Sunday, December 27, 2015

Uncaged Animus

They have something to say but they're not saying it

Glistening in the reflective pond
I’ll trade you my incontinent missile
Rariform chump change
for revolting spam

Art wants its revolution
and eats it too
Indigestible jamrock
for EDM ravebot

Minimal compliance
at oppositional water slide
I shot Omar Sharif
on the Mondegreen

If that’s a wrap
Pick a card any card
Abhorrent full house
Fuck politeness

Fuck Cataphor - wait for it
Fuck Capitalism (the police)
which needs and loves incivility
Litany that interrupts

Flagon with the dragon
Mongrel collision
Complicit history
that delivered egg

In attractive black knee high waders
Mirrorphase revisionist
tests friendly fire
Solution that slit throats

We lived in abandoned shoe
& threw them into the gutter
Dear Resonant conditions
the flames hardly knew ye

Pounding lanterns I seize
The leisure poet
in Writing Class
Except for prose

Errata for sheep
for Rockford reruns
for Mannix and I Spy
for memory forms

the only certainty
‎Reached for connective tissue
Cried like a lamb

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Soul is the Method

Please remove me from the list
I’m about to get the runs
New affordances
Fashioned into memoir
All water logged
Stuffed and unstuffed
Pacing the waterfront
You didn't really like me, did you?

I met you
The sign said Do Not Block
Words in which
Mutual feeling in which nouns
Smoke or stack pronouns

In which this hand me down
Phenomena is a stubborn front
Unhappy hour at bar and grill

Welcome armchair emperors!
Imperial swizzlestick
for grain elevation
Sceptors of confounding simplicity
In love with specific instances ‎
Life on the installment plan
Let’s pause for abstraction
For generic monstrosity
For bad table manners
We spoon to resist

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Revolutionary spam

or I wanna be digested
repeat after me
“you will follow me anywhere”
‎mastery never felt so good
no ‎unthinking border
magically makes me whole
washed away into nothing
only a chance of showers
outback from the rear
they say you are an ass
one goblet one teardrop
but no distress
no chance

next dream
about 37 years later
James Brown’s
greatest hits
resident to any charm
to converse with horn sections
bullet hole in windshield

no rioting in streets
married college sweetheart
Ohio suburb
no national guard
no soldiers at candy store
no reenactment
chasing tanks on bicycles

we come to disprove
worst case
hostage to fact
to memory that says destroy
it says I am
all sunlight and fabulation
even the padlocks
chateau number what
made in China
one traunch at a time

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Monday, October 5, 2015

Infection: what poets celebrate as "presence"

I've been trying to think through the philosopher Isabelle Stengers' use of the term "infection" (in her book on Whitehead) in relation to poetic practice.

Our experience is infected by objects (or "others in oneself") that our bodies register, perceive and/or interact with, that is, not just by what we are conscious of. An infection means that this interaction endures, that the interaction was successful in some way.

Here's the main citation from Stengers: 

"'Infection' is the term Whitehead chooses to designate, in a generic way, what the poets celebrate as "presence." Celebration refers to the fact that it is a poet's experience that is infected by [Stengers' strange example:] [a] gloomy and ancient mountain," -- i.e., that which is an enduring object (as opposed to some eternal object, like what is conjured by the word blue, that whitehead says "haunts time like a spirit.").  "'Infection' must be understood, not without humor, in a neutral sense" (i.e., infection is speculative -- it doesn’t try to control consequences), "designating the success constituted by all endurance in a changing world.... This infectious holding-together is not a fusion but a valorization, a determinate shaping, conferring a value -- that is, a role -- on what is prehended." 

In other words, 'infection' is about what has got a hold on us. The efficacy of the hold is a kind of endurance -- which is separate and apart from how – once public – a work of art finds 'a life of its own,' i.e., from how a work of art becomes a vehicle or vector for infecting others.  Let's not confuse this with marketing. I don’t want to translate this in a way that would emphasize how public ideas (or works of art) are only alive to the extent that they infect others (or continue to infect me).

The celebration “as” presence is enacted in the unfolding or creation of a poem. Maybe there is a way to relate this to Spinoza's famous statement that 'we don't know what a body can do'.

As a poet might say: “the words write me as much as I write them.”

What Stengers actually says is that speculative thought should infect questions raised by living societies with hesitations and uncertainties.  For Whitehead,  “everything is sociology...   Whitehead can no more tell us what a society is than Spinoza could say what a body is capable of.  In both cases 'we don't know.' We only know that the two opposite extremes 'my body belongs to me' and 'I belong to my society' are somewhat misleading simplifications." (325)

For living societies, everything happens in the non-occupied spaces – on the level of the interstices – between bodies and environment.  Between the power to affect and the power to be affected.

