March 30, 2010

from "The Barricades Project, the Life-Long Poem, and the Politics of Form Notes towards a Prospectus" by Stephen Collis

"I am consistently struck by the singular unambitiousness of much contemporary poetry. It would seem that, as poetry slipped from cultural significance (or at least was perceived to have slipped from perceived significance), poets have simultaneously retired to the safety of lyric introspection, becoming specialists of the quotidian, the small, the insular, the private—shrinking from the historical, social, and public. So poets bemoan the loss of “the centrality of the single poem,” and seek a return to the safe sealed domain of the singular page." 

March 19, 2010

Speaking in English

                                  I have these
voices in my blood that sang me sitting here
                                                            John Lent

You could walk along an avenue here
many places actually and there would appear
unmagically asphalt and road signs and
houses, large and small, and a store
and another (a pedestrian—“hello”) and
another (this one selling something you need
to go with the stuff the first one is selling)
and a restaurant and another,
a government office, a police station . . .
well, you get the picture

You could walk along an avenue here
unmagically and begin to peel away
its imposition, to trace the paths
of its assertion, to unearth (much like
an unearthed mass grave that had gone
unrecorded) the measures of violence
that made this avenue you walk

You could walk differently along this
incline of forgotten waterways
and smell the uprooted vegetation
notice a furtive movement here
a motion that is unmagically you.

March 13, 2010

Poem’s Epitaph

 now or then it might be
a letter a
chiseled sound-
shaped trace I

read at the funeral
a eulogy-filled
apology for not being
more attentive to language

                                  Here Lies
Poem (2008-2011)
Is Written Here

What Is Written

and you know Poem didn’t mean
it in jest or to disrupt
the wake

more of a moreover, more
sanguine than that

I still write to Poem sometimes

long complaints and article
analysis resurrecting old
readings and opinions of Poem,

why she left and who followed

it is one of those moments
when you recognize loss           in an early morning daze, and

                        there Poem is again
                        agitated, vibrant,
                        reaching for the plums

March 2, 2010

Poem Communally Edits

1) Go to a search engine, see if somebody else has done it already.

2) Poem blogs, studies the commentary cross-linked to other blogs.

3) Twitters in a hundred and forty characters. See if I can get that small. See if it gets retweeted

4) Open source the text; supply some instructables, see if the community takes it any further.

5) Start a Ning social network Poem, the name of the network will be the title, see if anybody accumulates around Poem.

6) Make a Poem video. Youtube it, see if it spreads virally, see if any media convergence accumulates.

7) Create a design fiction that pretends that Poem has already been written. Create some gadget or application or product that has some relevance to Poem and see if anybody builds it.

8) Exacerbate or intensify Poem with a work of interventionist tactical media.

9) Find some kind of pretty illustrations from the Flickr 'On Nothing' photo pool.

10) Then, and only then, Poem will go out and actually talk to someone.

11) Recombine data; go to step 1)

March 1, 2010

Poem’s Commodity Fetish

in the reading
room or ancient tomb Poem
dreams of a well-wrought
yearning for something

more stylish or tricky
to show your friends or
ad lib in front of a modest
audience in that quiet café downtown

although at the time Poem
was disappointed with her purchase:
the seams hasty, the graphics
uninspired, an oily flavour . . .

sometimes the transaction is meant
to frustrate, like a rebellious
daughter or mid-life crisis tattoo

the text of which Poem now
carries on her left thigh high
enough to be her own

I can’t tell what is
there and there is no use

Poem and the Nothing Ever After

when verbs to be are
reclining not even wanting
to work standing well away from the road
where no traffic moves and
an inconsistent hum comes
from somewhere sourceless

to complicate contemplation
a stillness longing into nothing
more and narrative stalled
stuttering to a stop so the
road’s servitude isn’t one any more

postmodernism slips into the reeds
covered in mud called courage and carrying
succulents for the unstable winter

and everything moves
an inhuman vibration or
responsive leafy listening verging
on an apocalypse of knowledge or
when the machines and plots
desist, it is what is left
blandly undefined and bushed

what is left is a rift—ahistorical
and clustered around a faint
filtering disorder called shelter;
you and I live there for years until
the wild men came with weapons—
after that no records were kept . . .

what is left is considered
faulty verse, a hack’s
ruinous reinvention of negative
culpability—‘git outta here
ya damn tree-hugger, damn
hippy—build something or die!’