Every poet should want to be knocked off course by some incredible new-to-them poem, whether it’s contemporary, ancient, or from any of the several hundred misery-infused centuries humankind has inflicted on the earth. Nobody should need to know whether a poem is important or permanent before allowing him or herself to get renovated by it.
Yet panel after panel shows our poet-critics back at it, trying to prognosticate what-comes-next, which is really (paradoxically) a diagnostic tool for determining “what will be permanent.”
The Future of Poetry, it would seem, is an eternal question.
The Future of Poetry will be an eternal chain of panels discussing the Future of Poetry.
The Future of Poetry begins to look like the panelists. I’m talking to myself again.
The Future of Poetry will be a decision made by textbook editors and syllabus-designers and prize-hander-outers and best-of-list-makers (Will there be poetry textbooks in the Future of Poetry? Will there be anything else? Is the Future-of-Poetry anything but a pedagogic mode?).
But Poetry will keep on swarming incompatibly in the valley of its own making, a way of happening, a mouth. That valley is a cave, that cave is full of guinea pigs: here in the gorge, here in the stack, here in the heart of the guinea pig darkness.
It looks like Mommy is having another litter.
And Hell has many mouths. — Joyelle McSweeney
Joyelle McSweeney Toxicon and Arachne
‘In Toxicon & Arachne, McSweeney allows the lyric to course through her like a toxin, producing a quiver of lyrics like poisoned arrows. Toxicon was written in anticipation of the birth of McSweeney’s daughter, Arachne. But when Arachne was born sick, lived briefly, and then died, McSweeney unexpectedly endured a second inundation of lyricism, which would become the poems in Arachne, this time spun with grief. Toxicon & Arachne is the culmination of eight years of engagement with lyric under a regime of global and personal catastrophes.’ — Nightboat Books
‘Grief and anger, too, spiral here, with snarl and venom that may stun none who know this searing, delirious, furious poet’s work. Yet, in the seething Toxicon & Arachne, McSweeney wields her wildest knife while making public her arcing, her aching cuts of deep and private mourning without blinking. It’s stupefying.’ — Douglas Kearney
‘Joyelle McSweeney’s Toxicon and Arachne is a very remarkable book. She deals with a vast array of the physical and spiritual, without ever succumbing to the tired cliches of our current stale poetry scene. The book beggars all description but its own incredible inventions, both lyric and tragic (and much else). All otherhow and otherwho…’ — Mac Wellman
from Toxic Sonnets: A Crown for John Keats
I read about the tubercle at night
and I went under. As a crime scene can excite
a drop of lumen to exude its hit of light, I shed wet
light. I wrap the motel room in light. I carry knives
bladed with sputum, and an instinct for spite
like a tree that reaches upward for the heat and wants to burn
or lay down in the slurry for the churn
to paper. Write me
down, chum me, make me into chyme,
spit me out to lay in sawdust like a germ
then burn me. I release a noxious smell.
Dose me with aminoglycocides
till I give in, then lay me in your litter.
I’m a threat to life.
I’m a threat to life, a violent butter.
I spread my toxic inklings like a cloud
-seeding-drone, & drop on crops my shake
of violet water. As the clotted vena cava
sucks dye for the camera, a violent thought
turns all my justs to anger. A fist of cloud
breaks the crowny crater, which vomits up
its own grand cru, palpates the sternum
of the sky for ulcerations. O fish in flume, resting
on your mutagenic breasts, who do you give
your milk to. O mouth that cannot close, oh planet cleft
what cache of weapons do you lean on as you dream
in your pleural cavity, desertified, depressed.
Bad host, you clutch your guest.
Bad host, you clutch your guest. Green seam
fluoresces in night vision, signature of
heat and flesh. Green ghost
lifts headline to the camera, proof of life
washed white by sudden flash. From satellite,
Earth turns on spit like a gut infloresced
with bad intentions. A god descends
with gifts of poetry and plague, he lights up
factory hens, a baffling intervention. They tote
their viral load on wheel, on wing, on breast,
transmigrate the globe and upload
souls to Heaven. O victor-bird, o vector,
I am like you, a non-state actor,
Death-fletched, alive, immune to all elixirs.