In a way, this is an argument (not inconsistent with Foucault) that (quoting Stengers again) “power is not primarily repressive, but inciting, arousing interest, questions and knowledge. This, indeed, is how infection in Whitehead’s sense could be defined: not by imposition of a role but by the incitement, reflected in multiple and various ways, to take up and prolong that role.  In the generic sense, nothing imposes anything, for there is no authority that has, in itself, the power to impose. All ‘social power,’ unless it is purely and simply repressive (which is a rare and unstable case), designates first and foremost a dynamics of infection.”  (160)

So my hope is that we can attune to the dynamics of infection, and this can incite us to hesitate and think and question. 

p.s.  Stengers again: "The reader will have intuited that Whitehead is no critic of power as such: a nature in which nothing succeeded in infecting anything else would not be a nature, and the possibility of maintaining any kind of nostalgia toward a "powerless" society implies in itself an incalculable number of "social achievements."

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Reading/Conversation Stecopoulos / wolach: Sat 3 October, 7p

@The New Foundation Seattle.  312 2nd Ave South. Free. Hope to see you there!

Eleni Stecopoulos is the author of Visceral Poetics (ON Contemporary Practice, 2015), Daphnephoria (Compline, 2012), and Armies of Compassion (Palm Press, 2010). She curated an award-winning series on “The Poetics of Healing” for the Poetry Center at San Francisco State University, hosting writers, artists, health practitioners, scholars, and activists in performance and conversation, and she is finishing a related book called “Dreaming in the Fault Zone.”Her writing is published in venues such as Harriet, Encyclopedia, ecopoetics, Open Space (SFMOMA), Supple Science: A Robert Kocik Primer (ON Contemporary Practice, 2013), and Somatic Engagement: The Politics and Publics of Embodiment (Chain Links, 2011). She appears in George Quasha’s video work poetry is (Speaking Portraits). Stecopoulos has taught at Bard College, in the Naropa Summer Writing Program, and in the MFA programs at San Francisco State and the University of San Francisco. She lives in Berkeley and co-teaches a workshop with the dance poet and movement educator Margit Galanter.

david wolach is founding editor of Wheelhouse Magazine & Press and has been an active participant in Nonsite Collective. wolach is the author of  Hospitalogy, from Tarpaulin Sky Press, as well as  Occultations (Black Radish Books, 2010),  Prefab Eulogies Volume 1: Nothings Houses (BlazeVox, 2010), and  book alter(ed) (Ungovernable Press, 2009). A former union organizer and installation artist, wolach’s work often begins as site-specific and interactive performance and ends up as shaped, written language. Critical work can be found in  Aufgabe, P-Queue, Jacket, Jacket2 and  Sibila: Poesia y Cultura. wolach is professor of poetry, poetics, and queer & cultural theory at The Evergreen State College, and visiting professor in Bard College’s Workshop In Language & Thinking.

And also this week:

Nate Mackey - September 30, 6-7:30 at UW Seattle, Communications Bldg 120.  He will be talking on Precarity and Breath—the first discursive lecture he has written to deliver he says—in the last ten years.  Don't miss it!

UW Bothell’s Fall Convergence Conference, Thursday evening,  October 1, at 7:00 (reception at 6:00) in North Creek Event Center.  The next day on Friday 1-7 in the afternoon a whole host of interesting people and events.

Another conflicting reading. Sorry Gregory!  Shannon, Eunsong 은송, & Gregory Laynor: October 3, Sat, 7 PM at Gallery 1412, 18th Ave. Seattle, WA

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Adorno’s Nose

“Crisis is a convergence misinterpreted by mankind.”
      -Sadie Plant & Nick Land

The precariat sneeze
Carla's sleeveless
I'm already pink
Animating limbs
Machine parts
That act on dreams
Ergo, poetry is not enough
The better to inflict
‎What’s engineered
For predetermine‎d effect

Selfless organ
For chaotic play
Equally garbled
Toward touch
Waxed wing
Freed of napkin ideals
Single click diaspora
I fed pigeons into Ponzi schemes
Agreement where R > G
Fingers > fists
Legal props yield to
Surveillance of the fittest
This end up

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Wet Conceptualism (waterboard)

