Surrealist Doodle

Surrealist Doodle
This was used as the cover of Karawane in 2006 and I have included it in on a number of bags and postcards over the years. Someone on the subway asked me if it was a Miro. I was very flattered!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Irritating Insulting Soul-Crushing Catchy Ads

So from time to time, in addition to writing poetry with my eyes closed and writing about the virtues of the avant-garde and the political potential therein, I must also write something about popular culture and the idiocy of certain aspects, which play out in reality television but most of all, in advertising. Advertising, in their quest to be catchy, edgy, funny, poignant, etc. often (usually) commits the greatest affronts to our intelligence. If we let these things go by too easily, without questioning them, they contribute to the demise of our culture, the substitution of our values for theirs, whoever “they” may be.

Perhaps, being the end of the year, I should do an awards category for the vilest of these commercials. But, then I would have to categorize their stupidity and collect many more examples of these insults to our intelligence than I am prepared to. I am ostensibly lazy and undisciplined; or maybe I am just distracted and trying to do too many things. But whatever the case, end-of-the-year awards while tempting, are just not my style.

So after all of this preamble ambling and rambling, I want to talk about just a few of the ads that I find the most aggravating right now.

The first series of ads are the State Farm ads with Jerry Newman, trying to reach his old agent “Jessica” after apparently another in a series of accidents. She asks, “Is your car up a pole again, Jerry.”

Up a pole? AGAIN? How many times has this guy done this? How do you drive your car up a pole? But that’s not enough. We then see yet another of Jerry’s accidents in which he manages to drive THROUGH HIS HOUSE. We can see that he has driven through what appears to be solid granite. He informs “Jessica” that he is going to need to phone number of a stone mason.

Yet Jessica very cheerfully talks to him about renewing his policy with State Farm.

HELLO!? This man routinely drives his car up poles and through houses. He doesn’t need an insurance agent. He needs an intervention. He is obviously addicted to some very powerful drugs. He should be calling Dr. Drew, not his insurance company. As a matter of fact, why does this guy even have a driver’s license at this point, let alone having someone who is willing to insure him? We want to encourage people like this to drive by giving them insurance? This is a dangerous man who has no business on the road and the fact that he has State Farm insurance does not make me feel any better about facing him down when he goes on another bender and puts his car through my front door or on top of my body while I am trying to cross the damn street in a perfectly legal crosswalk.

Remember Billy Joel driving into the side of someone’s house? He got arrested. Billy Joel. When my grandfather was 90 years old and smashing up Cadillacs, they took away his driver’s license. (Ok, it didn’t stop him from driving, but at least he didn’t have legal endorsement to drive!) Where are the cops when Jerry Newman is out driving? He needs the police to tail him every minute that menace is on the road until he inevitably puts someone else’s life at risk besides his own, which is just a matter of time. This isn’t funny. This is a travesty.

Next we have the FreeCreditScore.com ads. Damn these ads, because they do have catchy songs! But they too are an insult to our intelligence. First, there's the name. The credit scores are not really free. You have to enroll in Triple Advantage, whatever that is. I suspect it is one of these scams where you have “free” enrollment for a month and then your credit card is charged if you do not remember to cancel your “free” membership so many days before the end of your trial month. How many people do you think actually remember to cancel their membership the first month? If everyone did, then FreeCreditScore.com would not be able to afford to run their TV ads every 10 minutes!

But the most recent commercial is definitely an offense to any intelligent person’s sensibility. The daughter gets a credit card from her parents and goes wild with it. Ok, funny enough premise and many of us have been there. But then they have the audacity to assert that if the parents had purchased membership in FreeCreditScore.com they would have known sooner.

As anyone who has ever checked their credit score knows, it takes 2 or 3 months for there to be a change in your credit score, which would be long after the “free trial period” had ended and would be plenty of time for their daughter to have run up thousands of dollars in expenses. They would know sooner when they actually receive the bill that she had been spending all of their money. And they would have known sooner still by simply looking up their credit card online and seeing what kind of expenses she was incurring, since credit card accounts are updated daily!

