Preghiera di Gerace (Manifesto)

Wikipedia Poem, No. 661

w661

after Mario Merz

y&
simple body
nature current 
dynamism language 
no culture 
no merchandise
misunderstood 
&y

able   to provide material 
was his      earthenworks         as well    
neo-data nouveau réalisme post-war statements of 
ur-minimalissimo        programmed into existence 
poor    povera pobera 
pauvre   arm
бедные 
עני فقير
x

one of his own    surprisingly able    
to give us hope neo-divine
y&y

spacer1

Suggested pairing:

Poetry is a Game You Play With Death

Wikipedia Poem, No. 631

IMG_9648

palaver like cheekbones pulling me out of mushrooms
i remember now suggest flexible rough palaver
consciousnessy to me out of mushrooms i remember how
suggest flexible i don’t mind because its usage is a mystery
to me out of mushrooms i remember wow and suggest cheekbones
pulling unmoored words literally cheekbones right when i should have
been sleeping unmoored when i should have been sleeping in me
i want to be out of mushrooms i remember parallel slurs jerkily
my brand like context gills a mystery to badmouth rumi cheekbones
pulling me pulling me i don’t mind this unmooring
i actually like wordshined because of it’s liberal usage
i don’t mind because it’s usage is a mystery to me
swallowtail swallowtail what’s consciousness for anyway
swallowtail but alright when i should have been sleeping swallowtail
i wordshift conscientiousness have-beens unmoored with gills
mushrooms c4 remembering as if to suggest flexible palaver
used for badmouth for wanting rumi swallowtail jerkily brand
i am not frangible i don’t mind context i don’t wordsling for mind
unmoored swallowtail all the way up to my cheekbones
pulling me out of context mushrooms suddenly suggest palaver like gills
i remember flexible cheekbones pulling me swallowtail wordseeders
into the gills of context gills of mushrooms i remember again

John Ashbery, 1927-2017

ash

“Fear of Death” by John Ashbery

What is it now with me
And is it as I have become?
Is there no state free from the boundry lines
Of before and after? The window is open today

And the air pours in with piano notes
In its skirts, as though to say, “Look, John,
I’ve brought these and these”—that is,
A few Beethovens, some, Brahmses,

A few choice Poulenc notes. . . . Yes,
It is being free again, the air, it has to keep coming back
Because that’s all it’s good for.
I want to stay with it out of fear

That keeps me from walking up certain steps,
Knocking at certain doors, fear of growing old
Alone, and of finding no one at the evening end
Of the path except another myself

Nodding a curt greeting: “Well, you’ve been awhile
But now we’re back together, which is what counts.”
Air in My path, you could shorten this,
But the breeze has dropped, and silence is the last word.

Daedalus (Black Remix)

Wikipedia Poem, No. 579

w579-sm

“That one most perilous and long voyage ended, only begins a second; and a second ended, only begins a third, and so on, for ever and for aye. Such is the endlessness, yea, the intolerableness of all earthly effort.” Melville

for language
symbolic this
mothers’ death
was a life
he bestows on her—her surrounded now—
his mothers
the composition for a life
bestown on her—his mothers—only through language
symbols like black water then anorexia
or an anorexia of rage
like black
water to jung a presence in which
exorcise a substitution
fire
he bestows on the
peculiar life particularity
if only through language
like teapots of a purpose for a life particular

and elegy

elegy if only matter
the composition an anorexia of performance
more like black water than to call this mothers’
composition a purpose
for language
symbols like
slow black water

royal rise roil roll raze raise

Apokellipsis

Wikipedia Poem, No. 573

w573-sm

“Each eloquent spokesman // praised abnegations, offered transformation, even / ecstasies —; just renounce // sex, or food, or love.” Frank Bidart

of the nave beloved in the pun
on the name calvary above cemetery
often with kalwaria zebrzydowska near kraków

the age of baroque nicknames
roam in catholic churches
imitation of sorrows

john calva chews
roman catholic skoal
a golgotha apart

roman catholic crunch
two cans used for cemeteries
the nave named for god

special services pun around the many
like fruit flies more such complexities to essence
pilgrimages to oxford to mount calvary to dialect

calvary in the nave
beloved in the pun
the roman locks hands the cross

Schicchi, Capocchio and Torpedo Girl

Wikipedia Poem, No. 568

w568-sm

Americana in Sunset

“Having failed on two occasions to win the Prix de Rome (1848 and 1849), Bouguereau was hungry for revenge.”

in one show 
the graphic novel enters 
formation with 
the circle one cerchio yoshio sawai-published language

          by 
illustrations 
   self-referent 
   it is in it is it is it in is it

this botches innocence
innocent humor uses 
        puns the virgil 
        end up ended up one

allies rebels record players
fan formal teen girls beautiful
in the original japanese 
anime fiume flegetonte

