Temper at the Prospect

How our lively natures were rapt away by post-modern science fiction

“What temper at the prospect did not wake
To happiness unthought of? The inert
Were roused, and lively natures rapt away!”

William Wordsworth

February 2021 — Why doesn’t ugly start a revolution? The intellectual farmacie of traditional media, rife with fit, reasonably attractive folks earn profiles in the The New Yorker. Unless you’re an old white man, in which case beauty is rare and, take it from me, things are relatively frictionless—we will write your story of greatness.

If our obsession with youth can be explained by an attraction to that which we, statistically, were not: precocious, interested, prodigious and destined for the top rungs of the social ladder, than maybe beauty functions the same way.

Shall we ugly design the end, throw a rock, hold our bodies hostage? What kind of hunger must we become?


Endless war

The man in rags approaches the bricked barn
camel and needle yarn strikes
With no breath to confound
Though no one sentient around
Hears this knotted rotten demand
Buries his tires in the unyielding sand
Keeps the guests at bay
Perhaps just one more day

See the threads of desire meeting needle
knowledge binds together various
fabrics of self at uncertain edges
emerges eyes of crucible
crocodile burning fog & cloud
unity of irreducible information
unit of unbound dictionary lightshed
gathered father and son in bodied
survivalhood emergent territories of
thought escapes in breath

Dressed in silversbane protect my faith
new mother — holy anymother — lose
her holy see scatter her across
the January 2021 Facebook Pages redesign
her brands are luminous with nostalgia
or panic there intuition sings of a songbird
two fingers pointed and retracted
come-hither autocorrect
rub graphite like grapevine phantom to flesh
to thought


Endless possibility

The sun hangs low on two points
connected in electrical circuit
Obsessed with the minister
of reflexive language
as lovers panchromatic grey perhaps
a different meaning the new center
of socialist joy and recreation
I contemplate the aquiline but
refuse to rush into the masses
I rise elaborate as embroided
air vast plains of testosterone
encased in shadow
engorged with the forgotten god
and his abandoned metaphysics

I am a snapchat filter in the eyes of oblivion and beg for forgiveness a man
who collects comrades because even kindness needs a posse
a man who in the infinite stretch of sand finds god’s black wall
and in an instant his purpose a woman who builds rooms
inside and outside of the modern poets’ vague allusions
to common knowledge the radio has dinner
the terrible thing inserts a gun into its poem of
simple relational delight and dilemma
was no gun only infidelity changing lock letters
everywhere in shadow usurping men shooting bullets into the sky
almost every evening when I lived in the country who
permits this you have driven language
like a dead ox from the meaning of the field

Must is the greatest word in the English language
also it is the most misused among the lot
must is my daddy
must is my savior
must is the end of a snowstorm
as the cupboards go bare we must
not accept this way of formulating the issue
if we do not we shall be in serious trouble with the virtues
of curiosity our grammatical assumptions
enshrine themselves
within our philosophical arguments
and that is death

String a pair of slipping records the great colonial spasms of blood against dirt a free exchange of birds and rival ideologies coincides with the rise of criminal networks in cyberspace house of hexagon open to the possibility of retention of sky sound of brutal dictatorship string I do not know the woman’s name nor her side of the dialogue nor mine I must ring the bell though it is of form and weight without she is without voice string in this instance to look at me you wouldn’t know my hands repeat insincere gestures I was listening to that string together at last after years of waiting the smell of skin and

Waiting for the other shoe to drop it is what it is i drink whisky i drink beer beer made of sculptures her words not mine borrowed really from peter to paypal paul and talk about geometry ugly repulsive apparitions on a wet black bough lazy mapping doesn’t know how to read a nap no sense of ambiguity an obsession with youth glowing skin fresh powder a reliable reit wilbur ross financed spac takes it public no sense of ambiguity the poet and the programmer vindictive academics both

Obsessed with the minister of reclusive language the character pans the screen not the player like a patient etherized upon a table I deny myself the opportunity no one’s said it explicitly — actor, writer, set designer, executive producer — but the show is about memory no one can take that away not the ultra rich who pile vindication and swim not the blood and shadow brokers cointreau spiked with lsd at a cia retreat al spoke of destruction finally getting its break if it’s good enough for the abattoir why not right here at home?

