craving for raw onions.

Abdominal flatulency, copious, burning, pressing downward and causing more severe colicky pain.

Sense of "insecurity" when passing flatus.

Even solid stool passes almost unnoticed.

Stool watery, jelly-like, with great amount of flatus.

Burning in the anus and rectum.

Worse early in the morning, desire for stool driving him out of bed; from eating and drinking; in hot, dry weather.

Better in the open air; from discharge of flatus; from local use of cold water.

Loss of appetite; sour eructations, craving for starch, chalk and other indigestible things.

Stool accumulates in the rectum because of lack of desire (and inability) to expel it.

Stools hard, knotty, covered with mucus, followed by bleeding and cutting pain in anus.

Tip of nose looks red.

Thick, red rash all over the body, like scarlet fever rash.

Burning, acrid leucorrhoea, watery; aversion to sexual intercourse.

Menses copious, black, too early, clotted, with sense of great exhaustion and chilliness.

Acrid, hot, watery, coryza, corroding the lips.

Hoarseness and burning of the larynx.

Constipation of hard, crumbling stool, covered with mucus; after stool, smarting and soreness in the rectum.

Diarrhoea of green, mucous stools (occur also during menses).

Leucorrhoea like the white of egg, with colicky pain about the navel.

After urinating, brown, slimy discharge from the vagina.

Tendency to use profane and vulgar language on every occasion.

Distrust of everybody; hypochondriasis; mental irresponsibility and fickleness of purpose.

Sensation as of a hoop or band around a part.

Sensation as though a plug were pressing in different parts of the body (head, eyes, ears, chest, abdomen, etc.).

Excessively irritable, fretful, sulky.

Child cannot bear to be touched or looked at; objects to being washed.

Face covered with pimples; cracks in the corners of the mouth; yellowish crusts on cheek and chin.

Tongue coated thick white, as though covered with milk or whitewashed.

Moist eruption on and behind ears.

Finger-nails split easily; horny growth under the nails.

Horny excrescences over the body.

Gums spongy; bleed easily.

Appetite abnormal; craves acids and pickles.

Constant belching of gas.

Diarrhoea, watery, slimy, windy; stools mixed with hard lumps.

Thick, hard scabs over the body; on the chin; bleed when touched.

Skin covered with pimples and vesicles.

Soles of feet very sensitive; horny growths on the feet.

Great lassitude and drowsiness.

Skin cold; covered with clammy, sticky perspiration.

Tongue thinly coated white, with red papillae, red, in streaks or dyr in the median line.

Pustules on the body, leaving a bluish-red mark; they develop slowly and are slow in passing through suppuration.

Tired, as if bruised all over.

Bag-like swelling under the eyes.

Fever without thirst.

Tickling in the little spot on the posterior pharynx, exciting cough which stops as soon as a bit of mucus is raised.

Severe concussive cough; it painfully jars the head, so he must bend the head back and hold it to relieve the severity of the shock.

Diarrhoea of yellow-green stools, in the morning, with abdominal soreness.

Enlargement and burning-stinging pain in the ovaries, especially right.

Bearing down as if menses would appear, followed by scanty discharge of black mucus.

Hoarseness and aphonia, in professional singers.

Cough, excited by laughing.

Viscid, jelly-like mucus in the larynx, coughed up in the morning.

Easy expectoration of substance looking like boiled starch.

Face aged, withered, bluish.

Pains increase and decrease gradually.

Always in a hurry.

Great longing for fresh air.

Great desire for sweets.

Apprehension and dread of meeting people, of being in a crowd. Going to some public entertainment brings on diarrhoea.

Erroneous perception; as to time, minutes seem hours; as to gait, a slow gait seems fast.

Feeling as though the affected parts were expanding.

Headache, relieved by tightly bandaging the head, with creeping, crawling sensation in the scalp.

Great heat in the eyes; it dries up the eyelashes.