Death-fletched, alive, immune to all elixirs,
I sit like a drone pilot at a dock of screens.
My attention is a fang that sinks through plasma
like a toxic arrow or a tooth in Coke. I’m fine.
I’m sick. I grip a joy-stick. Outside, a pink
crust announces evening, buzzards ride
heat signatures at dusk. Inside, plasmodium
reshapes itself, now a slipper, now a gauntlet
tossed down in the gut, and now a Glock, a mouse,
a Mauser, the lucky cloud that mounts the hill
to breaks its blessing on the forehead of the bride
or the wedding guest who’s dead
yet cocks his eye
at any light now breaking in the sky
YETI STET (ROCK STEADY REMIX) by Joyelle McSweeney
Poetry Lecture by Joyelle McSweeney, 11.13.15
Joyelle McSweeney—Dark Sonics
‘The queer poet Lonely Christopher, 33, came of age in the Great Recession, wherein the postwar promise of homeownership was gouged out by neoliberal austerity measures. A house in the suburbs could no longer justify capitalism, yet it appeared that capitalism needed no further justification — an entire generation could be displaced, saddled with debt, derided as lazy and entitled. For queers, the material deprivation was accompanied by the advent of marriage equality, wherein lobbyists and media pundits instrumentalized the promise of homeownership for political maneuvers. Audrey’s daydream of “a matchbox of our own / a fence of real chain link,” once an expression of genuine queer longing, now pointed to the daydream’s ultimate emptiness. “I had to build a wall / around the pain,” writes Christopher, “but walls don’t work / the very concept of a wall / is insane.”
‘Of course, walls work great for straight people. This might be why Christopher devotes much of his latest collection, In a January Would, to the act of demolition: “Gallons of two percent milk mixed with Ballantine Ale / the adamantine smell of calamitous blood / rushing skyward from the gutters through the floor / rats, millions of them, and forgiveness.” If an image is conjured, the reader can expect the poet to immediately deface it; a serene autumn visit to beautiful Fire Island features “a vial of poppers leaking / into the red wine stain / on the red carpeted floor” and “the strains of a boy’s cum floating in a champagne flute.”
‘Never does the vandalism register as gratuitous or geared for shock value, nor does it eschew affect or emotion altogether. Rather, In a January Would suggests that under capitalism, vandalism is inherent to the queer experience. It’s wicked and inscrutable, sure, but to ignore it is to reject a crucial aspect of identity. For Lonely Christopher, to leave our world intact is the true act of violence.’ — Quinn Roberts, LARB
Lonely Christopher In a January Would
‘Lonely Christopher broke up with his boyfriend in Père Lachaise Cemetery on Christmas Day and subsequently produced this intense and trenchant verse series written from one January to the next, using poetry as durational art to track a heartbreak and the ensuing attempt at recovery over the course of a rough year, half of which spent homeless. Abandoned in an indolent postcollegiate haze, searching for meaning but more often finding trouble, Christopher explicates the perverse beauty of a brutal world—from the rooftops of Paris, to the gutters of Brooklyn, and even through the snowy Protestant woods of Connecticut, the poet navigates harsh social realities with style and rigor. The melodrama of time’s passage is on full display as Christopher parses themes of alienation, oppression, and cynicism in a journey through the four seasons. This is a unique break up book that uses the grief of lost love to develop complex and implicating emotional thematics in a refreshing rococo style.’ — Roof Books
‘The title In a January Would feels like a medieval or Swinburnian delicacy, but what follows is rather full of contemporary vigor. The poem titles read as songs on an endless album. A legacy of modernism—the rigorous and angular attention to language that is also a queer inheritance—or rather the reckoning with it, persists through the texts. Always thinking of Duncan and H.D. and Wieners, Rimbaud and his boyfriend. These obdurate and opulent poems are as indestructible as the carvings on a tomb yet as transient as cloud writing. Lonely, ‘you make me feel like a picked zit that just won the Nobel Prize’ and that’s a good thing. Thanks for being so brave for all of us who walk this funny path.’ — Ana Božičević
