I’ve been here since mid-April and there’s plenty of poetry all over. Some of it I see in person and some of it I see on the internet. More about internet poetry stuff later, I hope.
The places I go to see poetry in person, so far, are Vermillion (a bar and gallery), Elliott Bay Books (most prominent independent bookstore), and Hugo House (a writer’s organization).
I came to Vermillion for a cozy late-afternoon reading. It was either a Wednesday or a Thursday. I entered through the long white gallery. The audience was small and old and very supportive. I sat in the back and listened while smiling. The commercial space is in a nightlife area, across from thrift store that is animorphing into ugly condos even as I sip the $4 tequila-soda, in a religiously-calm moment after the performance.
at school people say things
i can feel myself turn inward
the escalation from ‘politely responding with terse expressions of acknowledgment’
‘feeling my face morph into something soft and wet while seconds turn to minutes turn to hours
turn to years and i am staring and nodding and smiling strangely and maybe saying “yeah” or
“uh huh” while internally moving at a speed of one hundred miles per hour and experiencing
feelings in a linear manner that go from anxiety to self-hatred to self- aware self-hatred to
sarcastic self-aware self-hatred to “what is going on” to “what…” to thoughts about myself in
terms of the current social situation to thoughts about myself in terms of some insanely large
context like forever to thoughts about myself in terms of myself to extreme feelings of
detachment to nothing while having already started to feel even more anxiety about the prospect
of tweeting said feeling, which is really many feelings, a poly-feeling, which may or may not be
explicable in 140 characters or less in a manner that is clear, enjoyable, and relatable’
my face feels numb and my mouth, i think, is open
someone smiles at me
i fall further into myself, screaming
All men are cops
cuff me Im guilty
cuff me Im guilty
cuff me Im guilty
Cunny Poem Vol. 1 is an archive, a complete archive, of Bunny Rogers’ poems posted on her tumblr Cunny Poem. As an artist, Rogers’ work focuses on the multiplicity of meaning inherent in objects such as ribbon, blankets, flowers (see her interview with Harry Burke in the latest issue of Mousse Magazine). This sentiment can be felt as well in her newest project. We can look at the book as an object. It is comprehensive. The rose ribbon, speaks to the cover, speaks to the badges, speaks to the dried flowers, speaks to the words inside. Brigid Mason’s illustrations are as haunting as they are beautiful, a horse minus a hoof, a riveting world of eyes and postures. The book becomes multi-dimensional in an extraordinary way, leading us to question what the book can become.
August 7th, 2014 / 3:00 pm
The well-respected, finically solvent and totally fun-to-chill-with advertising agency Droga 5 created these outdoor ads for the Coca-Cola Company, which recently appeared on the streets of New York City. They have a poetic quality, seeming to evoke certain characters and a unique Manhattan headspace. Longer than most written ads, and with an obvious, weighted subtext, they speak in a slippery psedo-literary voice.
1. Plenty of celebrities have graced us with their beautiful words—Ally Sheedy’s Yesterday I Saw the Sun (Summit Books, 1991) teaches, “My insides slosh about like a nauseous ocean/It takes great gulps of air/Words from religious books/And Diet Cherry Coke to quiet the sound.” It is the wisdom of these cultural leaders—Jewel, Charlie Sheen, Suzanne Somers, Alicia Keys—and—James of House Franco, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Lady Regnant of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, Mother of Dragons and Mhysa.
3. You cannot.
4. One job of the writer is to introduce neologisms into an otherwise very boring world. Alien space bats. Webinar. Astroturfing. Wardrobe malfunction. Brangelina. Affluenza. Kismetly. We need strong literary leaders like Kristin Stewart to push the next evolution of poetics.
5. How far does the looking glass reflect? Joyelle McSweeney, in a similar intense study of Stewart’s linguistics, noticed this: “‘kismetly’ is also a kind of inverted mirror writing of her own name (the k, i, s, e, t, the w inverted to m,)!”6. Similarly observed—is “Marfa” not a reference to Dan Flavin’s untitled (Marfa project), 1996?
7. Is it also not a reference to Atlanta’s MARTA terminal—or rather—the struggles of language—how the word distorts with a mouthful of blood, bone…freedom. Is this not done in the tradition of the great picaresque novel? Marfa, Marfa, beautiful Marfa! How the words travel like a train down the digital page—digital as moonlight!