Hop skip jump burn hop skip jump burn hop skip jump burn hop skip jump burn

The mass destruction of tourists
The mass destruction of production
The mass destruction of typewriters
The mass destruction of jealous music

Poetry policymakers conspiracies fourteen women share a couch destruction everywhere their feet behind them behind the couch a trio of monochrome musicians a hot light a baudrillard disclaiming suprareality a wedding ring i toss behind the couch like an anchor rides in veins of the venal need flower print — imagine that — in black and white the posterity collapsed like a pharaoh’s lung fat legs crossed surely worm food by now all these artists care so much about dying disclaiming flesh of wristwatches

The memory, bound with piano wire, is something of a meditation. Not intended to pacify the hungry, curious, and violent child-made, by polite society, to sit still and earn their wage. The memory, bound by piano wire, is something of a primitive chant. Primitivism as if to say committed to the ursheriff and the supraellipses. The memory, bound by piano wire, lets blood through an unmarked limited liability company. Too many of us have been dragged through the mud to reserve comment — to forget — to watch Everybody Loves Raymond nailed to the crucifix.


Endless war

ritual of expulsion: setting proves important to the audience, which, in city after city struggles to understand why the woman in the white bandana suffers so and why the small-town cat buzzing in and out through the open den window bob and weave with puritanical, firefly charm. Symbolism escapes them until it doesn’t — like an embolism.

In the 18th century a rhino named Clara visited the capitals of Europe and inspired various French hairstyles as the sun crashes down on city hall where the streets are torn up to be repaved what does this have to do with ugly women? Everything!

At 2:22 a.m. I provide the characters with made up properly seasoned rips in time. We, as an audience, have nothing to worry about. The average theater-goer had a hard time separating entertainment from criticism and I am here to avenge that loss. Tears streaming down his unwashed face, he raises his hand like it was his own. Cold but well bathed, the poet runs his imagination through the treetops — rouses a eastern screech owl.


Endless nobility

That you were buried before you could confess doesn’t mean the asteroid didn’t strike too proud too catholic too ferrous doesn’t mean you didn’t suffer and I didn’t love you more the pain in your endurance love is all I can offer now and forgiveness forgiveness for stitching up the wound unimagined queen of collisions dark and ceaseless coverings always there always lurking

Our patent pending technology attaches a set of medical grade dentures directly to the upper thigh to create the world’s most authentic prosthetic leg a photo is a list of ingredients and a set of instructions called preconception one might say there is no such thing as false witness actual theft or actual inspiration some personal news I am thrilled to hear the poet quickly come to the adjective’s defense.

My wife in the other room alone moaning it’s not what you think by being obtuse obscure obdurate I insure reality what a mitzvah a single poet in a kettle being trusted and truthful and godlike in a drained pool of diction they can be kind and determined all ears all fingers all backbone a penis is a penis is a penis we fetishize nature by its nature his repetitive conceit — I’m thrilled to announce I’m being specific for once — is tiring but not in a bad way exhausting like an Eggleston picture

Exhausting here comes the sun is the first song you heard silk where the green silicone pacifier reds your chin snow falling black against a holy sky every molecule on the horizon vibrates against the desire to regulate to survive navigating generative strangling not the winner but first place itself broken

On the political streets broken maddening itself like ants on a sugar cube here, February, or, interrogations you built America punched down and out by the sidewalk, you’ve lost the game saying too much abyss oblivion no one in my family tells stories broken and yet young bodies baked through with organic poisons in hushed tones around the breakfast table while i burp her

Under the christmas tree my gift unopened for thirty years shallow breaths deep water the lights dim in concert with listicles year end reviews lizard-content basking in the vast nourishing copper field you were invited to motherhood and chose virgin purity invited to fatherhood and chose putty imports a well-built alarm clock a gingham turtle shell split down the middle kintsugi impossible and inevitable, sky hunting its platinum trophy

Men in Hats Rise from the Ground

“Men in hats rise from the ground: / Bless these broken dolls and mend them.”