Praise Uncontrollable Gruesome

Wikipedia Poem, No. 519

w519

“For either to have expressed desire, to have / reached, would have been to offer the object of desire // power. It could not be done.” Frank Bidart

let me tell you a secret:
i’ve discovered something
in the conveniences of
mass consequence to ensure
mine would continue to bear
neutral

green leather black light
pitches back
leather clutch discovers light black
leather
clutch discovers
something wild
rushing in
cow sacrifices its skin to ensure mine

the new world bears
a neutral green light black leather
rolls back

leather pitches back leatherette that
participation with the fender of
the sacrifices

of

the sun and squeezes
loud lives
conveniences of a motorcycle

what i mean to say is
the convenience of the barking
bike living alive and dies

leather
pitches backwards to
stay here

Did You Mean Más o Menos?

Wikipedia Poem, No. 510

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“How about an oak leaf / if you had to be a leaf?” James Schuyler

c
short
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cha them all n euticals
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of pharma lying on a cigaretthe day afe
point—heuicidal ornd the rooith this lth this
looke with cd he was drette and t with charalled
him t to the ces at someke with chchelsea
where tth charles at some pll whetherr
the all whethabsentmind took themea
absentmid the roomat some po
up the das bed withs
suicidalent to
theis
long
haefinitely arette
anded him he a lot of p
to the chrles i wend he was d suicidal
went to tim he was they had aim he was
ing on his installedals does asuicidal os definitetminded
hechelsea wh charles iint—he toodid what aint—he
tooe they hadlready ins with charentminded
ady instalte and theinstalled t up the dor
absentmsentmindedhis long h i spoke
wr absentmient to thedefinitelyette
and tthe chelse charles isuicidal
ohelsea wheay after iely
smokint of pharmwent
to thentminded
they had aes
i went hem
all whg
hair’s
wheady
instay on
a lotroom went
suicidal helsea whewhat
anyboy up the point—he f
pharmacem went up r it’s suig
a cigareed he was all wheth smoking
atminded hee and dainstalled he took thinded
he wtely smokiroom went ere they hoint—he toe
was lyin point—he ceuticals the day afe was
defii went to what anybthem all w does
at s absentmin had alreae took the’s
suicidasuicidal o went up tll
whetherether it’sefinitely
some poind he was
with this hairhad
alread or
absentd
he was
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all whetheirtook
them l whether nded
he wath this lois long hadoes
at soes i went em all wheitely smokrmaceuticawas
lying ot of pharbsentmindeg hair had alrea
day afterlled him hroke with che took
tht’s suicidlong hairat some po
hair and the rabsentmindhey
had alme point—hefinitely
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them albed with t
day aftere with
chabody
on
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hll whethertook
them icidal or a lot
of em all whehim he
waspoke with hat anybodthis
long ea where ty installerles
i wenntminded hspoke
withdy on a loicidal
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whetherd
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fly
hi
i

From “On Motorcycles” by Frederick Seidel

gerace-honda-rebel-500

“On the lyrical state highways of Vermont I blatted and roared, up and down through the gears, at eighty, at a hundred and something, at much more than a hundred and something miles an hour. The motorcycle had a relatively long wheelbase and felt absolutely solid in a straight line, despite the shaft-drive, and steady enough in a turn, but not quick to turn and right itself. The bike was rather heavy, not deft and flickable, but it was wonderful to look at, wonderful to be on, wonderful to ride, a source of pride. The sound it made was magnificent. The feeling was of riding a powerful musical instrument. The hills echoed and the valleys lit up with my song. You used to be able to say of a motorcycle that it was on song when it was going full tilt in perfect tune and at the right revs just at the redline, the rpm limit for the motor. I was on song. I felt in tune, in love, so proud. It was late summer, almost fall. Pride goeth before the fall. Then I fell.

***

“I was rounding a turn on the MV at considerable speed when I had the only serious accident I have ever had. Years before, I had jumped the Triumph Metisse off the top of a rise, knowing I would land in sand, and curious to see if I could do it and keep going, but I was prepared to crash, and I crashed. That didn’t count. I may have been going eighty miles an hour on the MV when I realized I would not make it around the turn. I had a choice: I could throw the bike down on the highway or aim for the unplowed field straight ahead of me, as the road curved to the left. I chose the field and shot off the road and rode across the field with the bike upright, and then I hit a ditch, going quite fast still, and crashed. I was furious, embarrassed, outraged. My first act was to get the bike upright and try to start it. A passing state trooper was flagged down by someone who had seen me go off the road. The trooper was rushing a kidney-dialysis machine to another part of Vermont where it was needed in an emergency, and he certainly did not want to be held up, but when he looked at me he decided he had better get me to the nearby Ellsworth Clinic in Chester, where, when I walked in, I saw the blood drain from the face of the receptionist as she looked at me, and heard her insist to the trooper that I be rushed to Springfield Hospital. She obviously thought I had done terrible damage to myself and was about to go into shock. The trooper sped to Springfield with lights whirling and siren whooping. This same trooper was killed six months later in a high-speed crash. It turned out he had been reprimanded several times for his risk-addicted driving. At the hospital it was determined that I had broken three ribs, that was all.

