Friday, December 30, 2016

Tom Mandel, Frankie & Johnny

Frankie & Johnny, image by Irene Koronas

Frankie & Johnny

Frankie felt the darkness surround him as a child
Johnny flipped the light switch on & off & smiled

Frankie speaks out loud: ‘it’s coming on for night’
Johnny shapes a silence to fit around him tight

Frankie flies an all-day plane
Johnny rides the bullet train

Frankie sees the pharmacist shoot him for the flu
Johnny’s in a storefront to choose a new tattoo

Frankie’s head is shaking: ‘this is a mean old world’
Johnny reads a magazine while getting his hair re-curled

Frankie is strong in this and every room
Johnny spreads his arms to bring the temple doom

Frankie pound for pound turns things around
Johnny by the minute hammers on the ground

Frankie writes hexameter way inside his head
Johnny must bounce the ball right back where it led

Frankie sips a thermal cup
Johnny turns his sound-bar up

Frankie learns Talmud from what the rabbis wrote
Johnny with his palm up swears another oath

     While Frankie starts to rave
     Johnny just walks faster

     While Frankie frees a slave
     Johnny offs his master

     While Frankie dons a crown
     Johnny tears the next one down

     While Frankie irons his shirt
     Johnny dozes in dirt

     While Frankie files reports
     Johnny rinses shorts

     While Frankie plays the ball
     Johnny starts to stall

     While Frankie hoes what he reaps
     Johnny always plays for keeps

     While Frankie inhales a bowlful
     Johnny grows soulful

Frankie falls asleep
Johnny’s in too deep

Frankie sees a doctor to get his pressure read
Johnny turns the corner with black cat bones instead

Frankie courts bewilderment
Johnny knows just what was meant

Frankie polls his consciousness
Johnny answers less & less

Frankie sees the moments form
Johnny’s firmament is torn

Frankie loves to shout
Johnny’s all wore out

Frankie’s come too far
Johnny’s where you are

Frankie worries he’s been cursed
Johnny hollers‘do your worst!’

     Frankie refactors the future
     Johnny cooks up his past

     Frankie ignores any rupture
     Johnny bolts his repast

     Frankie is a rose
     Johnny’s made of plaster

     Frankie hearts what grows
     Johnny is a bastard

     Frankie evades disaster
     Johnny clicks his toes

     Frankie picks a stratocaster
     Johnny courts all woes

     Frankie holes up at home
     Johnny takes to the road

     Frankie authors a tome
     Johnny hefts one more load

Frankie and Johnny get in the car
Frankie and Johnny go too far

Frankie and Johnny wait for tomorrow
Frankie and Johnny don’t waste time on sorrow

Frankie and Johnny stare at the moon
Frankie and Johnny watch a cartoon

Frankie and Johnny under the sun
Frankie and Johnny under the gun

Frankie and Johnny start in a minute
Frankie and Johnny don’t see much in it

Frankie and Johnny sit out the game
Frankie and Johnny take each other’s name

Frankie and Johnny really don’t care
Frankie and Johnny tear out their hair

Frankie and Johnny just feel terrific
Frankie and Johnny read hieroglyphics

     Frankie pens “that’s all she wrote”
     Johnny croons an all-new note

     Frankie rhymes upon his soul
     Johnny abhors every goal

Frankie’s hymns, sung at night, unbend the burdened soul
Johnny groans “lend me a dime you fool; it’s time I pay my toll.”

—Tom Mandel  

Thursday, December 22, 2016

William Allegrezza, Five Poems

Typed, image by William Allegrezza

out light

out light.  they are
out, and the darkness of the
room with no windows
is complete.  we have gathered here
for trial, but now
we cannot see what lies before
us to test anything.
leveled here--we all rely on
our other senses to
find an exit, if one exists.

the trim

aced.  the hold.  out
the sequence.  no delineation of motion.
i in three folds
become undone.  delivered in range.  the
time to underknow as
understatement.  i have found your message
though late.  no act.  
image.  clock hands and knots.  the
replicating machine is still
moving.  filled, the holes.  am target
the skin for flaying
a closer view.  with spars in
containers.  the thread loose
in counting.  i as founding in
liquid our placement.  virtue
outside.  wandering.  the blots tightly turned.   


a line has two sides
as hand, as work, as beam
without which I have
no line to follow,
so i
hoping for direction from words
thrown up as down,
as cursive on water where
i hope to stand
but do not.

in sinking i could ask
for help, but i am
curious about the
dark shapes moving
below me.


our actions have their own misdirections
            (and though you think i will concede,
            i am dedicated.)
for at last the animal to be tamed is you;
thus, the armory you built in my shed
must be opened, the person that you thought
you were playing must be replaced with the person
you are.
            (i can tell with general accuracy where i am,
            unless we are at sea.)
we have counted on the misdirections as
dusty tributes given under dull skies; still,
i wonder about geography and try
to distance myself from you,
gathering as i go from the herd the general rules.
i suspect that they will catch up with you.


