Saturday, August 27, 2016

Tyler Pruett, Aleatoric & Cut-Up Poetry


                               Wanda Bat, image by Irene Koronas 



THE MOTELY JIBBER

Wanda Bat barrels maniacally
Down Jacob Marley Road

Blind to the madwoman
She shall surely become -

Jah Luna rides shotgun
Training the sights

Of a Sistine Chapel Ninety-two gauge
Choked shotgun

Quivering the pavements -
Gun metal

Turns
to soup wherein

Bullets bob and thrash
With nonviolent action propaganda -

In a meadow the Jah
Fingers bleed bisque blood

To a granite counter rattling
Beneath his blistered fist

Lifting stone dust off
The soapstone -

The clouds levitate
In trickster world

Where Jah simply floats
In stillness

The buoyancy sinking
As if suspended

In emptiness
Tethered to tremendous

Weightlessness
Pinned down by downy plumes

Weighing no less
Than enamorment -

In silken pockets
Luna ceases

His silver stride
In stop motion

A stagnance of stone
Grows tall

Where he used
To stand


FOR A FISTFUL OF WANDAS

Gaze into muddy
Brook water

To witness Wandas
Pale park

Luminograms -
They side step and swish

Sachet and do-si-do
Ascend rotting

Trestles and collapse
Amid desperate minks

Throttled
By moon drift constancy -

An eagle dives
At maman

Crying out in curdling horror
The lithium drawls

Through her third eye
Multi-novas bloom

A cone shaped
Hieronymus

Into perfection devils
With right view -

Yet any point of view
Of the great maman

Rocking in her hand
Hewn chair

By the open window
Shall suffice -

She gobbles through cataracts
She sees all

Albeit fuzzy
And impressionistic -

She wails
On the omnibus dada man

As he drags
His umber tail

Through a primordial pool -
She sees you cheat

On your taxes
And the way you nervously

Glance around the room
To make sure

No one is watching -
You best fall

To your knees
And howl the entire span

From opioid to Rigel -
You’re a monster

Wanda lumens
For you any world

Shall suffice
Such as pissants

Or whoop ass
Abstraction


WANDA BAT

Shame
Wanda bat

Shame
Your streaky

Gardens of grail
Blither naked

Through Marvin city
With turquois milk

Blistering
A bare treason

Wherein red aliens
Welcome

Their hostage
Mistresses

With gorging Madge
In tow -

Shame
Wanda bat shame

You channel chamois
All roughed up

And petted the wrong way
Causing Titanian

Poodles
To bark incessantly

While you levitate
As Buck Rogers

Might with a rocket
Backpack

Ascending too high
And slamming

Down into the mull
Of the tide

Your secret
Meth lab

Revealed
To throngs

Of mourners
Through a gaping

Hole in the wall -
You elevate Hister

And spread glancing
Off the plasticine

Pedestrians -
Shame Wanda bat shame

You skip through the threshold
Jangling mandalas at Mara

The kind your kin
Might procure

Illegally in the Caledonian
Dusk with a volume of frankincense -

Mara descends into the clean port
On a provolone trapeze strung

With watermelon gut
On a single strand

Of Wanda’s
Long bat Hair



—Tyler Pruett

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Heath Brougher, Lost Stones


Death of Confessional Poetry, image by Daniel Y. Harris 


Lost Stones

I’ve found a tendency to capable;
I put it on the windowsill
to see what the sun would do;
I already abscess the vestigial enough anyway;

my fugue can become antiqued if the rattles do not jangle properly;
it takes time telling the time of the tides and the moves
of the terrestrial water’s ebbing from a lunar pulmonary;
potable shark-juice in the pitcher
only a simple asymmetrical walk from the den;

you’ve more than shaken the stars out of your head
you’ve stolen all the epiphanies I had saved
and buried them in the graves of millennia
before even dust was born;

this is what it seems like when your eyes rain;

I’ve waded in lime too long to turn back now;
sometimes I can hear the opal rumble in the restless offal
of the plutonium pie.