‘Five O’Clock’ by James Schuyler

Men disport themselves.
They help each other:
“Reach in my chest and massage my heart.
I am not dead.”

If clouds are God’s table linen,
what is rain?
He gave men towels to dry themselves.
He blessed their soap.

The city grew like the desert, by erosion
Men walk in it.
God is not so much dead as resting.
His seventh day has just begun.

Men step out of the wind.
They give money and necessaries.
They steal what belongs to them.
The eighth day, doors open on new sights.

Men in hats rise from the ground:
Bless these broken dolls and mend them.
What goes through cloth, walks and floats?
We rise lightly in you.


Source: Schuyler, James, James Meetze, and Simon Pettet. Other Flowers: Uncollected Poems. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. Print, p. 179.

Photo: Gerace, Joe. “Men in Hats Rise from the Ground” Nov. 14, 2020. JPG.

Atherton: We’re basically living in a cyberpunk dystopia

I don’t know how you’re all holding up, but this quarantine combined with the ineffective leadership of my federal government here in the United States has led me to seriously reconsider my level of engagement with humanity, the arts, and, to a lesser extent, politics.

Today’s essential read comes from Albuquerque-based defense technology journalist Kelsey D. Atherton:

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps through the world, it collides with governments in the West that have spent decades deliberately shedding power, capability, and responsibility, reducing themselves to little more than vestigial organs that coordinate public-private partnerships of civic responsibility. This hollowing of the state began in earnest in the 1980s, and the science fiction of that time—the earliest texts of cyberpunk—imagines what happens when that process is complete. Cyberpunk is a genre of vast corporate power and acute personal deprivation. The technologies at the center of it are all means of control, control bought by the wealthy or broken by criminals. Where recourse is available, in whatever small way, it’s through direct action.

Atherton

Atherton cites William Gibson, cartoonist Matt Lubchansky, historian Nils Gilman, and author and journalist Tim Maughan, among others to great effect here.

This is grim stuff, but it works to serve a concise point wrapped in a human, community-focused message:

Escaping a Gilded Age takes more than just clever protagonists who can outwit the cruelties and exploitations of the wealthy few. As insurmountable as the power of robber barons once seemed, cataclysm and political action brought the Gilded Age to a resounding end. The inoculations against another Gilded Age are found far less in the works of cyberpunk and far more in the Works Progress Administration. Escaping a Gilded Age takes an active, collective politics, one that refuses to let governments hide behind algorithms or abdication of responsibility to the market.

Atherton

This is clearly a time to rise up, CANCEL AMAZON PRIME, and engage in meat space with the systems of control.

This is a time for the radical, earnest partnership of humanity.

Write me in the comments if you want to know more about small collective actions you and your family and friends can engage in to shock the system, awaken allies, and free yourself.

John Baldessari (Make a Splash at Parties)

Prismatic, Buñuel said.
Chinese condoms and
effulgent magenta glob.

Prismatic, Buñuel said.
Chinese condoms and
effulgent magenta glob.
Everything in the
public record. That’s
how you make
great images. Please
remove yr hands
in respect of
the dead. Describe
what you don’t
see. Clean, sterile
actionable nouns. Be
it boy or
boar. The French
horn swells predictably.
Google feeds headlines
to the mountains.
A poet doesn’t
need bleak intelligence,
she said. This
is a different
kind of river.
I pour collage
into a black
mug, lucky me!