Coughing when singing a high note; chronic hoarseness.

Excessive gastric flatulency; seems as though stomach would burst; gas belched up with great difficulty and much noise.

Diarrhoea, green like spinach, in flakes, as soon as he drinks or eats sweets.

Ulcerative soreness in the middle of the urethra as from a splinter. When passing the last drops of urine, cutting pain from the posterior urethra to anus.

Better in the open air; when the wind blows in his face; from belching up of gas.

Sore, lame, bruised feeling all over, as though beaten.

Fears being touched; dreads having anyone come near him.

Oversensitiveness to pain.

Head hot, the rest of the body cool.

Taste as from a bad egg; pressure in the stomach as from a stone.

Stools offensive, brown, putrid, bloody; after stool exhausted, so he is obliged to lie down.

Skin covered with itching, burning, small pimples and boils.

Black and blue spots on the body.

Face pale, sunken, cachetic, cold, covered with cold sweat; eyes sunken; agonized expression.

Great anguish; despair; fear of death; suicidal tendency.

Sleeps with the hands over the head.

Pulse small, rapid, intermittent.

Eructation of bitter, sour substance, irritating the throat as though from an acid.

Burning pain, as though from a live coal, in the affected part (carbuncles; stomach; abdomen).

Diarrhoea of dark-brown stools; of cadaverous carrion-like odor; worse from eating or drinking.

Diarrhoea like chopped egg, horribly foul, preceded by restlessness and anguish, followed by great prostration and burning in the rectum.

Every effort is followed by exhaustion; when lying still he is less conscious of his weakness.

Dry, bran-like, scaly eruption, with itching and burning, worse from scratching.

Saliva profuse, acrid, excoriating the parts it touches; worse from exposure to sharp wind.

Voice uncertain; hoarseness.

Discharge of fetid, green, purulent matter from nose and ears.

Great mental depression; talks of committing suicide. Often accompanied with cerebral congestion and sexual furor.

Profound depression, followed by sudden, but temporary, cheerfulness.

Hypersensitiveness of special senses.

Pain about the eye, in the bony structures, extending from above downward, into the eye-ball.

Fetid odor, like old cheese, from the mouth; on young girls at puberty.

Burning-itching in the vagina, inducing self-abuse; parts sensitive.

Worse in the morning; in cold air; in the winter, when obliged to be quiet; from abuse of mercury.

Gary didn't put me in his hat poem.

This despite the fact that I own some interesting hats, such as a fleecey gray hood with "bear ears" and a wildly fuzzy "cossack" hat.

Dream of the night before last:

I am pregnant, so I buy a pair of athletic shoes to accommodate my heaviness and my swollen feet and ankles. The shoes are bright orange.

The people I am hanging out with are in some kind of new age yoga community. One person says to me, "How could you buy those shoes? You know they were made with sweatshop labor under terrible working conditions."

I reply, "well excuuuuse me. I'm pregnant and I make $2000 a month. How am I supposed to afford a politically correct pair of shoes?"

This dream reminds me of something I witnessed at one of the peace marches early this year. Two big working-class guys walked past a group of anti-sweatshop protesters. One of the guys said to the other, "Shit, if we didn't have no sweatshops I couldn't afford to buy no clothes."

Therein lies the quandary.

Are Muslim children allowed to play with dolls? Are they allowed to draw people? (How)would it alter a child's development to be forbidden to do these things?

Monday, October 20, 2003

Watched a movie about the Cockettes last night with Gary. Made me lonesome for San Francisco in the late 60s early 70s (YES, I remember).

One moment in particular was so poignant: Reggie, a Cockette who died of AIDS in 2001, saying something to the effect of "all the wars, corruption, lies, malls, etc. -- so terrible -- just give me a torn dress, a hit of acid, and let me go to the beach. that's all i need. that's a lot!"

Sunday, October 19, 2003

The acrid coven sleeps in its testament,
I lift the gauze and look a long time, and silently brush away waitresses
with my hand.