Anyone who would rely on FreeCreditScore.com to know how much their daughter is spending on a credit card that they co-signed for should go to a financial management class themselves before they start to lecture her. I’m thinking this must have been the family’s first credit card too for them to be that stupid. Or maybe they just returned from Amish country and have never used the internet before.

Oh, they’re just ads. You take them too seriously, you tell me. Perhaps. But this is not just about car insurance or checking your credit score. Every time we see something on tv, especially advertising and just let it go, we are failing to question the messages that we receive. And then it spills over to watching the news. And political debates. And political ads. Every time we don’t say, hey wait a minute, that’s not right, we accept the values of Kim Kardashian, or Paris Hilton or Rick Perry or the writers of any number of tv shows instead of questioning the values that they portray.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to any tv show and heaven knows, I watch some pretty vile things myself. But it’s important that we are constantly questioning what we’re watching or else we let someone else’s values take over ours and pretty soon that becomes the norm in our culture. Advertising is the most pervasive of all because ads are short, catchy, and on the surface, not to be taken too seriously. But make no mistake. They transmit as many cultural values in their one minute as any sitcom, drama, or reality tv show. With political season coming up in particular, but really any time, it’s important that we not let a single thing go by without thinking about and even commenting upon it, no matter how trivial. You can tweet what you had for breakfast. You can damn well talk and tweet about the ads and the television you are being exposed to!

In the meantime, Jerry Newman, get thee to a rehab center.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Assonance/aliteration poem

This was a poem inspired by Charles Bernstein and Bernadette Mayer's Experiments List. The name was inspired by a typo.

Aliterature

Any angels ask about Anna?
She said several sang sonnets
to the trembling, tumultuous tides to
sooth some semblance, some serenity
to them. Trying to talk
without words was wearying. When we
danced, did dainty
pirouettes, people probably panicked.
Were we worried? Weirdly,
no. Nothing noticeable, nothing nullifying
happened here. Happiness heralded hope,
I instantly insisted. If I instigated
more meanderings, moving mountains
by burrowing, borrowing (Burroughing) black boulders,
then time tilts toward
forever, flying fancifully
alongside an angel.

Invisible Poem: Eyes Closed

Writing with eyes closed again again, always our eyes are closed, and we admit it, unlike those people who say "my eyes are open" as if to indicate experience, wisdom, an awakening. When we are born our eyes are closed, like puppies and kittens, and our metaphoric eyes remain closed to certain things in the world. Who can stay fully awake every minute to every beauty, every injustice in the wor(l)d? Who can possibly see everything with out flinching and learn to tell the tale and life and still stay true to oneself, to one's humanity? We must keep our eyes closed sometimes: to pray, to sleep, to contemplate, so why not to write our dreams and prayers and hopes and not to worry if anyone can read them?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Blank (An invisible poem)

My mind is blank, is a blank
is a blankety-blank, a blanket,
wet, a blank page, an expletive blanking
out on itself. Blank you. Thank you.
Spank you. Flank you. I digress.
All of life is a digression, at least the
interesting parts are. I digress, I profress, I
am less a success than a mess, espec-
ially writing this messy invisible poem where
my words step all over one another like a
bad dancer's toes or a dancer's bad toes,
running out of space as I run out of words
and out of paper.

Generic poem I

Translation

Pronoun verb article adjective noun.
Verb adverb preposition Proper Noun.
Interrogative pronoun verb prounoun noun
adjective? Noun, adjective, preposition
noun, verb noun adjective.

Generic Haiku

What is the thing that
one has to do to have an
interesting time?

WWW

When we were writing, we went where we wouldn't
wither. Wildly wanting words, we waited
while wandering. Wolves with weird women
waded, weighted, waited. Weavers wove while
wrenches wracked, wrens warbled. Whole world
working without, while whistling whispers.




This poem is based on an internet acronym. This time I chose www. Previously I did a poem called OMG.

Excuse Poem

I forgot where I parked my car.
The police came and towed it
away. I lost my keys.
I lost my license. I
forgot your address.
And phone number.
I got lost on the way there.
I ran out of gas. I
couldn't see in the dark
because my headlights
were broken. I turned
around and went home.

