What would metal sound like after capitalism?

“A pop song—and metal, for all its fuck no, is pop music—is a commodity, and its market conditions are written into its chord structure. It is caught up entirely in capitalism’s circuits. A wash of guitars and a blast beat do not have the power to resist the contradictions they expose and express.

“Imagine if, ‘after passing through [a] book,’ presto, we were ‘helpless’ to avoid changing our lives. Sometimes I wonder what metal would sound like after capitalism, or whether we would even need metal then. I wonder the same thing about poetry.”


— Michael Robbins, from his essay “Destroy Your Safe and Happy Lives.” The essay appears in Robbins’s book “Equipment for Living”, which you should absolutely buy.

Michael Robbins

Wikipedia Poem, No. 534


“I like the fact that once a piece of work is done, I cease to exist. I like the feeling of disappearing after finishing an artwork.” Xu Zhen

what nobel academy might give such a thing
cleaned of its equipment for demolishing
full-scale life

modern life
modern horrors
hilarious at odds unsettle

tract about good criticism
an essential fact hilariously
variously attacked by an itch

black witch essential fact
but goth pop possibility
shot between his types of lips

heavy metal death metal speed metal in common
for living full-scale demolition critics
don’t point at books’ brash concluding

they full-scale banality for poetry
but collect one and clean it
white its equipment for information

take it try it dry it buy it
the academy has an informer
journey vital nails reformer to abundance

from Percival Everett in “The Art of Fiction No. 235”

Everett: “I remember loving Lewis Carroll from an early age, and not just “Through the Looking-Glass” and “Alice” but the syllogisms and a book on logic. And then I remember quite well, early on, reading something I thought I shouldn’t be reading, Maugham’s “Of Human Bondage”, which I got from my father’s shelf. I think I was nine. It was fun because I didn’t think I was supposed to read it. As I look back, I think that it’s reading, probably even more than writing, that I find important. Reading is subversive because you necessarily do it by yourself. Which is why books scare people like Donald Trump. What’s interesting to me is that the poor people who identify with Donald Trump, they think of themselves as unlucky rich people. If things had just gone differently, they would be rich, too. The system has worked against them. It’s the same reason people play the lottery. Overnight you could wake up rich, and that’s an exciting thing. What you can’t do overnight is become educated. That requires a lot of work, so that’s not a goal. It’s something to fear. But that’s exactly why I find books so important. I don’t care what people read. If they read anything, then they might read something else. I just want to participate in making a different culture. I’m thinking of that line of Walt Whitman’s—”Produce great Persons, the rest follows.” It sounds flip when you just say it, but it’s true. That’s not to say that people are bad, but I want a readership that wants to read things because the work is difficult, not because it’s only fun. I want the fun to be in figuring it out. That’s what reading is all about, and to me writing is really just an extension of reading. But there, enough of my soapbox.”

Read the entire interview in The Paris Review.

“be frank (if you can’t be frank, be john and kenneth).”

be frank

From “The Last Avant-Garde” by David Lehman:

[Frank] O’Hara’s ironically self-deprecating tone was much imitated. “I am the least difficult of men. All I want is boundless love,” he wrote. He kiddingly called his own poems “the by-product of exhibitionism” and wrote constantly about his daily life. It was O’Hara who initiated the policy of dropping names in his poems, a habit that became a New York School trademark. O’Hara peppered his work with references to his painter friends — [Jane] Freilicher, [Larry] Rivers, Mike Goldberg, Joan Mitchell, Norman Bluhm, Grace Hartigan, Al Leslie — with perfect indifference to whether readers would recognize their names. That indifference argued a certain confidence in the poet’s ability to make the details of his autobiography-in-progress so irresistible that the reader feels flattered to be regarded as the poet’s intimate. O’Hara s celebration of friendship in poetry represented an ideal that second-generation New York School poets, such as Bill Berkson, Ted Berrigan, Joe Brainard, Ron Padgett, and Anne Waldman, emulated in the 1960s. Everyone wanted to be, as [Ted] Berrigan put it, “perfectly frank.” James Schuyler has a marvelous rift in a letter to Berkson urging him to “be frank (if you can’t be frank, be john and kenneth). Say,” Schuyler continues, “maybe our friends’ names would make good verbs: to kenneth: emit a loud red noise; to ashbery- cast a sidewise salacious glance while holding a champagne glass by the stem; to kenward: glide from the room and not make waves; to brainard, give a broad and silent chuckle; to maehiz, shower with conversational spit drops–but I said friends, didn’t I–cancel the last. To berkson and to schuyler I leave to you.”


Source: Lehman, David. The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets. New York: Doubleday, 1998, print, p. 73.

Inside Joke

Wikipedia Poem, No. 463


“Jerry Rubin arrested! Beaten, jailed, coccyx broken — / Leary out of action – “a public menace … persons of tender years … immature judgment … psychiatric examination …” / i.e. Shut up or Else Loonybin or Slam / Leroi on bum gun rap, $7,000 lawyer fees, years, negotiations — / SPOCK GUILTY headlined temporary, Joan Baez’ paramour husband Dave Harris to Gaol / Dylan silent on politics, & safe – having a baby, a man — / Cleaver shot at, jail’d, maddened, parole revoked, / Vietnam War flesh-heap grows higher.” Allen Ginsberg

george meredith
the testament of cresseid
edmund near perigord
thomas gray
elegy written in time
of cresseid
edmund near perigord
the dream-777
tha twee dogs
william butler yeats lamia
the axeheave
john keats meditations in time of civil war
robert henryson
the testament of the lady of civil war
robert from ireland
john wain 1937
dylan’s the rape of cresseid
edmund near perigord
byron aleppo beppo
the new testament’s best major earthquake
alexander the prisoner pope
samuel taylor colin clouts
come home home home

home home home come
home home home come home come home again
dylan thomas gray elegy written in a time of city showers
276 verses of allen ginsberg
america changes
meredith & her twee dogs
william butler yeats lamia
the axehandle jonson
thomas gray elegy written in time
time of cresseid
edmund the pear
near perigord
tennyson thomas hood
the lark ascending
johns hill

from ‘On Secrets’ by Mary Ruefle


“When you are walking down a city street and not paying much attention—perhaps you are downtrodden by some confusion—and come suddenly upon a rose bush blooming against a brick wall, you may be struck and awakened by the appearance of beauty. But the rose is not beautiful. You think the rose is beautiful and so you may also think, with sadness, that it will die. But the rose is not beauty. What beauty is is your ability to apprehend it. The ability to apprehend beauty is the human spirit and it is what all such moments are about, which is why such moments occur in places and at times that may strike another as unlikely or inconceivable, and it does not seem far-fetched to say that the larger the human spirit, the more it will apprehend beauty in increasingly unlikely and inconceivable situations, which is why there is such a great variety of art objects on earth. And there is something else we should say about the apprehension of beauty: it causes discomfort; and by discomfort I mean the state of being riled, which is a state of reverberation.

“What you carried inside you when you walked through the door was this ability. It is your ability to apprehend beauty, or the lack of it. It is your ability to listen. And change, or be changed. It has something to do with the secret of human existence, which is nowhere revealed, and nowhere concealed, and in front of which we remain, or become, infants.”



Wikipedia Poem, No. 307


the sensors
they are time
and research

they should be irradiated
about all things we
constant deduction a book

true researchers designal
while most hone images
acquired from the sever

an assumption about
20 micrometers around
in the metropolitan museum

of the sensor corresponding
surfaces grew so low
the universities of noise

the researchers’ setup a sensor
then make surfaces from
images just as antique time bounces

under cover others absorb
different means
than the page provide