Sunday, April 26, 2009

I have fallen into the Niagara Sound of Snot

I cannot tell which side of you is upside. I put the upside down
I request you to put your happy things back
In their original drawstring restrained place locators
And get into the waiting
Exuberant fishhook that has come to fetch us
On a string, I’m exciting
The waiting sensation in you and you have glowed red
For too long I wonder about overheating
When you arrive the space between us will decrease and your heart
I am into the gassy heart refueling
Will be even with the place my heart used to be
Now I am required to have surgery and implant nozzles
When I was younger and hadn’t grown
Life without a fill station was embarrassing, it was like
You didn’t live on a point between anyone
I would not grow in your presence
I didn’t dare turn myself inside out
Seeking what Buddhists call “drought”
I had fallen into the Niagara Sound of Snot
A rifle spigot of snot shot
Discriminating and found a tissue target
In a big fat hurry with loud sneakers
A flotsam in my palm turned on
And the harmony in my alphabetizing quaked
My micro-managing spam damaging film noir cheetoes hands
Bust soaking to the silvery nads with rich snot
A glowering through a lens of this texture slips
And later found a town in a beard without the proper septic hookups
Getting to create and meet people
Created by town fathers and mothers who don’t give a lick
About what waterfalls urban outfitters sew flowing down
A sound made when two people snore
Their eyes locking with odors in enclosed room and their toes rub
And when the rub vanishes there are flu symptoms

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Britain's Got Malice

-- after the previous post

Some exports endure, some exports get tired
Can’t you see the tired look of that tired song
In tired clothing dirty as it goes along?

Some countries relax in the sun and bathe
Cleaning the cracks and crevices infrastructurally
When Britain, and swimming goes together
An all out orgy on the pb&j happens

This Britain, this Martian
Serving with opened zipper for a homeland
Pierced my defenses very
Very difficult on the eyes
Jackhammer on the eyes

Britain is the one with no sex laws
Sheep vote there, and I’m a registered brahma
And a hairy angel overlapping both parties

Saved on bad doo day
Mousse soufflé
Frumpy pumpkin with most British smiles
Hosts a Canadian dumping into a Canadian postal reservoir
Where all the mail kids go
When they go defile (leave) Britain.
My own emotions
Sprung forth from a very undeliverable missile silo.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Quote of the day

taken from a review my cousin, Sean Lawson, wrote here:

"'First Communion' starts off really glitchy and electronic-y at first, but then it launches into something that makes me want to dance like I’m in the future."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Flarf All Who May

Kevin and Melissa,

I will address Melissa’s point about Flarf’s failure viz. its very own private descent into chaos first, and then address Kevin’s concerns.

I understand Sewell’s comments as being the desire to be understood and the desire to manipulate the understandable so that it “stretches” its meaning to include everything. Since that which is epic, mythic, monolithic and immensely universal can only be said in one way, we need to stretch what we say to encompass this universal, or at least what we attempt to reach. Though in an attempt to approach this chaos, we risk becoming chaotic too. So through inclusion we become more chaotic, and through exclusion we become more silent, which seems true to me, and obviously to Sewell, and apparently to those in this conversation as well.

I have several objections, the first and second to Sewell’s binary of language, and in regards to language used to potentially manipulate.
When I communicate I wish you to gain the same message I intend to send inasmuch as if I lie my goal is corroded and this counterproductively causes a communication breakdown. You wouldn’t understand what I understand, nor would you be able to respond, since I would be thinking one thing and you'd be responding with another in answering what you assumed I had said. The intention to do this is called doublespeak, and it’s this doublespeak that represents my first objection to the possibility of Sewell’s binary being the only way to understand language.

I want to clarify before continuing that I don’t assume that Flarf or any poetry (school) seeks to intentionally manipulate since I don’t think poetry’s main goal is to communicate in the above manner at all, but rather to convey image and impression, to disrupt cliche, and finally, to put disreputable language on the chopping block. In poetry, if you interpret my (in this case, the writer's) words differently from how I "meant" them, so be it.