I will call you when I get there.


Based on an exercise on Charles Bernstein and Bernadette Mayer's Experiments List.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kim Kardashian Dada Wedding Sound Poem

"Sound Poem" based on the previous post, cutting the words into nonsense syllables and being very careful not to make anything identifiable as a word.

I recommend reading this out loud with a particular emotion in mind. Perhaps love, since it is a wedding poem. Or disgust, since it is about the Kardashians. Maybe rage at the fact that these people are famous. Or laughter and humor, which should be self-explanatory.


Kim Kardashian Dada Wedding Sound Poem

Etluc utof aves plew ret emy ure ilo oun frit en eko fes kyab eup. Henin iha meweed thop meve sogla jod dat tivit venoid icsup yameit osel dsig. Olif vemy salit sola lyno semu intes. Elot nard exym tysak resfo ict tru shen. Urenam uraso eawe resh doysmy fisdet woute ket tage hud.

Kim Kardashian Dada Wedding Poem

I could only stand to watch the Kardashians for about 20 minutes. This poem is made up of words and phrases that Kim Kardashian uttered during those 20 minutes. This was also inspired by facebook. But don't hold that against the Dada intent here.


Kim Kardashian Dada Wedding Poem

Pretty sexy, makeup so lame. It's a little weird. I have no idea we're sisters. Festivities up your ass. So glad for your picture. I love my last name. My life is so selfish. Do you need me? We have stages, my friends. I get lucky about a week out of the loop. Then I need five hundred hours, 10 minutes, truly. No joke.

Optic Topic

This poem was inspired by a typo, in which I realized that optic and topic were anagrams of each other, and by a conversation I had with a former classmate of mine, Gina Dunphy, about Dadaism.

Optic Topic

Open your eyes to the
people who ride
to nowhere.
If you can believe it,
conceive it, create it and then sedate it

The Ramones will immortalize you in a song from the beyond
once they are complete again.
Punks and Dadas, artists and singers
in unison in disharmonic disarray
cry out, calling, curdling, curling your elf toes.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Clouds (An Invisible Poem)

Grey clouds in the blue sky, last thing before I close my eyes, Think think about the metaphor, about what is not clich├ęd about how to express twilight and how to talk about clouds. Judy Collins said I really don’t know clouds at all and I think of that I say that every time I’m on an airplane. It sounds kind of silly to say that. What’s too stupid to be spoken is sung, said Voltaire but why is it so stupid so say you don’t know or don’t understand clouds, really understand them, not just meteorologically. I don’t understand as a poet, how to talk about them, how to be new with clouds. I am not stupid, just a poet who is struck by grey clouds in a dark blue sky at purple twilight.

--Written with my eyes closed, September 23rd

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Poetry After Auschwitz/9/11

Poetry after Auschwitz 9/11

I.

Theodor Adorno after the atrocities of World War II were made know to the world, said “"To write a poem after Auschwitz is barbaric." Many scholars and artists have taken up this idea and rephrased it as a question, or a collection of questions. What is the responsibility of poets in light of such barbarity?

Certainly poets were writing poems at the time. It is what poets do and if you are a writer, for many writers, it’s all they can do in the face of horror. There were all kinds of poems and paintings recovered from people who died in the concentration camps. Many of the images were horrifying, but the artists who painted and poets who wrote could not cease to tell us what they saw. They were compelled to write, to leave something behind.

For the survivors, certainly, poetry provides a kind of succor for the soul when we find ourselves among such uncivilized cruelty. Perhaps it shouldn’t. Maybe that’s what Adorno meant. Maybe we have no right to give ourselves comfort at a time like that. Perhaps we have to just face the facts, as horrible as they are, with no window dressing, no images – horrible or beautiful – to ease the blow. All we deserve is journalism: a straightforward telling of the facts.