the get
caught work. city.
the second function end.
a random script, charity in

—William Allegrezza

William Allegrezza edits the e-zine Moria and teaches at Indiana University Northwest. He has previously published many poetry books, including In the Weaver's Valley, Ladders in July, Fragile Replacements, Collective Instant, Aquinas and the Mississippi (with Garin Cycholl), Covering Over, and Densities, Apparitions; two anthologies, The City Visible: Chicago Poetry for the New Century and La Alteración del Silencio: Poesía Norteamericana Reciente; seven chapbooks, including Sonoluminescence (co-written with Simone Muench) and Filament Sense (Ypolita Press); and many poetry reviews, articles, and poems. He founded and curated series A, a reading series in Chicago, from 2006-2010. In addition, he occasionally posts his thoughts at P-P-Ramblings.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Pierre Joris, Opening Scene from THE AGONY OF I.B.

The Agony of I.B., by Pierre Joris,
 poster from the premier at the Theatre National du Luxemborg, June 14, 2016  

Commentary on The Agony of I.B. 

Asked by the TNL (Theatre National du Luxembourg) to be author-in-residence for the 2015-2016 season, I proposed as my second and final play, a 3-act drama concerning the death of poet Ingeborg Bachmann. She died — mythically speaking — through fire, falling asleep with a lit cigarette; though what actually caused the 3-week coma from which she wasn’t able to come out, was her addiction to pills. In my play she is visited by the three most important men in her life: playwright Max Frisch, composer Hans Werner Henze, and her greatest and earliest love, Paul Celan. The play premiered, as a staged reading, at the TNL on 14 June with Sascha Ley as Bachmann, Nickel Bösenberg as Frisch, Fred Frenay as Henze, Raoul Schlechter as Celan & myself as the poet/presenter. 

—Pierre Joris

 (Opening Scene from The Agony of I.B.) 

(I.B.'s room in Rome,in the house on 66 via Giulia. Schematically stage image: stage-right 2/3 back, a window; stage-right front: a door leading outside; a desk with typewriter; stage-left kitchen/bathroom via open door or open plan; stage center-front: a low table with gramophone & telephone, an ottoman; stage-center back: a bed, upright, near vertical against which IB can lean, as if she was lying on it. On a gramophone, a record of Neapolitan folk singer's Roberto Murolo's "‪(Totò) Malafemmena"  is playing. IB in bathrobe & with thick eye-glasses wanders from window to writing desk to bathroom. She returns with a pill bottle, swallows down a handful without water, then goes back to window, stands at angle of window peering out at the street below. She lights a Gitane, takes a few deep drags, closes her eyes, listens for a few moments, then walks over to the gramophone & lifts the arm off the record with a noticeable scratching sound. She wanders back to the middle of the room.)
I'm running out. (Laughs) No, no, not going anywhere, certainly not running. Certainly not outside. No, no — I am nearly out: of cigarettes, of pills, "mother's little helpers," Henry used to call them. Oh, screw Henry, screw America. That was long ago and seriously minor. This is Rome. Roma, Roma, Roma. Ti amo translates as I hate you, tourist whore. Because I cannot be in Vienna. But I am writing Vienna.
(She throws empty pill bottle into wastebasket, walks over to her writing desk, sits down heavily, crushes cigarette out in ashtray then immediately lights another one, leans back & blows smoke at the ceiling)

Vienna... Vienna... come, come, Vienna, oh how I wish for Wien, Wien...basta Roma — I have to move back to Vienna, it will happen later this year, as soon as I finish this... As soon as I'm through wandering the desert, there's something more to learn from the desert... words, words, please come, words, come running, yes, yes, I am not out of words, they come running... But they leave me stranded elsewhere, seems I'm always home elsewhere wherever elsewhere is, right now the space between Rome and Vienna is... [She laughs]... The desert... Sand and rocks... That helps to clear the head!
(she types with concentration for a minute in deep silence; first slowly, picking out letters one by one, then faster & faster: typewriter noises in an accelerating crescendo caught by mic hidden behind it & broadcast, becoming a background noise to the scene; brusque carriage returns scatter the ashes of the cigarette over the floor; the Gitane in her left hand burns down to her fingers — she just shakes it off as if the burn didn't hurt at all, drops the minuscule butt to the floor)

Franza, Franza, you were the closest to me, but had to die, we all have to, we all will. Easier done for real than in a book, where the art of disappearing is a long drawn-out act, usually much quicker in real life, well I can manage on either side of the curtain, I hope. Yes, I can finish the book by writing into the middle now, returning to the desert, that other empty page. Am in the desert anyway, Vienna will be desert too, my past, all past is desert, desert peopled by ghosts. Malina is done, is over. It was murder, She was pushed into the crack. Over and out. I need out again.
(She types fast for a minute, then tears the page out of the machine, gets up and walks to the middle of the room, another lit cigarette in her hand. She stops, looks at the page then reads it aloud, as if trying out the sentences on an audience)