“I had to explain this mortifying event to myself and to the world. When the wrecked motorcycle was examined, it was apparent that there was something not right about the foot pedal that operated the rear brake. The pedal swung loose, meaning it could move down from its position at rest but also it could move up—not normal, not desirable—and it was possible, perhaps likely, that this had been the state of affairs before the crash. A Vermont motorcycle dealer named Peter Pickett had driven down to JFK in his small red open-bed truck to pick up the MV after it cleared customs, and had taken it to Peru, Vermont, where my friend Jill Fox lived and where I spent a great deal of time. The crate was unloaded, opened, and set aside to be saved, it was so good-looking in its own right. The motorcycle, pretty much ready to be ridden, nevertheless had to be gone over to make sure everything was in order. I examined the front end while the back portion of the bike was checked by an experienced rider and sometime mechanic who lived in the village, not exactly a friend but someone friendly and eager to play a part. My immediate thought after crashing was that it couldn’t have been my fault, certainly couldn’t have been the result of my taking the wrong line in attempting to go through the corner, certainly couldn’t have been a case of not leaning the bike into the turn sufficiently because of the speed I was traveling, couldn’t have been the speed I was traveling stopping me from correctly managing the bike, couldn’t have been . . . and so forth. So it had to have been the consequence of the adjustments made to the rear brake pedal by the fellow who checked out the rear of the motorcycle. It suddenly was apparent that the lever controlling the rear brake had been set up in a manner that applied the brake when the pedal was pressed down, as is normal, or when the pedal swung up, when downward pressure was applied or when no pressure was applied, and the pedal was for whatever reason forced up, as when rounding a corner at great speed the centrifugal force pushed the lever up . . . and the back brake was applied without my foot touching the brake pedal. I believed this theory. I propounded it to all, grunting with pain from my broken ribs. I offer the theory to you now, dear reader. Believe me, that is how it happened. The brake was applied without my touching the pedal, the rear wheel locked, I felt it lock, felt that I could not possibly get around the turn, without knowing what exactly was the matter, and decided to go straight, into the field I saw there, straight ahead of me, and did so, dragging the locked rear wheel . . . and riding, if that is the right word, through the field might have made it to a safe upright stop if I had not come up against a ditch, almost a canal, too wide for the dead weight of the motorcycle to cross, and then BAM.

“For days, for months, I replayed the scene, explaining to myself what had happened, excusing myself. Anything to avoid thinking I had been an incompetent. And there is something else in this. There is a way in which feigning nearness to death risks death. Faking it at all well imitates real danger too faithfully and brings danger. I had gone into the turn too fast. I had not made it around the turn. I started playing down the danger I had put myself in and at the same time playing it up. Motorcycling is full of bravado and posing and the nearness of death. You pretend to be calmly, even coldly focused, when you ride, eyes everywhere, eyes on the job and immune to thoughts about risk. That is how one describes riding these fast motorcycles, except of course there is in addition the pleasure. You are riding beauty and you are riding speed and you are riding death. And it is a pleasure. But you offer yourself as a dashing devotee. You realize you are performing the role of yourself, and may be maimed out of existence as part of the act, as part of the character you are playing.

“The bike went back to Italy and returned, having had its bent and wounded parts rebuilt at great expense, with the latest disc brakes off the racing bike added. Again it was trucked to Vermont. It looked so glamorous. I rode it once, just to do it, like getting back on a horse that has thrown you. Eventually the MV was put on display at Luigi Chinetti’s Ferrari dealership in Greenwich, Connecticut, and was bought by a visiting English rare-car dealer to add jazz and romance to his personal collection.

“I had another shaft-drive bike at the time, the classic BMW 750cc opposed-cylinder twin, with its sober and good-looking black bodywork with white pinstripes. It was a touring bike, very comfortable and reliable, the latest version of the design in a long line of opposed twins the company had made. I rode it around Vermont, and then one day, with my young son behind me as my passenger, riding on a dirt road, I descended a very steep hill to get to the paved county road and went into a slide, a barely controlled slide down the hillside in the dirt, which I managed like a motocross racer, or a skier, touching the brakes once or twice only, and lightly, and driving safely away. That little hill thrill chill did it. Once home, I was ready to sell the bike and stop motorcycling for good.”

from “On Motorcycles” by Frederick Seidel