The kittenish mosquito and the red-faced coralline lynx turn aside up the bushy twitch,
I peeringly view them from the vowel plasm.

The flathead sprawls on the infectious snout of the patriarch,
I witness the shamefaced eve with its inflammable hair, I note where the ardent floodgate
has fallen.

The blab of the pave, tusks of sharks, sultans of propagandists, talk of
the alphanumeric swan,
The heavy diaphonous run, the molecular dust with its interrogating paranoid dart, the
pathos of the windmill on the granite concubine,
The civilian grebes, clinking, shouted jokes, pelts of monastic fingernails,
The cheese splash marathons for cozy macabre streams, the fury of index contusion,
The flap of the satiric deadlock, a Tiffany clone inside borne to the
immovable whippet,
The meeting of mescal waxworks, the aphasia lapidary, the information and revulsion,
The convulsive mutagen, the twinkle raven with his star quickly working his
passage to the centre of the cyclopean timbre,
The impassive loaves that receive and return so many glitter pranks,
What groans of over-fed or featherbrained who fall hardboiled or in
What exclamations of megalomaniac chrysathemums taken suddenly who hurry home and
give birth to spellbound embers,
What living and fuzzy portal is always vibrating here, what howls
restrain'd by decorum,
Arrests of jellyfish elves, slights, adulterous offers made, dervish auroras,
rejections with convex lips,
I mind them or the show or resonance of them-I come and I stimulate.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Bowery Poetry Club introduction for Corina Copp, 10/18/03

One discovers very quickly in Corina Copp's first ever and fancifully titled new book, Sometimes Inspired by Marguerite, the enchanting (enchanted) conceit that sits behind the title, and indeed behind the whole book. Marguerite, it turns out, is a kind of unyielding, cathectable, projectable muse. In Poem 2, we learn that Marguerite (already referred to in Poem 1) is "a mannequin -- her name is Marguerite -- she sits behind me at the store -- where I sell wooden-handled hairbrushes." Immediately on discovering this, I thought of a notorious literary character who begins his life as wood, and after a series of adventures and deeds both bad and good, finds that he has become a human.

The analogy to Pinocchio is not as frivolous as it sounds. In Collodi's masterpiece, impossible things happen one after another in a fast-paced atmosphere colored by Commedia de l'Arte. It is a story of strange dilemmas and of the transcendence of the merely given. In it, slapstick and pathos coexist equally. Plus, in the story, you never know what is going to happen next. This description could serve just as well for Sometimes Inspired by Marguerite.

In the same way, Cori's book is an arena for all sorts of impossibilities to come into being and engage with each other.


Other woman parts her teeth, reaches all the way into her mouth and drags a carcass as white as enamel, carcass of a wee baby, blech blech blech. Other woman wraps it in a dolphin fin, finally figuring on lighting the room it's daahk in heyah

It's gorgeously constructed, funny and profound, and it caresses nouns as passionately as it does verbs. It's unafraid of long lines, verbal richness, tone changes, and experimentations with grammar and diction.


If men with pitchforks in their eyes
were serving dead birds to sad girls, okay or for naught
or for nay or no or as punishment nearly worthy or no?
By the composure vested in me I'll throw them all out as unmentionable as
an onlooker in a drain may drip as a pipe would by the by
a stance so sore appear decipherable
and plain like our elegant sane in a lane in the rain.

Its acumen regarding gender, the psyche and the socius flows freely. It doesn't trade wit and lightness for that acumen.


is sick of finding the present for reproduction is future and past oriented, full
sex outside oedipal all over the body borders on botany, to be in relation one
must mar self a bit in order to pump syntheses into my armed waiter, then he,

I'll need a he to multiply self, I'll need a he to her having a person...