"Desert stars. Orion's belt around my waist, a swing to swing on. Wing it on. In-between sand and sky. The in-between that is not just the page but that is time, in-between time. Time is in-between, in fact that is all time is: an in-between. What was the word Mohammed used? Bar-zakh — that was in Wadi Halfa where in-between time has become water, eternity — to gain eternity go into the water, dive, dive out of time.
(She drops the sheet of paper, looks around, pauses for a moment, then says meditatively:)

Paul did jump, oh Paul, where are you now, in time, in water, in eternity... Someone told me that in the desert more people drown than die of thirst, flash floods far away sudden storms wash down the dry wadi gully you sleep in...hoping to wake up in the morning...But it is hope that kills us, hope that every time lets you down, brings you down, but I will re-birth you, we're half-way there, we'll get there, all of us, all of you, my many Wienerinnen, there will be more of you, you will resuscitate, but before you can take flight,you will have to give up hope, no, not just give it up, kill it, bury it, write it out of existence.
(She gets up, opens the window, leans out, looks up & down the street while traffic noise of a busy Roman evening enter in waves.)

Too much light. Day's too bright. My bird won't fly. My bird won't come. Roll back the day, bring on the night.
(She leans further out, seeming to strain ears and eyes as street noise Rome style wafts in. After a minute the noise & the light in her room dim slowly)

—Pierre Joris

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Rupert M. Loydell, from WHITE NOISE

Stutter Transmission #9, image by Rupert M. Loydell


‘…literature approaching the edge of silence and self-suspension, a lacework literature that bleaches away the gravity of its own constructions and sentences yet presses ever forward in the motion of its own disappearance…’
    – Marek Bienczyk, Transparency


An explosion atomizer
for useful persistence

Obstruction free restraint

Building a bridge
between pump mist
and effectiveness

Sophisticated launch sequence
on a long horizontal path

Automatic grenades
our popular diversion

The modern battlefield
constructed everywhere


Join me in the movement
to end shine and shimmer

Totally obsessing over
hazard recognition

Deep gangster socialites
watching from the porch
play the self-righteous victim

Full slice religion and storing:
Tracklist A   Autodestruct B


Reworked the idea
and is bringing it back

Key factors and figures
as easy as lying

Double helix gondola
a near-future nightmare
almost impossible to detect

Happy to discuss our plans


The master of
international intrigue
and explosive action

Secret maps
unpaid ransom

Whispering about
a circle of trust

Relentless voyeur

Expert testimony

Black disco pants
(no frozen goods)


Strange white dresses

Her telling me
about the event

Free will blossoms
under new leadership

Suspended sentence

—Rupert M. Loydell 

Monday, December 12, 2016


Harmonic of Desire, image by AC Evans 


Ghost flesh whistles fix your sanctuary,
Live your life ahead of the rest – you are here;
Very exotic surrounded by showbiz stars al fresco style,
Play for free; advance warning of the ultimate cover-up.

Just try looking pensive and thoughtful, it often works.
You know, all moody, anxious and mysterious,
Like dress up in skulls, dead rats, cobwebs,
Candles, thunder and lightning, shellac nails.
Look into her eyes but avoid the dead planets.
Overnight ring road, one venue multicentre,
Come and see us today – divine touch, tracking
Everything but the soul or the harmonics of desire.
Walk, don’t walk, fix your sneak preview
Alignment, transfer red light access as much
As you like, curl up and cry; hush-hush boohoo.
Second hand enforcement voodoo cult movies,
Pop-up mansions packed with original remnants.
Hot hotter hottest! Morning afternoon (and evening
While dead planets drift through voids of ash),
Harmony skyline rehearsal – stop go stop go,
Rent-a-van and a lady, all-in for young people
Classique beauty, incredible range lush lounge special,
Best new available cleavage; freak-out situation,
Communicate with chips or retro photo electrical gizmos.
Cosmic headache, like, so famously strong bold and sweet.
A self-service horror emergency, a fresh opening.

So, grab it by the coconuts – I never say no!
It was a match made in hell, a seedy double life
Just you and him? It was all very spiritual and anonymous.
Do not speak, repeat do not speak, listen very carefully,

One hour people thrive on disaster, nerves, cracked screens,
Magical astrology, sulky cats, black velvet accessories.

We have this New Zero constellation mirror:
It all starts moving at the exploding cinema.

—AC Evans

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino, Two Poems

Two Figures in a Vitrine, image by Irene Koronas

Two Poems 
for Daniel Y. Harris & Irene Koronas


this undead bone
from which the body will be
being indestructible
will form the nucleus for the resurrection of the body
into the fire
with miraculous qualities
holy bone
jew bone


his finger numb
long piano strokes
for piano
every hour the same
handsome poets
scores of composition
one has to name names
all who are squat

—Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino

Thursday, December 8, 2016

JØnathan Lyons, The White Noise Album (Pages 44-98)

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