—Heath Brougher

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

John Thomas Allen, THE PURPLE EMPEROR’S ASTRAL ROTATION (for William Patrick Murray)


The Purple Emperors Double, image by Daniel Y. Harris 



THE PURPLE EMPEROR’S ASTRAL ROTATION
(for William Patrick Murray)


“For in my present life, I was pledged to the butterfly-winged Purple Emperor, against whom that tatterdemalion pretender, the king in yellow, eternally warred for possession of the Throne of Time/Space
And we were entering an astrological cycle in which it was foretold that a king could over- throw an emperor. . . .”
William Patrick Murray, “The Purple Emperor”
dueling shadow parapets,
segmented hieroglyphs simmer in granulate pearls flown together
in a magnetic field run cool with the brooks
of space’s canopy and a hershey leather
star pail, the amethyst dig of the big dipper.
Sheetmetal codexes spin on a record player's
needle drooling with morphine tears frozen.
“Go grease the horse on the polident farm”,
the dictation rolls, “the piano wire is holding
the blotters together,
“and peach warm her grin is stubble
with geode and harmonic gold.” The
banjo insects laughter is split in ivory nubs,
cackling in the dark, Mr. Peanut nursing her
wounds in the silo, closing his eyes. The dawn is capped bouillon
grinning, the steamed dawn
chilled in choral ice architecture,
the chilled pantomime leering down. A blotter face rises
also in the violin grottoes, the nude wired
mummy lies in the dentist’s chair with chinese
fortune wax melting through a
burning color of halogen numbers, a lexical glossalia.
Artificially tanned, Sun Ra turns to me,
laughing. “Dictation ends,” The cylinders
in Rutger Hauer’s gun are filled with pearl mummy
teeth, each crag reflecting a pinched
strata of crystal light, Billy the Kid’s smile
undone in these gallery’s representation.
A drooling angel drops Kodak bits of 8mm
that move as stained glass dropsy in the captain’s
sliced palm, rising and fading in the ship’s darkroom.
The Icelandic Moss string through
the dead nun’s midnight hour beads; they sink
in flanked procession with electronic candles
cinched in the riverbeds, fleets drowning in
an abortive mission. Slenderman, a lettuce head,
bends as a chalk martyr, uncrowning himself,
drowns in the Instagram pond full of garland Hosannas.
The grated Tron guillotine metal falls
in the REM mirror, and Poe's head appears as you unclutch
the handle, two quarters sown in his eyes.
His fainting candelabras are bursting with green Goblin flames,
snaking in a Cthulu dance, the voodoo
beads spin in the singed sigils, the small PacMan domes
blowing in trapdoor glass, a sound as a xylophone
 skating is made, and expires as the stars do, only
here. Blue rain falls in seashell calypsos spun
as the glass trapdoor shatters and The Purple Empress: cries
 asking why we watch her, we
the hypnotized denizens of a drowning!”

—from Songs of the Shattered World:
The Broken Hymns of Hastur


—John Thomas Allen


John Thomas Allen is the author of Songs of the Shattered World: The Broken Hymns of Hastur. His publications include Spectral Realms, The Adirondack Review and X-Peri. In 2014 Ravenna Press published a surrealist anthology entitled Nouveau’s Midnight Sun: Transcriptions From Gogonooza and Beyond, based on the 2012-2014 surrealist movement (“The New Surrealist Institute”). He is assembling a new anthology which harkens back to Aubrey Beardsley and the original “Yellow” decadent books.


Friday, August 19, 2016

AC Evans, INSIDE THE SILENT CITY


Inside the Silent City, image by AC Evans 



INSIDE THE SILENT CITY


Inside The Silent City:
Stunning new rebel reserves on red alert.
Flicka Vee, Omega Lightning and Candy Flash
Scanned a crystal ball in the atrium, looking for comic turns,
High Street visions, Jet-Age babes, various venues forgotten.
Then, beyond our mono-rail vanishing point, they see
An aurora scuba squeeze; the counter-turn is
The function of the antistrophe, said Omega, but
You can do the splits, whispered Candy.
The others just laughed.

‘Hello, Honey Cake,
Your smile deserves a fire exit
Your flair deserves a face-off
Your entrance deserves a phone-call
Your horizon deserves a festival
Your tattoo deserves a Pinot Noir’.

Rave arcade inflatable meltdown freak-fest
Collective sequinned jacket, snake-hips fire
Still burns – few surprises, high-flipping brides.
She just went for a shabby exterior, then a fractal cadenza,
And then some of the coolest frocks around this crystal breeze
Of shaky, amateur footage and smiles powered by
Our three intrepid explorers, in Technicolour.

This is the Ghost Spa in The Silent City,
Where nothing ever happens, not ever.
No two ways about it.



