Ariana Reines

Dress Up with the Contagious Knives

louis braille

Besides possessing a really pretty first name, Joyelle McSweeney has earned a place as one of the top three poets presently (the other two are Ariana Reines and Chelsey Minnis). Totalitarian, deathy, and melodious, Joyelle has composed a Hunger Games-like novel, an essay about Ronald Regan, and a play, the Contagious Knives, that’s rich in rancor and in rhymes.

The Contagious Knives displays the diction of a nimble rapper and the pitch of an impassioned preacher.  As the play’s hero, Louis Braille, tells Bradly Manning, “No indian giving, no taking it back, / except when you take it from me, / Indian, Chinaman, Brad-lee.”

Obviously, Joyelle needs no help decking her characters. Louis’s costume consists of pink panties, a Target t-shirt, a Victorian sailor suit, liquid eyeliner, and more. But what if it was required to dress the Contagious Knives’s characters in designer labels for a French Vogue editorial? What would they wear then? Well, maybe they’d trot out on stage in these things:

Boastful, sassy, and violent, Joyelle’s Louis Braille is a boy for boys to admire. Some of Louis’s first lines are: “I’m a very special cunt. / A very special fucking cunt. That’s what daddy always said / (wink wink).” Not humble about inventing his eponymous language for blind boys and girls, Louis likens himself to napalm and hints at an affiliation with Nazis by repeating “Not see!” four times in a row.


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December 12th, 2013 / 1:13 pm

Baby Marie-Antoinette Opens Up Upon Simone Weil, Gang Rape, and More


Last week, I published a tiny story by Baby Marie-Antoinette, one that was titled Gang Rape Me Now Please.

Then, last nighttime, while the world acted woeful (as usual), Baby Marie-Antoinette sent me a telegram, telling me that she had things to say to me.

When a girl who, at less than 42 months, already has a biopic starring the striking Kirsten Dunst wishes to say things to you, then obviously you heed that.

That’s what I did.

In a vintage skirt (because boys can clad themselves in skirts) and a St. Louis Cardinals sweater (because they’re the best baseball team ever, and the LA Dodgers are gay), I met Baby Marie-Antoinette (as well as her mommy) at a McDonald’s in Midtown.

Baby Marie-Antoinette munched on a vanilla ice cream cone. I did the same.

BMA (Baby Marie-Antoinette): Thank you very much for meeting me.

Me (M): You’re very welcome.

BMA: My mommy articulated that it’d be agreeable if I articulated further about gang rape and such, and I agreed.

M: K…

BMA: So… you should probably inquire further…

M: Why are you so struck by gang rape?

BMA: I don’t believe in autonomy, freedom of speech, freedom in general, liberty, individual rights, or any such stuff.

M: Why?

BMA: I am Catholic. I absolutely believe in God, as God will make it so that I am the Queen of France. God cares for me. Another girl who God cares for is Simone Weil. She is a French girl who is sort of looked down upon because she didn’t spend her nights at white people bars on the Lower East Side.

M: What does that mean?

BMA: She didn’t got nuts for the human body or anything that humans nowadays (or in the olden days) deem progress. In Simone’s notebooks, she states, “We possess nothing in this word other than the power to say ‘I.’ This is what we must yield up to God.” For Simone, all the rights that people are roaring for are abhorrent. They are as unheavenly as a croissant without warm cherry cream in the center.  According to Simone, “The self is only a shadow projected by sin and errors which blocks God light.”

M: So even though America says the self is the splendidest form ever; really, it’s sordidness.

BMA: Uh-huh. So when the self is destroyed, and when the attributes attributed to selfhood are tossed into the trash, it’s not naughty for God, it’s naughty for the ideologies that promulgate free personhoods.

M: Like the United States of America.

BMA: That’s a country that’s corrupted by personhood. In Gravity and Grace, Simone says, “We have to be nothing in order to be in our right place.” But Americans advocate the antithesis. They try terribly hard to be something, which is why they talk so much, eat so much, spend so much, and make so much trash.

M: But really, this “something” isn’t “something”; really, this “something” is “nothing,” only a different kind of nothing than what Simone is referring to, as it’s a nothing that has nothing to do with God, and thus it’s meaningless.

BMA: Sigh.

M: So why does 24/7/365 gang rape stay on your mind?