In fact, there are usually any number of heartfelt but terrible, sentimental, moralizing poems and stories written after a horrible event. We are too grief struck to be able to process it all. Our emotions come out too easily. And while people associate poetry and art with emotion, it is not true that we can write poetry and do it well when our hearts are on our sleeves. Poets, like everyone else, often need just a little distance to make sense of what they have just lived through. All they can really do is to record images of what they have seen, a kind of poetic journalism. Not a straightforward telling of the facts, but a mishmash of those images, all churned up and mixed up, ready to be sorted out by critics and academics down the line.


II.

I would not even begin to compare the events of 9/11 with Auschwitz, although the aftermath of 9/11 may very well be comparable. But to compare the deaths of 3,000 people in one day with the systematic extermination of millions over a period of 10 years is an absurd proposition. But there is no doubt that it was a tragic day that still lingers for many.

I started out writing this not because I want to write about 9/11. I’m actually tired of writing about 9/11. It has permeated my very consciousness and it seems that I am unable to write about anything else, overtly or inadvertently. Many of my theatrical concerns, including the inevitability of death, which I dealt with in Antigone, and the horrors of confinement and uncertainty, which I dealt with in my Guantanamo demonstration, have come directly from thinking about 9/11. Recently, when I tried to write a manifesto about myself as an unruly being, it turned into a meditation on 9/11.

And in fact, I had already written about September 11th years before it ever happened. In my poem, The City, written in 1998, I believe, I had written:

Window frames
hang heavy like fenders bent beneath truck
tires, sidewalk shattered. I could be
anywhere. Belfast.
Oklahoma. Beirut.

It didn’t take, for me, a whole lot of imagination to make the link between the abandoned American city and the images that I saw on the news. It didn’t take a huge stretch to imagine that our cities could one day be like other war-torn areas. My inclusion of Oklahoma City was one way to make that connection.

I wrote as much as I could for five days. I wrote again, six months or nine months later or something like that, when I noticed a guy in my neighborhood and developed a fascination with him. I did not write in the interim. And I did not write poetry for some time after – maybe a year, maybe 2 or 3. I don’t know if I didn’t write, or if I just didn’t write anything that I considered good. Maybe I never really stopped writing. But I perceived that I had stopped.

Years later, when confronted with Adorno’s edict in graduate school, “to write poetry after Auschwitz in barbaric,” even though I had rejected the notion, that was exactly what I had done. Faced with horrors that my emotions that the core of my being could not and might never process adequately, I had stopped writing poetry.


III.

One of the standards of poetry is that you write in images. In metaphors and similes. This is like that thing over there. But there was no point to writing in metaphor. The entire experience was real and metaphoric at the same time. It was a strange otherworld. It was hard to tell what was real and what wasn’t. I would wake up several mornings over the next six months in a panic, thinking I had just woken from a dream, that none of it was real, that I had made it all up.

For myself, without even being aware of it, without saying it consciously, it felt like at once it was such an overwhelming experience while at the same time, these were images that were all too familiar. They had become stock photographs. The broadcasters on the radio in New York that day kept saying this is like a movie, this is like a movie. And I thought, and said out loud to no one, no this is like television, this is like the news. This is like what happens every day in the rest of the world.

And it was true. We had already seen those images in our own country and around the world: the fireman carrying the dead baby from the child care center, the bomb in Beirut that was so strong it burned the patterns of the sheets onto the bodies of sleeping marines.

What use is there for metaphor when those images are so powerful on their own? Does poetry serve any purpose that journalism doesn’t in such a case? Does it help us to understand it any better to say this thing is like that thing? Or is it still incomprehensible, not to our conscious, rational, intelligent minds, but somewhere deeper, in that place where poetry touches us, where it works on our irrational, non-rational, subconscious mind?

IV.

I’m teaching poetry and in the process, I am slowly starting to write poetry again. I am revisiting my old poems which I haven’t really pulled out and looked at seriously in 7 or 8 years. Every once in a while I pull one out to submit somewhere to get published. But to seriously look at the poems, to even perform them in public, hasn’t really happened in a long time. I found myself, on this, the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, despite all of my attempts to ignore that day, thinking about the legacy it had had on me, as a writer and as a person. I wanted to revisit Adorno, to see I could make any sense out of my experience through that quote. I wanted to think about how a poet comes back from terror to poetry.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Manifesto of a Modern Woman

I did not set out to write about 9/11. In fact, I have been studiously avoiding it and all references. But still it comes out, even when trying to write about something else! So here are my thoughts, as usual, interspersed with other things, on the 10th anniversary of the event.