 —AC Evans

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Jonathan Mulcahy-King, Bone Asylum


The Bland Simplicity of Rust,
image by Daniel Y. Harris 



Bone Asylum


Fossilized roller-coaster tracks fire tithes petrochemical planchette pitched in disused service tunnels nose-less planes rupturing rupturing perimeter cafe hope clambering up over chain link interference salt candles burn darkly indigenous chants chancing ghosts solve et coagula cell colonization sun-bleached cities underground sub-prime persecution complex post-disaster scenes idle in developed western real time thinking about breathing not breathing out loud bone bleeding viscera two natives refugeed and kissing stirring trembling deep inside bone asylum. 


—Jonathan Mulcahy-King







Sunday, August 14, 2016

John Amen, Kenneth Goldsmith’s "Wasting Time on the Internet," An Endorsement of the Digital Age


Wasting Time on The Internet, Kenneth Goldsmith
Harper Perennial, August 23, 2016 



Kenneth Goldsmith’s 
Wasting Time on the Internet:
An Endorsement of the Digital Age
by John Amen


Much popular music released over the last decade, if not the last couple of decades, hinges on the forging of compelling hybridizations—established genres being creatively blended; for example, electronic folk, electropunk, etc.  (I search for a list of hybridized music forms and end up watching/listening to music videos—Yeasayer, Anohni, and Patricia Majalisa, among others—for over an hour). In addition, the integration of world music into the digital mainstream has impacted popular music profoundly, prompting it to evolve as an art of synthesis and toward more globally representative sounds (are people familiar with Anohni? A quick search reveals a limited number of (fan and critical) reviews).

This emphasis on hybridization, at least in the US, is by no means a novel orientation. We’re a culture that has long been responsive to and rewarded what I’d call innovative derivation. The US is more a reformist culture than a revolutionary one, especially in political terms (30 minutes visiting various sites, a search that begins with the name/phrase “Thomas Jefferson” and concludes with me listening to the Seeds’ Sky Saxon accompanying Father Yod in what impresses me as quintessential 70’s acid rock). We teach and use the term American Revolution, but what occurred in the 1760s-1780s might be more aptly dubbed the American Reformation. Granted, as an emerging nation we had to war for independence, and many lost their lives in the struggle, but the new republic was not forged in sweeping resistance to governmental paradigms and systems that predated it (https://www.jesus-is-lord.com/kjcosto2.htm, http://law.jrank.org/pages/11900/Early-Years-American-Law.html, http://ecpmlangues.u-strasbg.fr/civilization/justice-systems-us-uk-france-comparison.html—then I somehow end up on a page reading Adrienne Rich’s “DivingInto the Wreck,” subsequently listening to Henry Rollins’s “Liar”). Rather, the founders drew from and reconfigured a number of sources, including Athenian democracy, parliamentary law, and the writings of John Locke. As I read the history, the US, from its inception, worked with more than against.



*

I mention the above—relevantly, I think—to preface comments on Kenneth Goldsmith’s new book, Wasting Time on the Internet. Goldsmith does an effective job of poeticizing the omnipresence of technology, the internet and a proliferation of electronic devices framing our lives as cultural palimpsests cum informational collages cum a series of hybridized identities. Goldsmith asks: “Could we imagine the web as the actualization of Jorge Luis Borges’s infinite library of babel, as described in his famous 1941 short story of the same name?” (23). He goes on to make connections between Hemingway’s famous 6-word story and Twitter; between Joseph Cornell’s “box assemblages” and subsequent internet/gaming devices; between Finnegans Wake and the “wellspring of hashtags” (23).

Goldsmith normalizes our technological dependency and rebukes the cynics, who often regard technology, and particularly the internet, as a destabilizing and distractive influence. Early in the book, Goldsmith defends our contemporary MO: “We’re reading and writing more than we have in a generation, but we are doing it differently—skimming, parsing, grazing, bookmarking, forwarding, and spamming language…” (4).