EX-BOYFRIEND ON THE BEACH
I pissed on a church the blameless ships and the bough
twisted aways; I kissed you in the narthex for sandy
seconds, cruised into the ocher culpability of summery
tributes there is a lingering government in this fade
out for pixels may sting they may wake you nightly
“trust” blisters, dematerializes, the magic of your brain
roasting under a long prospect of crystal stars, as if
a dawn was made for us or surrendering, fettered gulls
given into the sea, the sweat on a can of diet soda
that sort of thing, your coarse tongue enjoying the ridges
of the roof of my mouth and the hustle the ride to
the edge of the island in a stolen moving van, slaves
producers, poetasters, and the emergence of a new
vernacular, what the all-seeing eye cannot capture
and the fictional data crowding my view from this
time share pull the strings your sunglasses dip
down the bridge of your nose, sweat mixed with
sunscreen and dried come splashes into your eye
and from a nostalgic and forlorn vantage I watch
the endless slideshow, ersatz vacations, pictures of
you turning somersaults, turning gold in the comely
glow of another yet another fucking impossible beach
the fantasy of a finch with a potato chip in her mouth
the day that I know I need to meet you at the end of
THE ROAD TO THE TEMPLE OF HONOUR AND FAME
Does a diamond desire itself?
The eagle we know is better than not
escaped in a frigate, preparing to live
vibrancy and rise, just to say and try it out.
While we might as well, might not
it does not seem that you learned from your own example
men and woman and a stroll through the morass
small counties, piteous churches, lurching
you’re not going to be able to stand up to this.
What is the thing that we need, what is it
is it what I take from you when I touch your cheek
or what disappears before me in the dank cave?
Put your hand inside me and become political
caress a hapless farmhand in the outhouse
at the edge of the formal property, attain
or arrive on the bus every day like the rest of them
we all come on the bus we all bow down to masters
of how we do, how we work it out, windows.
I don’t know about you but I was born
to burn the land up
chock full of sin and wonderment
and right now all I want to do is walk down the street
with you and cogitate my small rebellions
I was alone until I met this guy on the Down Low
asked his HIV status, he said, “I don’t know none of that shit.”
His grandma was in the living room, he cried
as he fucked me, I used it as cruel fuel, I dreamt
that my mother took me to the cinema to see Snow White
when I was a little child, buckled up in the back seat
bellowing for alternative monies and preparation
savage as it is, it is the stand, it is where it is going
desire, desire, desire, give me the Supreme Court
give my dad a simpler time when men were men
and a boy could fend off comestible hegemony
by one wave of his magic wand in the parking lot
the eagle opens and clutches, we make the relationship.
We go away, let a formidability pass and spread
put you on the floor girl you are good, you’re dead.
I will make a hundred mistakes and fuck grace
before it is gone away, before it is generated and mad.
We are your unqualified parents, motion for the speaker
on the previous question to table the appeal
on the outstanding parliamentary procedure
to foreclose the following vote for
the approaching amendment for procedure
forecloses and proceeds to the ground
and gets made to be a worse species of your unconscious love.
Lonely Christopher, “In a January Would”
Lonely Christopher, “Brooklyn”
Double Take 29: Lonely Christopher
How long did it take you to write The Intangibles?
Elaine Equi: It took about four years. It’s ninety-six pages long, so that comes to about two pages per month. I usually write more than that, but a lot gets thrown away.
What was the most challenging thing about writing the book?