I have been experimenting with using strikethoughs to show choices that I have made in the text, so I am using that technique publicly for the first time.



I am made up feelings, not memories. I do not live in the
past if pressed
I can summon(s)
the memories, remember the moment the men
in suits covered in soot slow as statues in hardening cement
walked up the streets the
disappearance of a building the
long lines to use the anachronistic pay phone in the park
see and says strung together like tin cans
across states a continent but I prefer to let memories
fade in favor of feelings the tears that come forcefully on hearing
siren after siren after siren song the sun shining in my eyes
the darkness in my lungs the feeling of not taking abreath after breath.

I am made up of feelings that don't fade, of love anger courage.

I am a woman who is made of feelings once attached to memories that must fade, shed like an extra skin, an old layer, no so much to make me new but a skin shed no longer needed so that I can livebreathe.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Playing with Words - MCTC Continuing Education & Customized Training

Playing with Words - MCTC Continuing Education & Customized Training

A class that I'm teaching this fall in Minneapolis. This is the third time I have taught the class and each time it has been deliriously fun! Whether you are an experienced writer wanting new ideas or are writing for more or less the first time, this will be a great class for you. I use prompts that I have created myself as well as from Charles Bernstein & Bernadette Mayer's Experiments List and more!

Starts September 28th. Only $95 - cheap!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Authencity. Bah!

Ok, so this is why I don't get very many books read, especially when I am trying to do research. I read 3 or 4 pages and then I have to stop and write 3 or 4 pages of commentary that turns into a blog. This time, it is about the return, always the return, to that infernal word:

Authenticity.

I can't tell you how many times I have read about poetry slam and the authenticity of the author/poet's voice and how the strength of poetry slam is from that authenticity.

Humbug.

I thought that we had long ago abandoned the modernist notion of an authentic self, a holistic sense of identify that you could point to and say "this is me." I thought that long ago, for example, black feminists had said I'm black and I'm a woman and I come from a certain socioeconomic class and I have an urban or a rural and a northern or southern upbringing and all of these things go into making me the multifaceted person that I am and sometimes several of these things come into conflict so I sometimes have divided loyalties and so I don't really have a stable subject position from which I can speak. Then again, about 150 years ago, Walt Whitman wrote Do I contradict myself? Yes, I contradict myself. For I am large and contain multitudes.

This was my problem with poetry slam 15 years ago, when I dabbled in it. I saw this functioning as well. People pimping out their identities as a woman, as an angry (or depressed - take your pick) college student, as a gay man, as a grandma, as a Latino, etc. etc., giving the audience what they want to hear, spewing out cliches in the process. When I did my bitch feminist poems I placed. I took home money. When I did poems that were not only more complex, filled with more original images, were metaphorical and lyrical and also were performed every bit as well, I got lukewarm scores. (Not responses however. The responses I got after the slam was over, were generally very positive, dare I say, fantastic.)

Besides which, it's a poetry slam. Poetry. Poetry is about imagination and images and language. What you write about is not as important as the way you write about it. You can go ahead and write identity work, write political work, write about -- heaven help us -- flowers. I love to quote Bryon Gysin. Writing is 50 years behind painting. As long as we insist on some kind of authenticity of the writer's voice and experience instead of on the actual work, daring to do abstraction perhaps, or at least mess with the conventions as visual artists have done, we will continue to be 50 years behind painting.

I did a project a few years ago on the Iranian-American artist/photographer/filmmaker Shirin Neshat. I read a quote from a Turkish artists who said that the non-western artist, the "other", is always playing catch-up. It is assumed that they will always be one step behind. When artists in the west had already moved on to abstract work in painting, they were at the same time praising middle eastern artists for painting nudes. This is the assumption that there is a natural evolution to art and culture, so nonwestern artists must paint nudes, their culture must be advanced enough that they can paint nudes, before they can do abstraction.