So, primarily, the meaning that we look for in prose isn’t delivered in the same way in poetry, and in many cases meaning isn't delivered at all, unless you're missing the subtext. For example, if you read “The Road Less Traveled” as a poem, you realize that the poem is discussing the imagery associated with decisions and choices while telling about a decision the narrator made to take a path that most hadn't taken. On the other hand, if you read “The Road Less Traveled” as having meaning -- since meaning is something we all should only understand as proceeding from authorial command sent directly to readers (praying, and assuming readers don't misconstrue the author's language and since we assume that our prose communicates one thing and one thing only -- then we’d take the words to be only about a narrator lost in the woods and who then chooses a path that isn’t well-worn, which if you’re really lost in the woods is a really stupid choice. If Frost were a journalist, to write an article entitled, "How to Find Your Way Out of the Big Bad Jungle," would be manipulative and misleading but yet he would then be communicating meaning. If Frost wanted to communicate a reality, then he would be manipulating his reader into assuming that he is referring to woods and paths and that he's actually been in the woods rather than what he’s actually referring to, e.g., choosing to leave his wife or to kill himself, or to buy X toothpaste over Y, etc. If he wants to tell us to leave our wives or kill ourselves or buy the sensitive brand paste, but he says something different then Frost is being obtuse and obscures meaning through manipulation (subterfuge as manipulation). So it is this doublespeak, or doubletalk, that in literature might pose a threat to the idea that we’re conflicted between inclusion and exclusion.

[I also object to Sewell's binary simply because life isn't a binary: good/evil, black/white, Yankees/Red Sox aren't really the only options...but this is another discussion]

My third/next objection is to the claim that Flarf fails by becoming too chaotic in it’s own language and is based on a historical objection: we cannot possibly understand Flarf outside of the historical event that shaped it (at least that which made it the flower that most claim to hate currently), 9/11. This isn’t to say that if we haven’t lived through 9/11, we cannot possibly understand Flarf, but rather that for a more thorough understanding of Flarf we need to look at when and why (to the best of our ability, at least) it came about.

In the time period following 9/11, Flarf was seen as largely a reaction to the type of doublespeak that threatened to end Sewell’s binary above. The reason why the post-9/11 political climate threatened to end the inclusion/exclusion conflict is because politics in this era excluded through inclusion and included through exclusion. When you include through exclusion it’s called deceit. A perfect example of how politics deceived the public was by positing a theory, “Bin Laden did it,” and then passively encouraging that theory to spread while failing to provide sufficient evidence. Regardless of the truth, what follows is a vacuum: people assume that Bin Laden did it because “the TV said so,” and that there are “those in government who know the real truth even though we don’t.” The exclusion of truth here by media, government, and just about every talking head from here to Warsaw meant that the public then supplied it’s own interpretation (since we need answers and hate doubt and ambiguity). Flarf acted as one way (not THE way) within the poetry community (if there is one, that is) that poets were moving to counteract this attempt to turn the irrational into the dominant political philosophy (whether this worked is a different story, since as you might expect, not many people in power read poetry…). Flarf's stance seemed to be 1) listen to Bush's bullshit, 2) in disbelief, withdraw from a logical parry of said bullshit, since "if you're not with us you're against us," 3) engage in action whose message might be: your lack of logic means nothing, we know you're being illogical and we're going to create even more uncomfortable messages that expose the soft-authoritarian-cum-aggressive authoritarian bent of the current regime as specious and mere doublespeak, perhaps by flooding academic communities/poetry readings/culture with messages that muddy the regime's message (a message which claims it communicates but that actually doesn't, we should note again). If our message means nothing, more are likely to realize that in this heightened political climate, NO message serves to communicate, but rather to cause confusion, chaos and fear through labeling and sliding definitions of foreign policy, who's good and bad, and to hide the truth, this truth being that solving any problem isn't as easy as invading another country.

As to the accusation that Flarf is merely hipster irony, I ask: is Flarf even ironic? How can anything nonsensical be ironic at the same time? Irony requires understanding. And because Flarf seems to me to be not ironic but circuitous and a way to circumvent understanding (and misunderstanding, in that if there’s no assumed understanding, the expectation to “understand” doesn’t exist; the same works with Flarf's relationship with meaning). And so, Flarf circumvents “meaning,” as all poetry does. What a poem means to me is different from what it means to you. And this should be so, for things would be boring if it were any different.

I just received Rodney Koeneke’s RULES FOR DRINKING FORTIES. Koeneke is a very sharp writer, and I highly admire and recommend his work. Anyhow, I figured I’d best illustrate the problems with searching for meaning by quoting from Koeneke’s book, specifically, the poetic epigraph by Hannah Weiner:

details submit for
who ma

[Here I should note that there's about TAB's worth of space between details and submit that Blogger won't let me format...]

Ok, now: what does this MEAN? Anyone? (And when we're talking meaning here, we mean "what one message is there to be taken from this? What does this communicate?"

How does meaning have anything to do with poetry? How can it, since language is immense and this world is fractured and made up of 6 billion+ different interpretations?