For All the Vegans I’ve Loved and Consumed (Trendy Modernist Power Play)

Wikipedia Poem, No. 991

ONE

of animals
as moral consumers
justify their sight

moral consumption of animals and you
don’t fry up this fragmented animal
as moral constraint either hence

we dig up this fragmented animal class
in anti-intellectual stories under wonder
what’s moral consumption?

the poets are moral consumers mutatis mutandis
what’s moral? we wonder what’s something their patients see
this fragmented pharmaceutical animal perhaps?

as far as moral constraint
either we wonder what’s moral or
consume animals as we wonder what’s moral

TWO

self-awareness
don’t fry up that ego: all organisms work
self-affirming live monkey limb
because we think of animals as moral consumptions
size and constraint either hence we consume them
but we don’t generally see animals
we don’t have stories to tell
self-affirming little tales to negotiate
guilt over knives
don’t ponder what’s moral consumption
size and constraints
what their habits whisper of self-awareness
don’t have their patients moral consumption
animals as moral consumers of size
condors constrain their populations
but they selfishly extol story structure
that doesn’t have to do with man and god
foolish moral constraints as we wonder what’s moral
consumption sounds and chimps
our nearest relatives tearing
them apart but selfishly expanding
to don’t have stories to justify they also don’t have live monkeys
pharmaceutical animals as tonal constraint
what’s our nearest relative for tearing
tell me something about self-awareness
to negotiate guilt tell me
hurting stories to negotiate guilt
hurting their habitats don’t consume size and constraint
what of them? their populations? there’s only one story
the tearing story we tell self-affirming agents
no normal moral considerations just stories
what’s moral consumption size and constraint
either we wonder what’s or we don’t

THREE

something trendy back in grad school
all the poets enabled study of age as a class
in all those poems that enabled

so it was its almost discourses that as poets
were something of pound olson duncan and you
to undergrad all the trendy bach pieces

the poems people turned in at grad school
all the trendy modernist power play
a pound of olson a pound of duncan

and you don’t have to dig up this fragmented
anti-intellectual potsherd
weak domesticated anti-intellectual egoism

Arm Wrestling with Judd Hirsch

Wikipedia Poem, No. 989

Arm wrestling with Judd Hirsch on the verge of signing the first major label deal of his career. He was 85.

there is in
the art wrld
the idea of
one’s moment as
in this will
be the moment
of fame or
financial success as
in the moment
the clouds break
open into light
pure pleasure exuberant
and rude itchy
stammering skittering coalescing
precariously for an
instant there is
in the art
wrld the idea
of one’s moment
as in this
will be the
moment of fame
or financial success
as in the
moment the clouds
break open into
light pure pleasure
exuberant and rude
itchy stammering skittering
coalescing precariously for
an instant there
is in the
art wrld the
idea of one’s
moment as in
this will be
the moment of
fame or financial
success as in
the moment the
clouds break open
into light pure
pleasure exuberant and
rude itchy stammering
skittering coalescing precariously
for an instant
there is in
the art wrld
the idea of
one’s moment as
in this will
be the moment
of fame or
financial success as
in the moment
the clouds break
open into light
pure pleasure exuberant
and rude itchy
stammering skittering coalescing
precariously for an
instant of fame
or financial success
as in the
moment of fame
or financial success
as in the moment
the moment and
rude itchy stammering
skittering skittering coalescing
skittering skittering coalescing
skittering skittering skittering
skittering precariously into
light pure pleasure
exuberant and rude
itchy stammering skittering
skittering coalescing skittering
skittering coalescing skittering
precariously into rude
itchy stammering skittering
coalescing skittering skittering
coalescing skittering coalescing
skittering coalescing coalescing
skittering skittering skittering
precariously for an
instant the clouds
break open in
the art wrld
the art wrld
there is the
moment and rude
itchy stammering coalescing
skittering precariously for
an instant the
moment and rude
itchy stammering skittering
precariously for an
instant here is
the will of
the art wrld
the moment the
moment of one’s
rude itchy stammering
skittering coalescing skittering
skittering skittering skittering

Source: Rivkin, Joshua. Chalk: the Art and Erasure of Cy Twombly. Melville House, 2018, p. 299.