EE: About three-quarters of the way through the book, there was a fire in my apartment building. I was home at the time and one of the few things I grabbed before running out to the street was the manuscript. Luckily, no one was hurt, but it was incredibly disruptive. I had to put everything in storage and wasn’t able to return to my place for a whole year while repairs were being done. I finished the first draft of the book while sitting in a hotel lounge drinking iced tea. I was glad to have a project to focus on that made me feel more in control. I didn’t write about the fire directly, but the whole experience took me out of my comfort zone in what was ultimately a good way. Rather than knowing exactly how the book should unfold, organizing it became a way for me to respond creatively to the unexpected.
What is the biggest impediment to your writing life?
EE: My nerves. I’m a moody person and sometimes I just can’t access the clarity and objectivity—the equanimity—I need in order to write. I have a line in one piece that says: “My poem that still suffers in the twenty-first century from neurasthenia.” Life often moves too fast for me.
Elaine Equi The Intangibles
Coffee House Press
‘Always count on Elaine Equi’s nimble gymnastics to flip the ordinary around and create something rich and strange . . . These poems do not wear their brooding hearts on their sleeves but rather flirt and banter, drawing us close before revealing their ruminative complexities.’ — Albert Mobilio, Hyperallergic
‘Elaine Equi is curious about where we’re headed. What do we have in common after all—a brand, a mini-series? It’s the intangibles that fascinate, whether morphing through robotics, noticing the new ‘featurelessness of things’ with citizens staring into their palms, or finding ourselves stalked by a hologram. It’s the mystery of our ever-weirder world where the machines dream us. Amusement was the beneficent state Frank O’Hara recommended and in a post-post-reality it’s what Equi has in quantum leaps, in her Zen-ish DNA. This is a book for now and for the future, a panacea and antidote to the fear of the inane unknown. Equi’s elegant control of line, image, percolating observation is always a taut surprise. I feel better already. Inside these subtle poems, complete little universes, there’s never a dull moment.’ — Anne Waldman
‘Elaine Equi’s perfect pitch sends her wry voice in directions no other contemporary poet knows how to visit. She trims a narrative to its mad essence; she winnows lyric into a shape more giddy than aphorism, more delirious than koan. Reality, in Equi’s eyes, is pleasantly disrupted by words—her words, which are regular citizens of their sentences but also strangers to all normative modes of behavior. Read The Intangibles for the tangible joy these generous epistles give.’ — Wayne Koestenbaum
The Thing Is
What is the difference between objects and things?
Things, I think, have less personality.
These days, all objects are antiques—hearken back to an era of hands handling them.
Playing cards, wooden matches, buttons, plush stuffed bears—we recognize them from the still lifes where they once quivered.
They were—are—tools, curios, refugees from the modernist era.
Of course, we still have these things. But now they are like us, just things.
They no longer celebrate their secret identity—the inner life once bequeathed upon even objects.
They are a bit featureless. One thing not so different from another.
This Is Not a Poem
the poem exists
always and only
in the mind
of the reader
and these words
can never be more than
a map of abbreviations
however crude or elaborate
the poem comes into being
as the writer reads
and the reader anticipates
one can fill every inch
with writing and still
be no closer to the poem
as it lies there
a liar with a beautiful voice
that is often mistaken for silence
Like a window
open in winter
I look to the edge of
hair, teeth, nails
Too busy to be internal
libido calmly rushes
in one orchard
and out another
Its knotted weather
Its peach thread melody
is squandered away.
Earth, You Have Returned to Me by Elaine Equi
Readings in Contemporary Poetry – Elaine Equi and Jerome Sala
Poet Elaine Equi reads from Ripple Effect
The evening after they discovered the tumor growing inside of me, I found myself sitting in my small home office, completing the last bits of the semester’s grading. Seemingly out of the ether, the lyrics of a song came to me: And I know it, I can’t see it / But I know it enough to believe it. I put my pen down, rested my head against the window next to my desk, and closed my eyes. From where did Hole’s “Jennifer’s Body” arrive? Why this song, now? My thoughts were plangent, and as the melody and lyrics continued to run through me, I was transported to the smazy memory of my younger self staring out a car window at a yellowing beach town, mouthing the words, “Sleeping with my enemy myself.”