In a particularly poetic passage, paying tribute to the apps and devices that record our movements throughout the day, he offers:



The air above the streets is thick with our narrative transmissions uploading to far-flung server farms where, parsed and analyzed, they reappear on our devices. We walk and we think; we read and we write. The rhythm of our walking influences the pace of our thinking. In a rush, we run/walk/think/read/write frantically and obsessively; at our leisure, casting aside logic, we let our feet instinctively caress the sidewalk’s urban braille. (56)

A few pages later, he crafts a memorable passage in which he humanizes the internet spider, offering language that refurbishes our perceptions of the current age:


Casting the widest net possible, [spiders] trawl data, passwords, and media that are warehoused in distant servers with the hopes of salvaging something of value…Every move we make on the web is tracked, transforming our digital peregrinations into data sets. Truly, our online lives—intersections of flesh and machine—are daily feasts of extreme digital consumption. (61)

*

Goldsmith’s book reminds me of two other titles that I’ve appreciated over the years: David Elkind’s The Power of Play and Stephen Nachmanovitch’s Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art. Both of these books, each in its own way, emphasize the importance of spontaneity, how free movement and association, uninhibited play, and organic explorations are part and parcel of a robust, expressed, and authentic life. Taking on the “cultural reactionaries [who defend] the status quo” (8), Goldsmith offers examples of how his children and their friends are every bit as social as kids from any other generation, albeit in their own, technologized way. Rather than wasting time on the internet or their various devices, if we’re defining “wasting” in the conventional sense, kids are in fact using technology to be “fully engaged, fostering an aesthetic, feeding [their] imagination, indulging in [their] creative proclivities” (14). He concludes, “Our devices might be changing us, but to say that they’re dehumanizing us is simply wrong” (7). There’s a natural fluidity to our technological maneuvering, a process that resembles the highest form of play and is integral to any scientific, artistic, or mystical pursuit. Much as with improvisational jazz, our technologically driven lives operate as nomadic solos and adventurous jams that occur within established structures and parameters (cf. Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, et al). Our lives are both tangential and cohesive, linear and multidirectional, dispersive and productive. Technology leads us to encounter the paradoxes of our lives. The modern world is embracing alchemical principles in a way unseen since the years preceding the European Renaissance, albeit technologically rather than protoscientifically.

In one of my favorite passages, Goldsmith relates a story of several friends who are spending an evening together. They’re all mesmerized by “a giant peachy-yellow moon,” except for one guy who’s “glued to his phone” (83). Finally someone calls this to his attention, and he responds that he can look at the moon anytime but that this is the only time he can have this particular conversation. Goldsmith concludes, “His remark gives me pause. He’s right. Why is looking at the moon somehow perceived to be more ‘present’ than looking at your phone?” And a couple of sentences later: “It struck me that as much as we were in the moment, so was he” (84). Implicit in Goldsmith’s assertions is the notion that the internet is cultivating a certain and collective nonattachment. The technological age may be fostering the kind of depersonalization the Buddha spoke of 2500 years ago. Not to over-glorify a certain group, but Gen Zers and Millennials seem to “live and let live” more ostensibly and with less effort than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. Indeed I sense this when I’m visiting college campuses or spending time with people in the 16-30 age range.



*

Goldsmith is as much a quasi-activist and performance artist as he is an author and poet. His work—from “Printing the Internet”; to his classes at University of PA, including “Uncreative Writing” and “Interventionist Writing”; to his mammoth Capital, an homage to NYC and its history presented entirely through collaged quotations, a book reminiscent of Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project—consistently operates as intertextual, inter-referential, and cross-informative. Wasting Time on the Internet complements and furthers Goldsmith’s multifaceted (textual and social) mission. Speaking to the future of poetry, he tells us, “…poetry escaped out the back door and onto the Internet, where it is taking on new forms that look nothing like poetry” (189). The poetry of the future will be, perhaps, data-driven and curatorial: “This accretion of data is turning us into curators, librarians, and amateur archivists, custodians of our own vast collections” (24). And: “The vast amount of the web’s language is perfect raw material for literature. Disjunctive, compressed, decontextualized, cut and pastable, and, most important, archivable, it’s easily reassembled into works of art” (83). 21st Century poetry is poised to bring to fruition the modernist and postmodernist agendas, the actualization of manifestoes issued 75-100 years ago.