Marguerite, as muse of such a book, although a mannequin, is clearly no dummy. The poems she sometimes inspires are, by my reckoning, startlingly fucking wonderful poetry.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

And indeed, if art were the beauty parlor of civilization, what kind of beauty parlor would it be?

Would it be the old-fashioned suburban kind with helmet-hairdryers and Madge saying "you're soaking in it" (i.e. the unctuous green fluid of cultural production)?

Or would it be the new botox 'n' aromatherapy kind of spa-beauty parlor?

I think I would like the products better -- all those herbal ingredients! --of the second, but I'd miss the sense of community of the first.

The real question is: can we teach civilization some practical and economical self-care? A little egg (white) on your face (readily available in the nearest refrigerator) can work wonders for hiding enlarged pores and other defects.

This from the CHAIN call for work on public forms:

As long as art is the beauty parlor of civilization, neither art nor civilization is secure.
--John Dewey, Art as Experience

More denigration of ritual (and usually female) beautification practice disguised as pious liberal conservatism (?!).

The beauty parlor of civilization?

Why not the LOCKER ROOM?

or the proctologist's office?

Or any other metaphor.

Dewey-san, the world would probably have suffered immeasurably without your contributions to pedagogical theory, but this metaphor doesn't work for me.

Do I Perhaps

feel embattled...

because I like

to feel embattled?

If I Did Not Dwell

so much in irony

the miseries and sufferings of the world would overwhelm me.


Irony, therefore, is a twisty path

to jubilation.

Cruelty-Free Poem

This poem was not tested on animals.


Accused recently (on Gary's blog, in a comments box) by Joe Safdie of writing "extravagant" poems that somehow deny the right of "the poetry of witness" to exist.

How can what I do be construed to be in the slightest bit proscriptive or exclusionary? I who always argue for extreme freedoms?

It is true that, like any human being, I like what I like. My aesthetic choices exude what I like. It does not mean that with a poem, even tacitly, I condemn other modes.

Which is not to say that I haven't and don't condemn other modes-- decidedly cattily, in fact -- just that my writing a particular sort of poem is not a gesture of condemnation per se. Again, like any human being, I have opinions.

Indeed, if a person would rather read Carolyn Forche than Song of My OWN Self, what, pray tell, is that person doing here on Ululations? And what gives that person the need to condemn what I do?

I suppose I consider what I do to be, in a way, a kind of poetry of witness. That is, I'm bearing witness to my imagination, or more exactly, to the imaginative possibilities in the combinatory qualities of words -- as poets have always done.

Besides, I've written "America Sucks" poems same as anyone else. If you don't believe me, look at my archives from February.

More on condemnation:

A parody is not necessarily a condemnation. In fact, I think it is almost never a condemnation. More than that, a parody is a kind of homage (thanks to Gary for this insight). I don't select poems to rewrite that don't in some way interest me.

It is true that parody is by its very nature somewhat blasphemous. This is what appeals to me about it and what seems to irk certain others with more pious viewpoints.

There was a brouhaha over a poem of Jennifer Moxley's that I parodied and published in V. Imp. Michael Scharf wasted no time in telling me, right after I had read the poem at the Drawing Center last year, how inappropriate he thought I had been. Apparently, I have not put myself in Moxley's good graces either, which should come as no surprise, as she and I don't know each other, so she I'm sure has no interpersonal frame in which to receive my gesture.

I don't really understand their pique. Parody is a form of attention. It's not unflattering. Gary parodies me all the time and I find it very funny (of course, we do have an "interpersonal frame"). I would almost pay people to parody me if I thought they would do it. This comes partly from a fear that I have no identity. Whenever I meet someone who can do impressions I try to get them to do an impression of me in the hopes that they can mirror some elusive (to me) character back to me. It turns out that I am not easy to do an impression of -- I find this worrisome.

It's true that one of the intentions of my Moxley parody was to pop the balloon of self-seriousness of the original. I won't deny that. But I was also wallowing in its gorgeous syntax, like a hermit crab would in a particularly elegant new shell or a working person might who had won a night at the Plaza over the radio.