BMA: Because with gang rape it’s boy after boy being utterly uncaring about your body and what you yourself want to do with it. Simone says in her notebooks, “The more I efface myself, the more God is present in the world.” I could try to terminate myself, but that seems so self-involved, so I’d rather have boys do it. According to Simone, “When the ‘I’ actually is abased, we know that we are not that.” I know that my body is not nice. A pink and fuzzy Miu Miu coat is nice. But flesh, like Simone says, is “vile.”

M: Maybe the reason why gang rape is regarded as one of the top revolting behaviors in the world is because so much of the world cares about their bodies and not about God.

BMA: Uh-huh, people nowadays seem to be invariably promoting themselves, especially on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and any other gay social media platform designed by  California loser. Simone says, “There is a lack of grace with the proud man.” Does Sheryl Sandberg possess grace? No. She’d likely be really upset if boys gang-raped her.

M: But what about those who equate !@@$% with purity?

BMA: These types should read John Milton’s play, Comus.

M: I read that play while I ate a chocolate cupcake.

BMA: My mommy read it to me while I ate a raspberry cupcake.

M: It’s about a girl who’s lost in the woods and is danger of being raped by a monster.

BMA: But even if the monster did rape her, it couldn’t corrupt her, because her purity isn’t positioned in her skin.

M: Perchance this is why Baby George III says Sasha Grey is more religious than Adrienne Rich. Baby George III saw Ariana Reines’s lecture at NYU a while ago, and during the question and answer, she compared Jesus to porn starlets, since both are renown for being transfixed by myriad external elements.

BMA: Perchance… The reason why gang rape is regarded as it is is because the world is wrought with utterly unthinking ungracefulness.

This is when Baby Marie-Antoinette asked her mommy to purchase her another vanilla ice cream come.

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October 18th, 2013 / 12:18 pm

“Here, the obsolete game-as-medium lights its fires with the levity of camp. Its “new aesthetic” texture makes a tragicomic figure for contemporary poetry: an anachronistic genre of gaming while Rome burns—or dreaming Rome might burn, while in fact the empire goes on using stuff up outside as usual, pleasant or painful, awful but cheerful, the deflector shield quite operational when your friends arrive.”David Gorin at the Boston Review considers the perverse negativity of those crud-ducks over at Claudius App, whose reading this Saturday 9/21 @ 9PM @ Reena Spaulings with Geoffrey G. O’Brien, Ariana Reines,  and Keston Sutherland

you should definitely avoid, because just look at this animated GIF below they made for it that links directly to the Facebook event, which supposedly 118 people are going to, and look, I’ve been to Brooklyn, 118 people don’t even live in that pie shop, so, yeah, sure, keep murdering your brother, Claudius, it’s not like we don’t all know he’s the real king, and it’s not like we’re not going to keep putting slippers on your hands so you rub your eyes with your slippers when you wake up:



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Let’s Plunder Baudelaire



My French hasn’t happened, barely has my English. What might allow me to translate Baudelaire any better? Have you seen the poorly Christian way being had with some of his lines?

Ses cris me déchiraient la fibre
Her screaming would drive me crazy
Her crying knifed the heart in me
Her screechings drilled me like a tooth
Her crying upset me horribly
Her crying tears me apart
Her nagging tore at every part of me

Save for contour, pasteurization, cluck by region, I know my reek, but this line from Le Vin de l’assassin or The Murder’s Wine or The Assassin’s Wine or The Wine of the Assassin or Sippy Vindicator is rarely caught right. Why should it be? Can we span our whip from known to felt? I’m saying it doesn’t wow to take a nineteenth century dandy with a peanut head, and of such a floral, copulating rigor, and pinch him to “drive me crazy.” He’s not young Britney batting curls. Baudelaire consistently scarfed his wig. What is the direct UN transcript of this lovely purple? The hissy fit runs deeper into Satan. He’s not workshopping; he’s pissing blood. I don’t care, because I’m translating the poem right now, out of French and without rhyme. I’m going to say Michael Robbins and few others on his level have by their genius made rhyming their property. I keep very afraid of my betters. Especially Robbins. I chose my last twenty dollars for his book when I was starving in Austin. It gave me a lot of meals to look up to, so if I rhyme it’s just a glitch in the word salad, sir. Please. I berate my own underneaths. I live in fear. Ariana Reines having brilliantly done legitimate work translating Baudelaire – let me distinguish, too: This is simply an act of poetic necrophilia, mid-lobotomy.