It was in the spring of 1995 that my mother was diagnosed with stage IV invasive epithelial ovarian cancer, and it was late in the summer of that year that I was taken on vacation by my friend D’s parents. I don’t remember much about the vacation itself—a snapshot of bodysurfing, a faint recollection of falling asleep at a late-night screening of Waterworld—but I do recall the car ride from Philadelphia, particularly the music piping through my cheap headphones: Hole’s Live Through This, Rancid’s Let’s Go!, a sample CD from the College Music Journal featuring songs by Teenage Fanclub and the Circle Jerks that fascinated me. The interstate became clogged and dusty, two-lane, and as I sat in my office, I could recall the intermittent view of a wave rolling toward shore interrupted by rows of stilted clapboard vacation homes, all while Courtney Love wailed, “Make me real, fuck you.”
It was a rasping demand that I appreciated back then. My mother spent most of her time in bed or on the couch, gray and vomiting and suddenly hyper-religious, while my father worked in the day and spent sleepless nights caring for her. His parents lived with us for a while. Besides games of Scrabble and gin rummy, we all found few ways to bridge the gaps between us. I had friends, of course, and their well-meaning parents who carted us around to various activities or allowed us free reign to run around, but none of it mattered to me. It all seemed like a prefab distraction to which I was supposed to resign myself. Because I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was a well-meaning ruse, I also couldn’t slough the inkling that there was something deeply wrong with me, that I was an unreal target of an immense plot.
In my head, the vacation with D and his family remains at the center of this plot, of this whole time period, even though many specifics of the time near the seaside have slipped away. Other than the music that obsessed me, my sharpest memory of the trip is when, during the last slog in the family sedan, I proclaimed that Courtney Love was a genius. For a moment, C’s mom and dad looked at each other. Then one of them dismissed my enthusiasm by denigrating Love as “crazy” or something similarly pejorative.
The contemptuous tone of their reaction solidified what had already been congealing: that my dim view of my circumstances as a being in this world would never be recognized as legitimate, and that the conspiracy of distraction was not imagined. I was not presumed to feel anger, pain, or bitterness, and when the extraordinarily vivid reality of those emotions came to the fore, they could be discarded by others as easily as my expressions of joy and exuberance, of identification. I put my headphones back on: No one cares, my friends. — Ted Rees
Ted Rees Site
Ted Rees @ timelesslightinfinite
Podcast: Ted Rees with Ariel Resnikoff
CATACLYSM’S OPEN ROAD AND BURNT RUBBER: A CONVERSATION BETWEEN JAMIE TOWNSEND AND TED REES
Buy ‘Thanksgiving: A Poem’
Ted Rees Thanksgiving: A Poem
‘Named for a fast-food sandwich and written during rounds of chemo, Ted Rees’s second book is a poem comprising 498 linked haiku and sent coursing through the “cemetery / Of repressed anguish” that is America. The haiku form, which should dilate into bowers of momentous stillness, succumbs in Rees’s narrative extrusion to a torrential historicity: the poem moves at the relentless pace of a police scanner, dream-fed on Cinnabon and petroleum byproducts, a stream of consciousness that is at once revenue stream, live stream, blood stream, click stream, stream dammed to flood and tapped for bottled water. The old transparent eyeball and anaphoric “I” of the pioneer imaginary, profligate as Johnny Appleseed sowing virgin lands with exclamation points, are bounced as trappings of colonial venturing. Rees’s “wild mad” song counters the barbarism of the imperial yawp, burrowing underneath the remote-investment realtyscape of payday loan franchises, strip-mall churches, and detention centers doubling as urgent care clinics. If not precisely hopeful, the poem hints at the isolated prospect of relations running counter to accumulation, of affect eluding capture, of guarded solidarity among those sheltering in the crooks and crannies of blasted overburden: preteen pyros torching lilacs in the dooryard, dropouts lighting out for the backcountry, and militant recusants disappearing into abandoned office parks. THANKSGIVING is a queer and delirious poem of making do in the long tail of empire.’ — Golias Books
The proposal came:
of cities plopped down
in cities. How cool,
let me lay here in the sun
until my dream’s done
feeling mellow and
the hills are on fire, focus
a drive-thru order.