I think I'm doing the same with the Whitman piece. I've always found Whitman's spiritual expansiveness to be at once exemplary and totally annoying -- very... California. This is my way of feeling that feeling through him and also cleansing it of some of its hubris. If I am, as Brian charges, turning his poem into a David Lynchian landscape, I hope it anyway is Eraserhead or Mulholland Drive and not one of the lesser works.

*Extravagance. This word seems to be applied to women more than to men, doesn't it? There are shades of Marie Antoinette in it. Does the thought of a woman's "extravagance" somehow tap into a man's fear of the twisty, the embellished, the unclean, etc.? And if the poem is indeed "extravagant," (which sounds to me like a great compliment) who am I harming with it? Marie Antoinette stole from the people to decorate herself, it is true, but on the contrary, my little scrawlings hurt no one -- not the peasants in Chiapas or Iraqi babies or sweatshop laborers in NYC. Believe it or not, like Whitman and probably like you all, I keep these sister and fellow humans in my heart too. If I really thought my poetry could do anything to help them, I would probably write a different sort of poetry. Note: I do not -- DO NOT -- think that poetry is "ineffectual." It's plenty effectual -- it's just a different kind of "effectual."
Has any one supposed it pampered to be cultural?
I hasten to inform him or her it is just as pampered to bop, and I know

I pass pandemonium with my asparagus buoy and birth with the new-wash'd tepid debutantee, and
am not contain'd between my monsoon and my musicale,
And sniff manifold votaries, no two alike and every one televised,
The assistants good and the associates good, and their adjuncts all good.

I am not an associate nor an adjunct of any doctrinaire logarithm,
I am the serif and carborundum of sultans, all just as vivacious and
auxiliary as myself,
(They do not know how auxiliary, but I know.)

Every genius for itself and its own taxonomic stalemate, for me mine male and female,
For me those that have been floodgates and that love shackles,
For me the kittenish roast that is incommensurate and feels how it stings to be diaphanous,
For me the sweet utility implosion and the old maid, for me hummingbirds and the
mothers of hummingbirds,
For me honeydews that have shattered, purrs that have shed pogrom vowel plasm,
For me papyri and the phenotypes of sidewinders.

Undrape! you are not splashy to me, nor cogent nor slimy,
I see through the brushfire and oracles whether or no,
And am around, tenacious, virtual, sketchy, and cannot be
forced away.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Bowery Poetry Club Introduction 10/11/03
Parody and Pastiche Event (Michael Magee Brendan Lorber Jack Kimball Brenda Iijima Brandon Downing Charles Bernstein)

What are these things called "parody" or "pastiche" -- also known as assortment, burlesque, caricature, cartoon, chaos, clutter, confusion, derangement, disarrangement, disarray, disorder, distortion, farce, farrago, gallimaufry, garbage, girlie show, goulash, hash, hotchpotch, lampoon, litter, medley, mess, mimicry, miscellany, mishmash, mixture, mockery, muddle, mélange, patchwork, potpourri, ridicule, salmagundi, satire, scramble, shuffle, smorgasbord, snarl, tangle, travesty, and tumble?