 "...where the pressure of the given fact bursts [its] concept…, one is obliged to invent another concept..."  -Simone de Beauvoir

morbid appearance
‎What eyesores do

when we fake
pernicious drift

Beyond epigraph
One is obliged
To invent

Too drunk to pee
I saw the stars, son
They're upsetting

Living on mute
Don’t talk to me about Crows
how they fly

Foot in mouth
Some syndrome about the character
of web feet

Or how indirection
Sticks to teeth
Solved by maze

They came wearing berets
Fishing for shotgun shack
The new flesh committee

@Skagit logjam
Too studious
in fear of what a novice‎ might say

What revolts
in the simulated ring
‎of your phone

Each square
For circus equation
Each word against

Each onerous use
Each composite
The letters think they own

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Wet Conceptualism

The sarcasm meme
Tears & the litany of words

It all comes down to
All that is solid

Poems that are not poems
Poems that smuggle line breaks into tombs

& die in the arms of prose
Poems that follow horizon to vertical bluff

Hydraulic lift
To immoderate flow

Yes, meet me at listserv
Turn right at heroic MoMA

Chase the emergent props
Subject to the very object

that tracks how hegemonies
fall through our hands

Carpetbagger‎s of modernity
The posse which R US

Out of which we arrive Drooling
Too many flavors or only one

Pint of Boho Raspberry ‎
or Neopolitan‎ Dream

I love this litmus test
Compiling monotone from tricolore

Going deadpan at publicschool
Lost on the upworthy slope

Subject to props‎
to my two body  problem

Erased by a hat

Sunday, July 12, 2015

‎The Past Exonerative

  “Living in the past exonerative tense, as in 'mistakes were made'”

held together by dissent
by heterogeny
one concept a day

face first
freckled & wan

she wrote in Singlish
physical loops
learning to spit, to dance
to destroy horizon

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Wound of Spirit: Hegel's rotten body

"A writer who doesn't have a wound that's always open is no writer for me." -Canetti

"Hegel was never more wrong than when he wrote 'the wounds of the Spirit heal and leave no scars behind'." -Shaviro

Here, courtesy darkecologies is Zizek's attempt to get rid of Hegel's rotten body.  I want to say blah blah blah. That's also a Z quote.

Spirit’s return-to-itself creates the very dimension to which it returns. What this means is that the “negation of the negation ,” the “return-to-oneself” from alienation, does not occur where it seems to: in the negation of the negation, Spirit’s negativity is not relativized, subsumed under an encompassing positivity; it is, on the contrary, the “simple negation” which remains attached to the presupposed positivity it has negated, the presupposed Otherness from which it alienates itself, and the negation of the negation is nothing but the negation of the substantial character of this Otherness itself, the full acceptance of the abyss of Spirit’s self-relating which retroactively posits all its presuppositions. In other words, once we are in negativity, we can never leave it and regain the lost innocence of the origins; in the “negation of the negation” the origins are truly lost, their very loss is lost, they are deprived of the substantial status of that which has been lost. Spirit heals its wound not directly, but by getting rid of the full and sane Body into which the wound was cut. It is in this precise sense that, according to Hegel, “the wounds of the Spirit heal, and leave no scars behind.”  His point is not that Spirit heals its wounds so perfectly that, in a magical gesture of retroactive sublation, even the scars disappear; the point is rather that, in the course of the dialectical process, a shift of perspective occurs which makes the wound itself appear as its opposite— the wound itself is its own healing when seen from another standpoint.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Awesomist Manifesto

You are the boss of me
Widget of all widgets
‎The bestest mostest
Hostess with
The real hamburger
Car bomb
With the suds

‎I looked it up and they're speaking Arabic
The word was "philogeant"
One who loves everything on earth
Free associator extraordinaire!
Love your poetry war!
Pyromancy never felt so good
For the poor by the poor
Prerequisite for love
Our ghosts are well fed
And they'll show us the way
Just talk to the hand
Decorate wood
By burning it
Forest by forest

Saturday, May 23, 2015

DMZ Reading - 5-23 - Dowling Mancini Zaher

at: Gallery 1412

Saturday 23 May 2015 at 730p.  Free admission. Donations accepted. Books will be available for sale.

Gallery 1412 is at 1412 18th Avenue, just north of Union St on the east side of Capitol Hill in Seattle.

The reading features poets coming together across various borders for, among other things, a Seattle launch of Donato Mancini's Loitersack from New Star (Vancouver).

Loitersack is a labyrinthine commonplace book where critical, theoretical and paraliterary tendencies intersect in the forms of poetry, poetics, theory, theory theatre, laugh particles and many many questions.  

Sarah Dowling is the author of Down (Coach House), Security Posture and Birds & Bees. Sarah's poetry was included in the anthology I'll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women. She teaches at the University of Washington Bothell and is international editor at Jacket2.

Donato Mancini makes visual and procedural poetry, bookworks, and visual art. His main books are: SNOWLINE (2015), Buffet World, Fact 'N' Value, Æthel and Ligatures. Notable exhibitions of Mancini’s visual artworks have included exhibitions through Artspeak, Western Front, Gallery Atsui, Malaspina Printmaker's Society, and CSA. Mancini's published critical writing includes work on the archive, time and memory in Anamnesia: Unforgetting (2011), and a discourse analysis of poetry reviews in You Must Work Harder to Write Poetry of Excellence (2012).