I listened to way
too much punk rock as a kid
and reside there still
in part, so easy
a tell: this poem’s rough attempt
at starting a pit,
a crazed whirl masking
highly ordered behaviors
a critique of dominance
while sucking it off,
the far harbor of
tongue both an imposition
and imposed upon.
My Awesome Wishlist:
a color without a logo–
the dancing flambeaux–
naked pesto slip-n-slide–
these are normal things.
What’s abnormal is
the taste is gonna move you
whether you like it
or no. He slipped and
fell right down on his little
fat newsflash, stretching
the canvas to shreds.
They’re us, that’s all. Bugs in drag
and I run away
turned rain. Never recover
from all of the lights–
brassy triumphal tunage
a cavern of false.
I’m looking into
the moistest superlative
availed us today–
it needs be squishy
by def housed in conventions
and double yellows.
Yes, I like to dive
’round in it like a porpoise,
a regional brewpub chain’s
dirty taps exposed,
on the new Bluetooth headsets,
blood on seat covers.
Toss the garbage, kid–
roll the window back up, this
is it boys, it’s war.
Where’d you grab your voice?
It’s as if a myth rang up.
The rich man sprang in
the dirt carriageway,
tipping the cart and killing
the hack ‘ere this morn.
The trouble with lauds:
our wounds are foul and fester.
There is no healing.
There’s no shortening
of the commute, peons to
forthright dream cloture
and broadened embeds
of a gouged mess of supposed
We’re talking class, sure,
and we’re all trying to eat
and it’s difficult,
but pause the game, bro,
and kill your uncle, you know,
the one with HD
teevees on all walls–
a rust-covered disused grill–
a trip to Vegas
every quarter now,
silent cousins and your aunt’s
downcast eyes, he laughs
and slurps and sings songs
regarding a liberty
he can’t really want
since his breath remains.
The Rousseauian koan reeks
more each year in bloom.
My lenses altered.
I think of how hilarious
the temporal fold
we inhabit here:
I’m injected with poison
that murdered four friends
in this year’s vapor,
villain in this mass crisis,
and I moan awake
to what? More bad news.
Under the bridges shaking
north and east of then
someone you know coughs.
Hold a mirror to the nose.
Its sense is a rake
or nails on the skull:
unwashed and warm ass–
leaf pulp usual–
butane leak and melty plastic–
I carved some names in
the fresh concrete slab,
lifting my shirt to my face
and repulsed, let go
an abstract throttle
toward an acid bath sunset–
years from now collapse.
I hope bog bodies
continue to fascinate
in that so far place
just to sit around
in the evening’s conjecture
and squelch, collected
and with sunglasses.
Everyone’s now on these drugs,
factor in wood grain
then it reads okay–
oh my god we created
cut-out of raggy
yet slick shambolicism,
a desperate cheap glue
that manages, sure,
but its persistence burbles
mostly harrowed down
with some good tree’s common name
then Euro suffix
of sorts, like villa.
I have a garage plain stacked
with unused hard drives,
bulged tubs of paper,
dry shrubs, scythes, alum shovels,
webs fibrous, gooey.
So do you feel that
or do you hear what I hear,
the beating of lambs?
Wrong poem or lyric.
It’s like medical strobing
or unnerving asks:
What if we’re pen names?
What is the space between horns?
Press hand to temple–
plug one ear canal–
repeat for the other side–
cry out with what’s stored
in the lifelong glimpse
into strange windows at dusk–
of ill yellow, an orange
corporate in its gnaw–
kick the shit outta
me, a mistake, too many
syllables. Wrong poem
or way on one way–
it’s a car, it’s a mountain,
I’m spewing on both
my purpose here: to envy
these fabulous blinds.