8. The all-too-prosperous poetry market is overcrowded with the same bland literary journals publishing the same poets over and over. We need venerable institutions like Marie Claire to spread the gospel. Poetry from J-14! Poetry from Cosmopolitan! Poetry from Martha Stewart Living! Poetry from Golf World! Poetry from Handguns Magazine!
9. The future is now. Step the fuck aside, Blah Blah Review.
11. Should not words be owned by those with the most money? Basketball players, actors, meteorologists, CEOs—are these not the people in our community who should own the word “neon”?
12. As the great mathematician Robert Smith (later incorrectly attributed to Benjamin Franklin) once stated—”all cats are grey”. If all cats are grey—therefore—all moonlight must be digital. All bones are capable of being sucked pretty. All organ pumps are abrasive—and therefore (by Smith’s deduction)—can be perforated.
13. It is in our nature to spray paint everything that is known to us—this is fact—but what of the things we do not know? We require philosophers such as Stewart to guide us.
14. Both mythologically and scientifically-verified—devils are never done digging. They have also been observed in their natural environment 1) challenging mortals to fiddling contests 2) challenging deities to turn stone into bread and 3) challenging poets to write the best damn poetry they can write.
15. Stewart also writes—and take note—”He’s speaking in tongues all along the pan handle.” The “pan” in this line is a reference to the devil in the previous line—pan = Pan, the flute-playing god of the wild, who was later transformed (through the same ‘religious books’ Sheedy cites in her manuscript) into the Baphomet-envisioned devil we all know and love today. Iconoclast!
16. Iconoclast. Baphomet. Celebrity. Poet. Poet. Celebrity. Devil. Vampire. Wiffle® ball.
18. Do you believe in freedom? Do you believe “celebrity” is a different brand from “poet”. Why do you believe this, when you wish your poetry brought you celebrity?
19. Who decides how the Venn diagram overlaps—Kristen Stewart or you? Did you star in the world-renowned Twilight film franchise?
20. If “My Heart Is A Wiffle Ball/Freedom Pole” had been written by a darling of the New York poetry scene or your favorite MFA professor-cum-shaman, would you not have come running in its swift defense? [see 23.]
21. Would you not have come running in a pair of Balenciaga sneakers and sheer Zuhair Murad gown screaming?
22. Can you afford those things? Are you comfortable? Are you a poet? Are you a celebrity?
23. If yes, it’s a good poem. If no, it’s a good poem.
24. In a Yahoo!Answers (India Division) post from 6 years ago, user “Brainz” defined the opposite of Freedom as “slavery, captivity, imprisonment, confinement, restraint, among others!!!”. If you are not for the Freedom Pole, if you are not for the independence of poetry, of Kristen Stewart’s uninhibited language, of the right of every man, woman and non-binary gender person to sip a Starbucks Venti Frappuccino® Blended Beverage while tapping away at a 15‑inch MacBook pro with Retina display—then you are the enemy. An enemy of freedom—of poetry—of the world.
25. As fellow celebrity, philosopher and poet Billy Corgan once mused, “The world is a vampire.” This is certainly something that should be familiar to you of all people.
February 12th, 2014 / 5:56 pm
(A scene from Les Maîtres Fous (The Mad Masters), a film by Jean Rouch)
My left eye is fucked. It isn’t the first time. I’ve mentioned its swollen episodes everywhere: in poems, on the phone.
Because I think it’s hysterical. Because I really can’t get over it.
LOLOLOLOL. A POET. WITH A SENSITIVE. EYEBALL. FUCK ALL THAT.
Lately, there are tiny, irritated dots that have been piling up in the corner. My roommate gives me clay and DMSO, which is HORSE LINIMENT. She dabs it on for me. The eye’s anger ebbs and flows.
I like that my own body keeps haunting me from this particular room, always from this left eye, trying to get me to deal with or acknowledge some part / stress deposit of myself that I’ve neglected / buried. Your own body interrupts you. It unexpectedly cuts you off. I feel more than slightly disembodied when I look at it in the mirror, when I touch it. Ghosts are red.