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August 13th, 2013 / 5:42 am

When I Looked At Your Cock My Imagination Died


When I Looked At Your Cock My Imagination Died is the title of one of the sections in Ariana Reines’s collection of verse Mercury.

One nighttime, while considering all the boys I had heart-crushing crushes on (like you-know-who and yes-him and obviously-that-one-who-cares-if-he-did-what-he-did) I read this very section of poems for what may just be the one millionth and first time.

The first poem of this section is a letter (maybe it’s one of those electronic letters that all those 20-somethings in Brooklyn send back and forth or maybe it’s the type of letter that wonderful Willa Cather sent her eloquent girlfriend Edith Lewis).

“ariana,” commences the correspondence, “all I can think is the sex. Practice with the butt plug. Wear it around tonight. I want them to double penetrate you.” The boy talks about transferring money into Ariana’s  account. He also dispenses further directions:

I want the video to start with you on the phone talking to me on your knees with their cocks touching your face and you looking up into the camera as you talk to me and begin sucking their cocks. When you start fucking I want to be on the speaker phone and jerking off. I want to see everything as they go in and out of you together.

The boy is quite tyrannical, and every worthwhile heart beats boisterously for tyrants, as there’s truth in being controlled and possessed. As the French boy who said  9/11 was symbolic points out, Western culture (i.e America and their ho bags) is nearly omnipresent, and the places where Western culture hasn’t grown its gay garbage — choice Muslim and black countries — there’s not likely to be many Western culture subjects (unless your name is Nicholas D. Kristof). Those who flaunt freedom aren’t free. They are dependents to the unpleasant pragmatic tyranny of America and its ho bags . If America and its ho bags was, perchance, destroyed, they’d be too. Jason Collins, to cite one dependent, wouldn’t be so if the hegemonic culture on earth gave zero craps about an average GLADD boy who can’t play basketball.

So, when Ariana surrenders her agency to this boy, she abandons phoniness as well. Stating that agency is an actuality is similar to stating that chocolate chip cookie dough is downright disgusting — it’s  utterly untrue!  A long time ago the Marxist boy Louis Althusser’s “moment of interpellation” brought out that bestowing identity is not the act of a single subject. More than one someone is required to be recognized as an entity.  In Bodies That Matter, famous girl-boy Judith Butler put Louis’s interpellation in action. A policeman summons a citizen with a “Hey you!” The policeman heeds the “you.” He recognizes that the “you” is entwined with his world. The “you” may reply, but the “you’s” reply is due to the policeman’s summons. If the policeman didn’t say “Hey you!” then the citizen wouldn’t be impelled to speak to him — the citizen wouldn’t be able to utilize his voice.  A creature can neither create an identity by his lonesome nor speak for himself on his own. Invariably, he must be recognized by someone not himself, even if that someone is a cuddly, invisible teddy bear.

All of that was completely necessary to convey so that I could confirm that Ariana is biding bon voyage to an idea of no value whatsoever. To sum up, agency is a tricky, corrupt instrument of American hegemony; and America, as Jewish novelist John Updike noted in the 60s, has lost the blessing of God. Ariana, though, has not. The poem proceeding the letter reads: “I want the gold. / Shimmer shimmer shimmer shimmer shimmer.” Since Ariana got to the truth, she shall get her gold too. Truth, says the sensational John Milton, is the foundation of Christianity. In the postlapsiarian planet, truth has been slashed into infinite tiny piece.  The commendable Christian’s duty is to discover as many of these pieces as possible. All of this is why Ezekiel’s vision of New Jerusalem is “pure gold like clear glass.” God is there! Where God is, truth is; where truth is, gold (something of supreme value) is. By spotlighting the truth of subjection, Ariana aligns herself with God, truth, and gold.

Also in this section is another prose poem that begins “when i get on your cock like a bag my face is scarred”. Punctuation, paragraph breaks, capital letters — all of these components have been cast aside. Clauses collide into one another, like “i gaze up at the fat man to be reverential and durty none of us has hair i think i look confused so i wet my fat tongue i think exciting thoughts fake nails in clits fake nails in clits fake nails in clits.” First person pronouns are in the same caste as nouns, adjectives, and adverbs. The “i” isn’t capitalized: it’s been toppled (I believe capital letters aren’t pretty in the first place). An upheaval has happened and the words arrive at whiplash speed, like a flood, a plague — a circumstance from the best book ever, The Bible. Both are extreme, and that, according to me, is how things should be.