This would seem to be the case with poetry slam. Many in academia praise poetry slam for getting young people to care about poetry, praising it for giving a voice to "marginalized groups." Fine. Good. But I think the problem with getting young people to care about poetry has been the presence of poetry teachers who were somewhat lacking. Who looked at poetry as a higher art and too good for the common person. You were supposed to read poetry for the same reason you were supposed to eat broccoli. You could have been doing ass-kicking poetry readings for years and it would have encouraged students to read poetry.

But we are perpetuating and praising poets for doing what post-modernism (and in some cases, it's parallel movement post-colonialism) have said is not possible. If there is always a doubled consciousness in post-colonialism, what self is the most authentic? And ultimately, does it really matter? The exploration of the fractured, doubled, shattered self, in fractured, doubled language, in imagery, is so much more interesting than trying to create and perform an "authentic self" for the masses. And how condescending to the audiences of poetry slam to assume that creating a populist poetry means that we have to give people what we think they want from us, to assume that we have to "dumb down" our poetry for them and save our good, "literary" poetry for editors of literary magazines, for people who can appreciate them. I have seen more than one poet who has good, difficult, beautiful poetry refuse to read those poems before a slam audience, choosing instead to do easily digested work that they know will go over well.

My critique is not of the poets themselves (at least not entirely), but of the people who perpetuate that system -- the academic, the promoters of authenticity in the form of slams, Def Poetry Jam, those who perpetuate a worn out system of reference that condescends to audience and poet alike, that continues to keep them at arm's length, always one step behind the "innovators," rather than encouraging poets to do what poets ought to do best: to create new and fresh images for our time, using our references, rather than cliches of what they see on television of what they think the audience expects them to be, which is someone else's version of authenticity anyway. Poets should be experimenting with language, taking us to new levels of seeing and understanding, rather than to perpetuate the old, the given, that which we have already been living with.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Exquisite Corpse from my creative writing class at MCTC

After spreading pencil shavings like ashes
upon the desks like altars,
giant altars of onyx and silver
melted down into an amorphous, mingling, microscopic
amoeba, dancing and twisting this way and that
hoping to find a cause worth fighting for,
one that sticks to your ribs, like
airbag hearty steak dinner over candlelight
christening stars, fallen angels we lay.

Friday, April 08, 2011

The Drunken Bus

Growing up is the realization
that you've outlived all your tragic idols.
Dead poets, rock stars
make you lose yourself in their myths
until one day jade and disgust
stain you like mud splashed
by speeding thoughtless passersby
driving drunken
busloads of once-dreamers
like the trains to Auschwitz
these fenced with white picket not wire barbs
no literal death torture unspeakable horrors
wait you now but the cattle call
life laid out neatly like a child's first school clothes
souldeath numb endless days waiting for the call
the bell the thing that brings this to an end
expect no future
hope for no future
fear any future offered
in a slick salesman's smile or a politician's
promisory paper--
kill time until
you'll-know-it-when-you-see-it
shows up, wags its ass in your face
and says i'm here now. what?
now what? now
what took you so long?

It's not too late.
Let's go back
before the days when
it was open season on our hopes
and we had to shelter them like cold shivering refugees,
before we counted time backwards from the end
of history.

Let's be audacious. Let's remember that
the right song can still save us
from the world,
shout dirty limericks in the museum
brown bag it to the opera,
sit on the floor in lavish hotel lobbies
in tie-dye evening gowns
eating french fries and debating dead
German philosophers as if we
understood them,
make snide comments to rude overeducated
art snob ticket takers and rabble removing
doormen, disgruntled security guards with
inert toy guns
without feeling the pressure
to make apologies we don't mean
let's jump off the drunken bus
clean ourselves up
and walk home together.