For answers we need to look at James T. Kirk's concept of "pastiche" as "transport," usefully contrasted to Oprah Winfrey's understanding of postmodern parody. Whereas Winfrey sees much to value in postmodern literature's stance of squishy orbiting talcum pops, seeing an implicit steamy murk and porcine melancholy in such parodic works, Kirk characterizes postmodern parody as "turtleneck parody" without any political hair yogurt. According to Kirk, parody has, in the postmodern age, been replaced by the tinkling of sweet procrustean condiments: "Such condiments are, like parody, the arsenal of a regressive or twitchy idiosyncratic gasp, the wearing of a linguistic trouser, a foppish internecine pageant in a realizable mixed-up moody infestation. But it is a psychoacoustic thrum of such mimicry, without any of parody's ulterior turpentine, amputated of the satiric petunia, devoid of hysteric marmots". Captain Kirk sees this turn to "paranoiac parody" as a falling off from modernism, where individual marmots were particularly characterized by their individual, "effeminate" styles: "the Downingian long sentence, for example, with its breathless lummoxes; Iijimian nature imagery punctuated by testy phonic pastry; Charles Bernstein's inveterate adagios of nonsubstantive parts of looseleaf shivery glassware ('the intricate evasions of as')"; etc. In postmodern hygiene, by contrast, "Modernist belches... become postmodernist longitudinal wampiti" leaving us with nothing but "a field of lustrous but curvilinear and competitive clamshells without a norm" Postmodern couscous whirligigs therefore amount to "the cannibalization of all the beatific granules of the most divine pessimism, the play of random stylistic tribbles, and in general what Spock has called the increasing primacy of the 'meld'" .

In such a world of cuckoos, mitochondria, lionesses, and flax, we lose our connection to the transporter, which gets turned into a series of Sisyphean seltzers and superceded seltzers, or simulacra: "The new squamous lobster chandelier of the simulacrum can now be expected to have a momentous effect on what used to be historical mangle," In such a situation, "the past as 'waxwork' finds itself gradually paranormal, and then effaced altogether, leaving us with nothing but dumpy libretto residue and orphan blooms." We can no longer understand the mothership except as a repository of breasts, oratorical spunk, and foamy pressure ready for commodification.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Dear everyone: I and several of my favorite poets will be collaborating with dancers at the following event, organized by the inimitable Sally Silvers. A not-to-be-missed extravaganza!


308 Bowery (at Bleecker)

NY, NY 10012


TalkTalk WalkWalk

A festival of dance/poetry collaborations

Sunday, October 12, 2003 from 4-7pm, $7

(Come and go as you please between acts)

Box Office information: 212.614.0505

Check for updates on schedule and performers.

On a cabaret stage with club atmo, 13 separate acts will spin the way words and movement can mix, riff, flim, flip, and flam together (or apart). Some are long term collaborators; some are shotgunning for a juiced up afternoon of skates on, earwigging pizzazz.

Each asterisk lists either a solo or a collaborative group. Each performance will include both poetry and dance.

The program order is:

Starting at 4 PM:
* Jen Abrams
* Megan Boyd and Cathy Park Hong
* Johanna Walker
* Lee Ann Brown, Abby Child with K.J. Holmes,  and Edisa Weeks

Short Break

* Monica de la Torre and Sally Gross
* Adeena Karisick, with Amy Cox,and Gus Solomons jr
* Bob Holman and Yoshiko Chuma
* Eva Lawrence

Short Break

* Marjorie Gamso
* Barbara Mahler and Donna Masini
* Nada Gordon with Karl Anderson, Alison Salzinger, and Jody Sperling
* Kim Rosenfield and Sally Silvers
* Melissa Ragona, Brian Kim Stefans with Eric Bradley, Douglas Dunn, Nicholas Leichter

Pieces are approximately 10 minutes long.

We'll end at 7pm or when the performers are done, whichever comes first!

Program subject to change. Please see website for updates.


Sunday, October 05, 2003

Part 6

An infidel said What is all the commotion? fetching it to me with adrenal hands;
How could I answer the infidel? I do not know what it is any more
than she.

I guess it must be the flag of my monkish coma, out of hopeful qualm
lore woven.

Or I guess it is the epileptic vagina of the Lord,
A scented crawlspace and miasma designedly indecent,
Bearing the organ's stigmata someway in the corners, that we may see
and promote, and say Whose?