Artifacts of Reference, No. 11

thomas-demand copy

‘subjunctive, infinitive, not tied down’

Wikipedia Poem, No. 988

“Women have all kinds of practice
imagining themselves as men
and men have very little practice
imagining themselves as women.”
Meryl Streep

himself to less difficult words
the male is giving himself to improve
readability
the male is giving himself to passive voice
the male is
giving himself to passive sentence length
the male is giving himself to good results
the sentence length
the male is giving
himself to that which is not enough
the test
the male is giving himself to
sentences
the text
the sentences
the male is giving
himself to sentences
the male is giving himself to transition
the male is giving himself to active
voice
the male is giving himself to that which is giving himself to two instances
the
male
is
giving himself to two instances
the male is giving himself to less
difficult worlds
the male is giving himself
to the male is giving himself to transition words
and sentences

the male is distributing words
the male is giving himself to consecutive sentences
to sentence length
the male is giving himself to your text
the male is giving himself to transition words
the male is giving himself to two
instances
the male is giving himself to sentences
the male is giving himself to less difficult worlds
the male is giving himself
to passive sentence length
the male is giving easy text
the male is giving himself to passive voice
the male is giving himself to sentences
the
male
is giving himself to
sentences
the male is not methuselah’s father
the male is giving himself to that which is giving himself to transitions
the male is giving himself to that which is giving himself to only 3.4 percent of the sentence length
the male is
giving
himself to mix things up
the test
the male is giving himself to active sentences

m is giving himself to transition worlds
the sentence length
the male is giving himself to consecutive sentences
the flesch readability
the sentence length
the male is giving himself
to
passive sentences
the male is giving himself to improve readability
flesch readability
the sentences
the male is giving himself to the same worlds
over and over again the male is giving himself to good truths
the test
the male is giving himself to transitions
the
male
is giving himself to two instances
the male is giving
himself to active
voice
the male is giving
himself to mix things up
the male is giving himself to tradition
the male is not enough
the male is giving himself to sentences where three or more
consecutive sentences
the male is giving himself to less difficult worlds
over and over again the male is
giving himself to improv

New Reform Temple with Snow (How to Fully Inhabit Your Characters)

Wikipedia Poem, No. 986

Barbara Kruger was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1945. After attending Syracuse University, the School of Visual Arts, and studying art and design with Diane Arbus at Parson's School of Design in New York, Kruger obtained a design job at Condé Nast Publications.

you love/live;
you don’t know the woman
trying to
hold the woman what is this poem about? nancy me — about?
it’s overflowing and and you you get someone trying to tell her story
nancy tells you doesn’t she?
you don’t
know don’t listen
don’t know this woman is what
this poem is about? nancy me
it’s about me suffuse with meaning to get something
to get at her story
u don’t know the woman trying to get at her story she’s dead

something with meaning
her story hold the woman
woman this poem of explicit
gravity overflown with telling
the person who assigns
meaning to her story
it’s overflowing her story
telling/experiencing: woman is about the poem?
nancy me it’s about? nancy
me about? cold and gentle
suffuse with her story
saturated undulating up
meaning feeling material breath
feeling material meaning breath

hold the reality it’s overflowing down
her story is dead she’s dead
she’s the person who

Unterselfconsciousness

Wikipedia Poem, No. 985

automatic black curtain makes way for light within the system
for most of the art world’s subconscious — severe ghosts
pour through dreams with 16 inch kalashnikovs khan fiercely criticizes desire
examines the industrial printer of the black curtain
makes way for light herself the artist-activist now represents the system
at gagosian it’s hard to admit what she does for light the system infiltrates
dreams of the world’s subconscious khan examines the system
for the artist-activist the web of the art world’s humorous
political projects — objects of power — she’s the light within severe ghosts
dreams khan the art world’s unterselfconsciousness — her voice is different
from those of the living the armed ghosts the fierce critic
of her voice is a fierce critic of most artist-activists

the unsparing sky no one wants
the desires pressed against the roof
of her mouth that of the artist-activist
most of all the high severe ghosts
emigrating dreams of the fierce critic
her desires
examine the hidden bolshevik sky
no one wants — least of all
the art world’s subclass unconscious