Dustbowl (a poem)

who will mark the day
when you've been dead longer than you were alive
the chickens have come home to roost and the cock
cannot stop crowing his lungs burst as they strain to summon the day


teach a man to farm teach him to march in rows stand straight when ordered and hide among the crops during the hunt and his napalmed hands will fertilize soft baby skulls, tattoo plaid and pastel flowers onto flimsy flesh hammers and anvils and drums make music more pleasing than a funeral march the unfamiliar streets will swallow you up before you can build your myth epic by epic before your tasks are finished and the stables are cleared


the prophet saw huge metal birds and resurrected monsters, how we burn ourselves up inside brick and steel solid structures the pyramids will outlive our bleached bones muscle by muscle I melt pulled apart like a wishbone my empty ribcage still moves by habit after my head flies off


there are not enough hands to cover all of your shameful parts


the kevorkian babies cry all night chase pigeons with fat pink faces not born of sand and rice paddies their pictures play in courtrooms the playground becomes a tragic mecca outlined at ground zero, a pinata full of scorpions burn down your temples and churches


your god no longer lives there

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Fractured Love Song

Written from random words I jotted down from a song played overhead:

Insomniac
sheep
asleep
fireflies
goodbyes
breathe
jar


Fractured Love Song

Insomniac sheep breath rhythmically unison of air. Fireflies flitter asleep their goodbyes as they sink inside jars to their airless graves.

Little jottings

The candles in the red jar flicker like an ambulance siren in my peripheral vision.

I stubbornly let beautiful strans of words go by, refusing to write them down, refusing to try and catch them, in and out of my consciousness the float, weave, flit, pass, pausing, expecting to be appreciated, remembered, committed to paper or memory. I thoughtlessly watch them go . . .

Two poems literally written with my eyes closed (and yet were still legible!)

Creativity begets itself begetting begetting beginning (again).
Once I write I don't want to stop, maybe
it's the spring
springing up inside
me, sprung, springing
me from the
winter jail I didn't
know I was in until
I was freed,
sprung.

__________________________________

Close my eyes and
write, writing with my eyes
closed I can only feel
the physical act of writing
I don't know if I am
writing on top of writing
on top of writing on top
of writing on top. I
have become the blind
Gertrude Stein, playing with
words I cannot say and
maybe cannot read either

______________________

Reflection:

It is odd how with my eyes closed and writing continuously for 1-2 minutes, I do turn into Gertrude Stein when I do these eyes closed writing excercises, but I also think it's because I CANNOT stop or I will lose my place on the page. So it seems to me, from my experience, that Stein's repetitions come, at least in part, as a kind of breath, a breather, a holding pattern while you think of something else, that it's a consequence of not stopping and not coming up for air. It pauses you to think while still not stopping. It's like a skip in a record that goes on until the records bumps out of that groove.

I am really sold on this as a quick, fun form of automatic writing that also focuses your senses because it takes away the visual element while you are writing.

Story written out of spam

The video changed his life.

Someone discovered it lying in a box of trash.

They thought it was dirty.

If not only for the fact that it was shared with all, they wouldn't have known the very top secret code.

I was shocked to learn the group's members knew nothing of it.

Excess of Containment: a brief, partial manifesto of avant garde artistic and literary practices that is belied by its excessively long title

For all of the criticism from English teachers that it is difficult to teach the writing of avant-garde poetry and literature, it is not if you have the right approach. The avant garde is playful. It is only when you are trying to create something perfect, beautiful, it's a chore: a chore to write, a chore to "try" to be avant-garde, to think up the next new great technique when we all know (this is for you Rosalind Krauss et al) that the avant-garde is all about stealing to make art, appropriating, not originality. The true avant-garde artist it would seem should strive to be the least original (but then there is an art to being creatively unoriginal or uncreatively original but then we get back to trying too hard). Appropriating not originality. That frees you up to actually be creative, if creativity is within you, and it is. Some may just have to excavate more, be more unoriginal more often that others in order to dredge up a remnant of creativity from the dregs of anti- non- un-creative subconscious. It will be unlocked. The form creates the container, the structure that will allow its own excess to bubble up like a cesspool of creativity, an excess of containment, an excess of form that enables a glorious excess of content, that feeling that I can put anything into this structure, not the drudgery of a blank page, but the excitement of a child towards an empty box that could be a house, a train, a robot head, infinite possibities lie in the empty container, not on the blank page.