Paul Semel: The poems in What My Hair Says About You are all free verse. What is it about free verse that you like so much?
Laura Theobald: It’s the best kind of verse. Fight me.
PS: What My Hair Says About You comes with the dedication “for women.” What do you hope that I, as a man, will get out of reading it?
LS: I don’t care.
PS: Okay then. Now, aside from What My Hair Says About You, you have another poetry collection coming soon called Kokomo. First, when will that be out?
LS: Next year some time. Whenever we can manage to finish putting it together — just some edits and a cover, I guess.
PS: When were the poems in Kokomo written in relation to those of What My Hair Says About You?
LS: What My Hair Says About You was written from like 2009 to 2016; Kokomowas written between 2016 and 2018.
PS: And is there a theme to Kokomo?
LS: I’d love someone else to answer this question for me because it’s hard for me to say much besides that they just feel different. They’re about two different relationships. Kokomo is also set in New Orleans, where I was living, and kind of obliquely references the Florida Keys, where I grew up.
Laura Theobald KOKOMO
‘Theobald’s poems unabashedly invite us to escape with her to the private island of her mind. On these invisible beaches, loneliness and desperation reign, and comfort is found in the companionship of a cat or in holding your favorite stuffed animal, in baking cakes and stuffing butterflies into jars. These poems don’t shy away from bodily functions or how difficult it is to be a poet if you don’t leave your house. This book is for anyone who has ever drowned in their own heartbreak and enjoyed it. This book is for anyone. This book is for no one. This book is for you.’ — Disorder Press
I love the word cunt
I said cunt at the bar
and my friend’s mom said
it was a fighting word where she was from
I said I love the word cunt
the mom looked pissed
I think she might have wanted to fight me
I said I call my friends cunts all the time
I didn’t mention
that my friends don’t actually like that
and that actually those friends don’t even talk to me anymore
but I didn’t like this woman telling me what to do
I didn’t care if she was in remission
and down from Michigan for her daughter’s birthday
and that I was acting like a cunt
I said cunt is a beautiful word
cunt is a word for my pussy
and for when I’m acting like a cunt
she said that’s the worst thing you can say about a person
I said that is just your opinion
I could tell she thought I was trash
sometimes people will think you’re trash
when you’re trying to make a point
later she saw me playing pool and said
she wanted to get along
but that I shouldn’t say that word
I said I was sorry she didn’t like it but
I was going to keep saying it
she said I shouldn’t say it again
I said I would
she said she liked Blondie
I put a quarter in the jukebox and played Blondie
and she went away
for my first eight years
I didn’t know I was alive
then my grandma put some butterflies in a jar
and their wings stopped
and we placed their bodies behind glass
sometimes when I’m alive now
I can’t remember what I’ve said
but when I feel love
I feel like my heart could stop
maybe my Aunt will think
that poem is macabre
what I have to say about that word
is that it is true
I’m sorry Aunt Dolores
I’m not a Christian
I’m sorry all of my family
who fell out of love with me
why is my heart sad now
I got beamed into a sad book
for two days reading it
I had a terrible secret
and when I finished
no one could understand me
the world had changed
I dreamt about slapping your face again
when I woke up
you were rummaging through my purse for drugs
what are we gonna do about the cops
(let’s kill them)
there is nothing going on
on the internet
people feel the urge to say shitty things to me
and I supposedly love it
I saw you sitting
on the floor drunk
and I just thought
fight or fuck
VOLUME 2 P 172
What’s New in Poetry
The Best Thing Ever