Maged Zaher was born in Cairo, and currently lives in Seattle. He is the author of four books of poetry and the translator of an anthology of contemporary Egyptian poetry. He won the weekly Stranger's Genius award in literature in 2013.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Refusal to keep accounts

If communism is in large part a refusal to keep accounts, then one could make a case for a less narrative poetics, i.e., not obsessed with its own(ed) accounts?

We too easily forget that "these" 3 bananas do not equal "those" 3‎ bananas? The abstraction of number doesn't work well with Plato's idea - ideal image of what stands behind appointed objects.

In other words, the particular/concrete doesn't have universal equivalents? Money is inherently abstract.

‎It is amusing that the etymology of philanthropy is very much the same as the etymology of philanderer.  The etymology = Love + (hu)man.

Not sure what money has to do with it?  Are these two different aspects or articulations of the economy of excess: one emphasizing accumulation and the other emphasizing expenditure?

Do philanthropists necessarily embrace the anthropocene? No. I think the philanthropist loves the genre /abstraction of man - and pays tribute. Philanderers love specific instances of the human - and they spend themselves- directly throwing themselves at and into the lives/bodies of these specific humans.

The antidote to the patriarchy packed into these two ugly terms may be 'polyandry'?

If I could tell a joke it would start: these three bananas walked into a bar...

from Bartleby for Peter Culley

Remember leisure poets who invert the body’s response?  They yield to an earlier image, back when fruit dots were candies of the gods.  A twilit lozenge in the wake of dawn’s burst.  Dispatched to that suckling place – a pure exposure or announcement before skin.  That’s the ticket, pleased to admit one.  A baby shower that delivers a pillar from the waif.  Advertisements followed by popcorn and sticky feet.  The Magi caught looking can’t get enough.  Dead letters arrive just in time.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Welcome to the Philanthropocene

defacto loss leaders
breastless spigot
for honeyed image
for brute
with the monied eyes

my other glasses
emerald wides
recharged on the grid
keep their own accounts

narrative loss

write it down

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Money an autobiography

"Where we learn we are not autonomous"

Poetry hates me
Not enough energy to get there
Faith akin to
Possible tomorrows
Space shipped for terraforms

For unconscious
Brunch on available bodies
Zombie poets‎
Erasing traces
Tastes so good

‎Goods made in the
Untrue domestication
Fan made
Twin logic

That is an allusion to
Paranoia and narcissism
Turning shit into gold
Or vice versa
Symphony of all you can eat

‎Will you take
Tentacles of Bigfoot
Wet concepts
Beneath plunge line‎
To hold and cherish

Yes I do, I am that asshole
Chopped liver
At cultural white space
At stage IV
gelatinous ‎z ero

Out of lame life
‎No bond
No lance for hire
No temporary employ
Spare me or spear me

‎Universal equivalent
Seeks Dynamo Boy
We who are that other
At sea in the vice
Grip of the thing itself

Saturday, February 7, 2015

One nation under a groove

And then there were two
The next number
Mass destruction
Finger food
Past the point of annoyance

I want a sentence
to aerate soil
Call it a Parlement of fowls
A verse to have and hold
A prelubed song
Bird to call my own

I want bite-sized
Blowback by design
If he wakes
All bets are off

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Inverse Set

After the doublebind‎'s
neither nor
Even Kansas
Valley girl hopscotch
The ferocity level
one believes in
‎after afterparties
that ache

Too much
paramutual feeling
warts and all
Too boxed in to
hit perfecta

Pyramid schematics
trump eharmony
Sacrificial iamb
Alien embrace
means what it says
predictive model

We are all Sans papiers
Silent logic
Thumbs forget
The record collection I enact
Flipping song
Mimetic chant
& no fixed employ
& yet this is what
victory looked like
Two cycle engine
in the dark
to her snore

Sunday, January 4, 2015

‎Dark Side (Congruent Register)

-if hell is other poets…   

Specific instruments
Out of phase
Did I miss something
Loving and stealing wisdom
‎I was gonna duck the question
Resisting Sartre's obvious formulation
Killjoy investing
Bad vibes
Love isn't blocked
Phased out
When listening‎

‎What you can't see
Cracked screen
I can't even read
‎Newsprint, nitrate, vulcanite
Some honeycomb dipshit
‎600 pages of overproduction

‎Penetrated by ‎Birth
White hegemony is dead
but doesn’t know it
fashioned into symmetry
Maximum damage
By Supremes

Love, homeownership
Kerning pairs
We lean in
at Sag Harbor
@marriage, @death
We live inadequate
Salve to canker
sore Central to
all feeling