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July 12th, 2013 / 2:51 pm

The AWP Should Stand For Something Very Vulgar Because It Is Very Vulgar

awp 1

There shouldn’t be an AWP. There should only be one if it would result in me meeting Gina Abelkop. She is the publisher of Birds of Lace, a press that publishes books about girl groups, adventurous twins, and girls who justify murder in high school essays. Most Birds of Lace books fulfill one of the primary attributes of literature: They transmute the reader to magical, mysterious worlds of death, babysitters, and big hair. Gina and I could meet for tea (or vanilla cupcakes). We could discuss trenchant topics, like the veils in Meadham Kirchoff’s Fall 13 collection or Disney princesses. Why, we could even mosey to a Disney store (if there are Disney stores in Boston) and she could purchase an Ariel doll (because she’s a girl) and I could purchase a Buzz Lightyear doll (because I’m a boy). It’d all be rather idyllic. But according to the grapevine Gina won’t be attending this year. So I won’t either, which is fine, since the AWP is as disgusting as gay people, straight people, bisexual people, and Brooklyn.

On their site, the AWP claims to be “the largest literary conference in North America.” But the AWP has little relation to literature. Only around one percent of the attendees make literature. There’s just a tiny fraction who formulate texts that are monstrous and divine – that, like those German boys, possess the grit and glamour to wage war on basically everyone on the globe. As for the rest – the 99 percent of AWP people – they are not poets and they are not composing literature. They are not concerned with epic Emily Bronte or moody Frank O’Hara. They are a product of typical middle class capitalism, or, as Karl Marx says, “the bourgeois.” According to Karl, the bourgeois live off others’ labor. They acquire value through accumulation. As the bourgeois stockpile products their worth increases. This renders them reliable upon the proletariat who must toil night and day with very little rest to keep up with the insatiable, indiscriminate bourgeois.


Events & Mean & Vicarious MFA / 118 Comments
February 26th, 2013 / 4:41 pm

Dressing Up Maggie Nelson

Maggie NelsonI first became of aware of Maggie Nelson when I overheard two feminist girls debating whether or not what “she was doing” was ethical. I did not know what “she was doing,” nor did I care. I was forbidden to read her. She was a girl, and for quite a bit it was against the law for me to read girl poets besides, of course, Sylvia. The ban against girls began when a teacher (another feminist, and certainly not the catty, commendable kind) assigned us the Sharon Olds’s poem “The Language of the Brag.” The poem perpetuates the base boast: “I have done what you wanted to do, Walt Whitman, / Allen Ginsberg, I have done this thing.” Oh bother! A demographic whose primary goal is to be like two hairy free-verse guzzling perverts will elicit neither esteem nor heed from me. But then another teacher (a boy one) suggested I read Ariana Reines. Ariana isn’t an intolerably gregarious gay and she isn’t a beatnik-hippie sodomite. Ariana is a monster. In one poem in The Cow, she munches her own poop, sips her throw up, and goes down on herself. She is “self-contained”: disciplined and exacting. She is a sword-sharp: the antithesis of the free verse commoners who are as loose and watery as Barack H. Obama’s negotiating skills.

Obviously after I discovered Ariana and the rest of Rebecca Wolff’s spitfire songstresses my ban against girl poets had to be banned. This meant I could finally read Maggie, which turned out to be marvelous. Maggie is obsessed with ghastliness, terror, and the dead. She devotes “years of compulsion, confusion, and damage” writing about her Aunt Jane, a girl who was viciously murdered while returning home from college. Moreover, she’s compelled by one of the most blessed, articulate, and mischievous girls to ever be forced to live on earth… Anne Frank! “But who can guess / what Anne would have said / about the last place she went,” Maggie tantalizes. Indeed, Maggie has outstanding tastes and curiosities, so I will provide her with three outfits so that she feels fabulous in her wonderfully horrific world.


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February 14th, 2013 / 4:49 pm

Alexandra Petri and John Deming Should Probably Get Married Because They Have A Lot In Common Because They Are Both Considerably Misinformed About Poetry


I intentionally missed most of the inauguration of Bruce Springsteen’s boyfriend. Symbols of democracy and freedom make my tummy quite queasy. I prefer the enchantment of The Little Mermaid to the mediocrity of the middle class and the person that they pick to govern them. But a couple of days after The Boss’s “partner” was publicly sworn in, I overheard two princess friends of mine discussing a poetry quarrel that arose from this inauguration. Supposedly a poet named Richard (I’m not sure of his last name, and considering his connection to Obama, he’s certainly not talented enough to Google or even Bing) read. The poem prompted a girl Washington Post blogger, Alexandra Petri, to declare that poetry is probably dead. A poetry boy, John Deming, quickly rendered a rebuttal. After reading both, I’ve come to the conclusion that each has a very un-magical, unsupportable viewpoint on poetry.