I think the problem here is that we haven’t read enough Flarf, we haven’t read enough poetry, and we’re too lazy to assume that Flarf isn’t just one thing. Flarf is bathos, creepy, eerie, fun, boring, lazy, ironic, pat, provocative, smelly, corny, lame and trite. But this doesn’t mean that all Flarf has all of these characteristics, nor does it mean that all Flarf “poets” (I’m using scare quotes here because most writers of Flarf also write other types and styles of poetry as well) are only these things. To oversimplify and say that all Flarf is irony or hipstery or sucky or meaningless really does a disservice to all poetry, since Flarf is poetry and shares some of other poetic school’s characteristics, it insinuates that the harsh judge of Flarf is also willing to censor other poetry once it becomes “too much.”

Friday, April 10, 2009

I had a bad death thing happen to me.

Last year with a bad death pounding happened to me. Honestly into an open otter I fell, I found the solution…avoid thinking about the bad doctors giving me obnoxious suggestions. So often the spikes on the tail interfere. Focus on the family and James Dobson and HPV: bad mix. Spiny pine cones eagerly connect the eardrum and doldrums. What usually replaces my thoughts is to what bad death is to hearing from bad doctors. Luckily, I was transformed from a better person into an large Canadian Ice Shelf with heartwarming problems. Destiny now is outscorching a tween’s rounded out tan schedule. With a bad death pounding inside me last year.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Every Year...

The groundhog peeps it's wee head from the hole and says the same thing:

Poetry is dying. Get off my lawn.


I'm convinced -- over the heads of Newsweek I'm sure, since they can't understand how the first Internet president "happened" (conjecture on my part) -- that reader's habits are now changing faster than survey goons can invent silly questions. Moreover, in an industry where bleeding leads, it's good business sense to declare deaths of genres each year.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

More Flarf

I'm responding to this here post by Kevin.

Dear Kevin,

You make a lot of assumptions, about poetry, about philosophy and certainly about Flarf here.

The above poem [in your post] isn't flarf: it's more like a copy of what Flarf seems like to someone who doesn't get it.

I should also add that you don't like what you don't like, and no one can argue with that. So a good point to start off a critique of Flarf might be to ask just what it is that you don't like about Flarf and go from there.

But, your characterization of Flarf as plagiarism is a mischaracterization. Considering that poetry has often appropriated, and that some would contest that found poetry leans more toward plagiarism than Flarf, it seems weird to accuse Flarf of plagiarism

For more on what is NOT plagiarism, see here.

You further say this:

Before anyone argues that this “lack of style” ought to be considered a style all its own I’d like to state that such an argument cannot be construed as viable in any sense.

To which I ask, why? Why can't misspellings and mistakes of various kinds be considered style? Let's argue it. Not before, but now. Why can't these be style? Who's to say that they can't?

Another assumption: poetry communicates "meaning."

Another: poetry communicates a linearly grasped idea (plot--> progression-->terminus)= pat idea/statement of "meaning" to reader? Are poems supposed to "mean" things? Is your "meaning" my "meaning"?

Another: Flarf communicates nothing. (Have you ever read "Chicks Dig War" by Drew Gardner?)

Please read “Chicks Dig War” and then come back to your blog and tell me that Flarf communicates nothing, nothing about war, nothing about chicks digging it, nothing about GWAR.

Did I plagiarize?


Yes, Gnoetry

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The very one that Arnold battles in the jungle

Are the people who reviewed this movie all named
Helen Keller? Can you search the ignominious
Tracts of jungle wrinkle for my nekkid boyish
Frame to come bounding toward you
Vesting you with interest
And a minigun rumbling sending sailors to heaven.

I’m honestly feeling like choosing between better bullets
And being economic is not getting hit
And bleeding that costly anti-freeze Joop cologne KY mix
Over leaves and tropical fauna
Green covering cute and bizarre faces!
Protect these animals
For sacrifice! Don’t bleed
On them! Their goilie furs.
Bleeding rays releasing agro statements


I’m charged up: six men and one woman
Where a lot can happen between the military
And the people the military are chasing.
If the military is chased, smiles exchanged. Encouragement
Rages on gingerly. Rules are involved, cramming

Do you know who I am? I am yakking
Up blood rivers. Yours is putrid backwater
Filled with plastic bottles and hypodermics. And your spine
Will be realigned and loose
And no more sports or driving hard to the hoop.
Not in this sweltering apron
“Just answering to the Messiah”
Our cats are thinking messes”
The things I want tattooed
The 5th element or nine eleven