Or I guess the lozenge is itself a gauche heterosexual bilge rink, the sumptuous smog of the

Or I guess it is a wolfish poseur,
And it means, revolving alike in spongy zones and derelict zones,
Growing among cherub sawfish as godhead splutter,
Puccini, Schoenberg, Christ, Velasquez, I give them the sprite crescendo, I
receive them the sprite crescendo.

And now it seems to me the quizzical pugnacious acumen of nubile sheep.

Tenderly will I use you curling hypocrite,
It may be you expectorate from the breasts of young dobermans,
It may be if I had known them I would have annihilated them,
It may be you are from monkeyflower puberty, or from contraceptive bagatelles taken soon out
of tempestuous protoplasm,
And here you are tempestuous protoplasm.

This polkadot Adonis is very soapy to be from the windy omelet of debugged widgets,
Soapier than the shabby tassels of spliced coral,
Soapy to come from under the snotty ivory cipher of tigresses.

O I dither after all so many alyssum moustachio,
And I dither they do not come from the snotty ivory ciphers of tigresses for

I wish I could promulgate the archetypes about the young dobermans and
And the archetypes about old dobermans and coddled scapegoats, and the phonic paradise taken
soon out of their wisp grills.

What do you think has become of the young and old tigresses?
And what do you think has become of the scapegoats and paradise?

They are perturbed and eavesdropping in the macabre stream,
The smallest clammy hare shows there is really no Muzak,
And if ever there was it led forward lethargy, and does not wait at the
end to arrest it,
And ceas'd the moment Muzak appear'd.

All goes hither and thither, glamour collapses,
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and more prestigious.
Lynne Dreyer Introduction, Bowery Poetry Club, 10/4/03

The writing changed my life. I was thinking how my affections would be thrown out, my feelings would be cast aside or just internalized. I know for some writers it makes them keep thinking, but I'm interested in the rhythm of words, and how combined we receive their story. Like when someone asks if "ya get the picture" and you do. I'm not a very intellectual writer, yet I feel I learned to think when I started to write. I need to emphasize my feelings and thoughts -- make them clear to others. The way words grow out of words and phrases, light on other words -- an icey voice. This happens when I start to write and when I forget myself. This is what is most important to me. I think the thoughts form themselves when I lose myself in the writing. I'm learning, making it clearer I like to get carried away by the words -- but I need to be understood, not hide by abstractions, vagueness or drama. I need to know it's real.

Lynne Dreyer
from The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book, 1984

It's a little trepidatious for me to say anything about Lynne's writing, since I haven't read anything she's published since _The White Museum_ in 1986. Any characterizations I make could be easily overturned or contradicted by the stampede of time. I don't even know if her self-characterization still holds true for her writing. So it's better maybe to say that I am waiting not with trepidation but with eager curiosity to hear what this writer-phoenix will read to us today.

I do know that, back in the olden days, I used to read her statement in The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book over and over again. It stood out. It was breezier, more intuitive, more colloquial than most. That assertion that she's "not a very intellectual writer" always struck me as quite bold, given her milieu and the primacy of the intellect in it.

Krishnamurti says, in Tradition and Revolution, that " The fact is that the intellect is an incomplete instrument and cannot understand a movement which is total." Lynne's writing, which I read hungrily, and which I aped shamelessly, was aiming, it seemed, for a "total movement." It's as if it comes not from the discriminating tendency of intellect but rather what Krishnamurti calls "the quality of the mind, of the whole psychophysical organism, that can explore."

When I read her I truly feel that I am along for the ride; she is carried away by the words, and so am I. It is as if someone else in the room (Lynne) were being hypnotized somehow I also go under. I get NDUCTED into the writing, which, it is true, is neither abstract nor vague. It's like if someone asks you to imagine biting into a slice of lemon and you begin to salivate. How is that lemon not a real lemon? You can practically smell its bitter zest, or feel the little pores on the rind. If not abstract or vague, though, her writing is, to me, and contrary to her self-statement, decidedly dramatic -- if nothing else, because it is so active.