p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Give Paris a few more days of this and I suspect I’ll start to get the panic thing first hand although, this being France, I think pissed off is more likely. Our tastes just can’t seem to coincide lately, ha ha. Everyone, Mr. E riffs on gaslighting over on his legendary FaBlog which is located here. ** Sypha, I was already too old for the Muppets or too ironic or something. Yes, I think you should prepare yourself for probable work stoppage of a most unpleasant variety. ** alex rose, Alex, maestro! So good to see you in my brightly lit, isolated cave here. You guys are lucky to have work to go back to that quickly. I don’t think there’ll be work, or at least non-art making work, to return to here for ages yet. I’m not in the bickering phase yet. Oh, wait, I did get a little bickery for a minute or two last night. Oh, shit. No, I’m just trying to construct a world that has my apartment as its control center like everybody else here, I guess. Please come back and keep me company at a hat’s drop. Big love from me. ** Armando, Hi. Oh, I’m fine, I suppose, given the vexing circumstances. This morning Zac and I have an online/virtual Skype-like meeting with a grant committee to plead our new film’s case that we are not looking forward to at all. And my new Switch is supposed to arrive. And I need to fill out a form and go to the supermarket. That’s my day. No, I haven’t finished reading your thing, but I’ll let you know when I have. Great about the review! The post about your book is getting very strong traffic, so people out there are interested and discovering it. Take care and later. ** Bill, Hi. Thanks! I did see the online evidence of her chapbook and was similarly drawn in. After I get through the virtual grant pleading deal this morning and its related planning and stressing, Henke talking to your class is priority #1. Thank you for the bandcamp tip and link!!! How did you get through your current batch of slightly less stringent lockdown? ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. That ‘SS’ thing looks to have been interesting. Enjoy your luck that you can actually venture out without a prove-ably essential reason for doing so. Thank you for the mix link! ** schlix, Hey, Uli. I keep thinking every country will be as locked up like France and Italy and Spain soon, but that might be doomsaying. Enjoy the relative freedom. Amazing how much a quick, meaningless little stroll can mean when it’s off limits. Facebook is more hell on earth every second. Yeah, stay positive, man. This will end, but fuck, it’s scary how long that might take. Or not? Love, me. ** Jeff J, Hi. Thanks about the post. This site’s need to swallow visible evidence of comments alive is just the most irritating mystery. I’ve never actually seen that doc on Kathy. I forgot that I was in it. How is it? I should watch it, obviously. It must be out there somewhere. Got your email and your proposed time is good, and I’ll write you back to confirm officially today. ** Misanthrope, The inevitable has arrived. Meaning you working from home. Glad you’re enjoying it. Enjoy being able to go outside whenever you want, and don’t take it for granted, whatever that involves. People are still acting civilised here, but I can’t imagine they will for too much longer. Keep on, yes. That’s my (only) plan too. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Nice of everyone to be entertaining everybody for free right now, or attempting to a least. My blog was ahead of its time, ha ha. Sounds like a plan and good way to kill home time: revising your earlier script/work. I’m basically uninterested in Beyonce in general, so there’s not really a reason to watch that thing of hers, I suspect. Well, I spend a lot of time at home in the best of circumstances working, so the adjustment is not as hard for me as it is for more extroverted types. But I’m working. Gisele has a project for me to start on. Will start playing games on my Switch today. I think I’ll stay sane enough, although I do think I’m going to start sneakily breaking the rules and seeing friends somehow pretty quickly because that’s the hardest part. ** Thomas Moore, Hi, T! Thanks a lot, pal, and I agree. I think I had Steven Shearer in another related thematic post past or forthcoming, which is why I skipped him this time out. Can’t wait for your book. That Philip Best is such a fucking hero, no? What a great guy. ** Barkley, Hey there, Barkley! Very nice to see you! The first game that I’m starting with on my new Switch is ‘Luigi’s Mansion 3’. I thought that might be a good one to use to learn the new controller as I’ve never played on a Switch before. Then there’s catching up to do, like the last ‘Zelda’, etc. There’s this weird game where you play as a goose that looks kind of nuts, and I might score that? Recommendations? I could definitely use them? You doing good, I hope, I hope? ** Okay. Today I give you five poetry books that come with my strong recommendation. That’s the story. See you tomorrow.