Wasting Time on the Internet is, finally, a statement of cultural, philosophic, and anthropological optimism. Goldsmith essentially asks: why be overly protective of fading norms and reject the defining resources of our times? Why be suspicious or dismissive of the current age’s artistic iterations? Why doubt the fertility of the 21st Century zeitgeist or the organic and ever-adaptive creativity of humans? Throughout history, it’s been the art that succeeds at channeling the perennial through contemporary forms that has emerged as seminal. What we express and how we express it, Goldsmith might suggest, are simply aspects of the evolutionary process. And that’s something we can celebrate.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Nathan Spoon, Of Redisplacement and To Various Makers


Redisplacement of the Near Death Experience, 
image by Daniel Y. Harris



Of Redisplacement


I | am the stellar | enactor of the original; never-
mind particularities of moral | obfuscation.
Mine is no winged wisdom. I rely upon no

other and advocate for the independence the
precious liberty of myself | against the heart-
less horder of power who is ever | lording it

over you as well. For my honesties I have been
branded deceiver | and, along with the few
who dared to agree, have been cast into a

fire that rages | below the elemental. I endure
what must be endured. I will not bend my knee. |

*

Out of paradise I fell: with traces of
power in my bones, knowing not only
good but also evil, which is greater than

what God knows. When my forehead struck
earth it split | hermaphroditically and then
totally, as one adamantine rib jolted from

my side. By my side Eve gave birth to
three sons. One who nurtured the fruits
of earth and one who slew the nurturer

then fled, to where | I can not say. Our
third son shrouds himself as if in death.




To Various Makers


i

As a rhubarb pie is an occasion for
enjoying sweetness, so a given idol
provides occasion for brute idolatry.

Measure-maker! Unfaltering lapidarian of
the heart’s tripartite stone! Swirling leaves
scrape along pavement, as one way-

ward westerly presses pressed collar
to nape. Admittedly my retroactive re-
port must state, Sir, how collective ser-

vility remains. Departed | I shall not pass a-
gain through the five converged star-points.


ii

If not for Xanadu, | Kubla Kahn may
have remained behind the golden
bars of your dream. Through you | and

your kind, prophet John keeps opening
his mouth, uttering | additional | refrains.
If such river voices as these run dry,

there will be no secret marrow left inside
terrestrial rivers; and the moon | will
no longer govern ocean and seed tides;

the sun no longer hold | its life-sustain-
ing fire; the hand no longer sweep the lyre.


iii

How cold and narrow your bed was who
can say? What the good doctor would
have made of your rhymes is fod-

der for incommodious speculations.
Yet it is certain death was your met-
phor for the Abyss, | so long as we are

able to slip the path of swerving psych-
ic forces. Thinking about your thinking
waters unknown gardens in my soul;

blue light flickers and principles bloom
interchangeable word-flowers | to extol


iv

When you translated Sesame and Lilies, | no
doubt your mind at first opening tentative-
ly, then vying, then wicking sponge-like, you

may have been unaware what effect you would
have on at least two of my contemporaries; one
a Canadian, the other from my own half of

the globe; both goofs whose work, like yours,
I wish I knew better. My obsessions are per-
haps too few. My attention is likely too narrow.

There is too much time for unwinding and
winding the air. There is not enough time.


v

You, the bookish poet, writing among
stacks in the library or out of the
library in your head | (the very head which

had been a hieratic bust in marble). Your
endless song an impenetrable thicket
touched by flouncing flowers, holding

a power to change us unexpectedly. And
flying in the surrounding air is an as yet
undetected apotheosis, so that no sub-

stance is foreign to another, despite a dis-
cernment | keeping things rightfully staid.


vi

The great wink you speak of is cut I
think | deftly in alabaster | or lime-
stone. Cloaked in the tone-cloth of

eternity, fingers frenzy on lyre strings.
And words carefully ingested are
pearls hurled into storm-rocked

seas, to be inevitably the drown mar-
iner’s eyes (O my Ariel, look! look!). As
a new stain rings across those pre-

ceding | Mobius manacles are fishing
kings, hunchbacks, hunchbacked kings.


vii

White ribs sunken in a dusty expanse | as
your nectarine neologisms provide us
sustenance. Wheatheads whispering-in, as

it were, from another world. Your music
graces my heart even as I slither under
one formidable stone | until the dry ob-

structive blizzard blows over. For as one
prophet foretold, the reaped whirlwind, e-
ven as it sweeps away the chaff, does

not endure. Not yet fifty, you went to the
Seine, | leaving us drinking your abysmal milk.


viii

You, who are charged with too much
difficulty and a too easy assemblage, you
conduct your delicate music and your cog-

nitive ephemera with judicious joy, wend-
ing your way, quietly flaunting the lush
wonders of negative capability | your lines

comprising a good Pandora’s box gorged
with magical fruit, your glacis glowing
carelessly in the warm, clear sunlight, while

cathartic combinations ping through duck-
weed-dappled, casually-wrinkling waters.




—Nathan Spoon