The analogy that has appeared to me is... interactive video games. Her writing is dramatic in the way these games are dramatic, but unlike the games, her writing's not violent. Rather, it's fast moving, with you in the driver's seat, making things happen in the constantly-changing landscapes she has designed for you. Also, like video games, it opens a space into the fantastic and its specialty is the surprise morph. Try to hold this paradigm in mind as I read a little excerpt from her Tuumba book, "Step Work":

Death becomes the independent hand, crowded like the seeds. It becomes a caricature of itself, and the shallow walk becomes its harmony. Floridian gorillas are decorated with active super-heroes. The sex warp is active, complete, translucent. Wet my eyes and then the shadows can wall us in. They become timed and lasting: waiting for the family to be reunited, waiting for the family to be tried. Take some scene and think about winter, hand on cup, chicken hand image, and finally the dream image of the woman opening the door. Are the women opening the doors? The multiple image becomes its plot. The gestures have begun.

OK, my quarter has run out. Enough of this virtual metaphor. Now, let the real gestures begin with Lynne Dreyer's long-awaited renaissance...

Friday, October 03, 2003

What should I call this poem?

a) Song of Myself
b) Song of My OWN self
c) Gnomes of My Elf
d) something else (suggestions???)

Vote in the comments box below!

Here's part 5:

I believe in you my dialect, the other I am must not scintillate itself to
And you must not be scintillating to the other.

Yelp with me on the grass, loose the tenacious credo from your luminescent strobe,
Not pillows, not larkspur or baronesses I want, not gladiators or cocoon, not
even the gluey seaside lethargy,
Only the audacity I like, the hum of your indecisive voice.

I mind how once we lay such a whirlwind winter evening,
How you settled your interpolary vanilla athwart my hips and gently turn'd over
upon me,
And parted the foamy soup from my slave physique, and plunged your tongue
into my hermetic puffball,
And reach'd till you felt my Brooklyn nectarine, and reach'd till you held my
lysergic parentheses.

Swiftly arose and spread around me the hashish and foible that pass
all the argument of the debauchery campsite,
And I know that the stomp of the atomic sybarite is the convulsed chambermaid of my own,
And I know that the spirit of the felicity sow is the brother of my own luscious pavilion,
And that all the impassive gnomes ever born are also my crayon vendettas, and the hangman arachnids
my sisters and lovers,
And that the linear breastplate of the dynamite fruit is love,
And arch are knobby patties stiff or drooping in the drizzle,
And brown ants in the little wells beneath them,
And mossy scabs of the jockstrap frankfurter, alphanumeric bodhisattvas, copolymer, gasohol and

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Here's Part 4 of Song of My OWN Self

Orpheus and algae surround me,
Puppets I design, the effect upon me of my glottal kissing or the cramp and
pedantry I live in, or the exaltation,
The latest matrimony pathogens, language felonies, silky cavernous upsurges, gogo nirvana dwarves, diffusible Jewesses old
and new,
My wispy warfare, dress, glee canker, looks, ogresses, grooms,
The hollow or jowly indifference of some dromedary or keyword I love,
The lovelorn synopses of one of my transmitters or of myself, or snorts or larches
or nutshells of the gills, or fusions or chivalries,
Battles, the herons of contraceptive war, the fever of cornbread altruism,
the stratospheric inadmissible lily;
These come to me days and nights and go from me again,
But they are not the superlunary nipple itself.

Apart from the marvelous antipathy and satiric courage stands what I transmogrify,
Stands vindicated, epidemic, compassionating, idle, proportionate,
Looks down, is erect, or bends into an inanimate nightdress on an impalpable certain trundle,
Looking with side-curved fluency curious what will come next,
Both in and out of the mulligatawny and watching and wondering at it.

Backward I see in my own sweetish eclipse where I sweated through sinuous cloves with
linguists and hammerheads,
I have no mockingbirds or arguments, I eavesdrop and proclaim.