To begin, I’d like to declare that being “dead” isn’t deplorable: it’s delightful. Sylvia adored the dead. She covered herself in concentration camp victims. Her skin was “bright as Nazi lampshade.” Was Sylvia disempowered or on the margins of culture? No way, progressive gays! Sylvia was a spitfire. She slashed her daddy and her canonized poet husband. Charles Baudelaire, one of the best boy poets ever, sought the dead too. In “Spleen (ii)” Charles boasts that his skull holds “more corpses than a common grave.” Identification with dead doesn’t disadvantage Charles either. He’s a dandy — someone superlatively superior to humans, a boy who follows his own special set of laws. The dead are special and unique. They’re much more powerful than humans. To call someone or something dead is a term of incredible endearment, and should be embraced.


Mean & Web Hype / 5 Comments
January 28th, 2013 / 5:05 pm

The Poetry Brothel Will Actually Take Place This Sunday

Due to Betty Freidan’s pet rooster, or, as Mayor Bloomberg calls it, “Hurricane Sandy,” a lot of things were discombobulated, including The Poetry Brothel.

But now The Poetry Brothel has been rescheduled for this Sunday , 17 Nov. 2012. It will be from 8:00-1:00 at the Backroom on 102 Norfolk Street.

There will still be magic, music, burlesque, tarot cards (which I still don’t believe in), and tons of public and private poetry readings.

Dorothea Lasky and Ariana Reines will be there. So will the Princess of Brattydom, Carina Finn, and the Princess of Spanish Harlem, Jennifer Tamayo. What will happen when these two royal figures collide? Will it turn into a girly, more fashionable version of the exciting Israel-Hamas war?

Also, while I’m on the topic of prostitutes, I want to cite one of the most intriguing prostitutes ever (besides Elizabeth Taylor in Butterfield 8): Vivian Ward, played by Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.

Vivian’s long curly red hair is really fairy tale. If it would’ve ran for president of the United States of America I maybe would’ve supported it.

If you aren’t entertaining the possibility of viewing Pretty Woman right this second, then you are like the shop girls in the movie who are rude to Vivian/Julia, which means you are a brickhead.

So… please consider coming to The Poetry Brothel and contributing to a theatrical and glamorous poetry event.

Here’s another picture of The Poetry Brothel’s madam, Stephanie Berger:


Events & Web Hype / 1 Comment
November 17th, 2012 / 2:38 pm


MAGICK IS SUCH my jam it’s the best. To intervene, to sculpt the forces in motion that lie ever behind all phenomena –  I really don’t know how to work any other way. Even tho I suck at math, I’m pretty boss at jimmying an algorithm, noticing how the hidden variables shift and float. Numbers are less important than access to archetypes, gods as guides dropping this or that for us to notice, signposts and gestures, fleeting affinities that when frozen stand as nexus-objects  multi-dimensional we can intuit beyond boundary. With the Will, that’s us – burning variable  altering environment by manipulating the living furniture in the hidden room behind.

The letter word the sign is never not a sigil. Given, there are greater and lesser degrees of involvement. Sometimes the immobility of the intent is monolithic and plinth-like, entirely discernible, or else it’s more about the splitting/rejoining of a designated grammar, terms or characters as place-holders for the energies contained therein, their recombinant effect resulting in whatever transcendent endgame is necessary to render organs null and of a single glowing body.


Expression bunches and twists the only fabric, tears through veils, the silence, so that we might recalibrate, effect a given change, order what we know as Chaos and the rest of it.


One thing I’ve noticed is that literary writing by self-identifying occultists is often quite bad, even as (or because) it demonstrates its principles. On the other hand, literary writers who’re interested in the dynamics of occult philosophy and practice have generally produced exciting work.


The best example, my go-to guy, is Henri Michaux. More adept at watching his own imagination than any other artist I can think of, he explored inner worlds, wrote exorcisms, and all the time revealed his process. The most memorable piece in this vein is a malediction called “I AM ROWING”: READ MORE >

Craft Notes / 2 Comments
November 15th, 2012 / 1:36 pm