Our Point of View

Wikipedia Poem, No. 607

   i meant to say something nice 
about you

say social justice warrior like it's a 
bad thing 
     nice about you one cannot stop no 
matter the temperature

   i meant to say something nice 
about you

        to you skin           is 
the 
      perfect procedure 
i          meant to say 
something nice 
the opposite of poet laureate 

   i meant to say something nice 
about you

let's       not stop      now
     halfway though the 
      gods know 
a bad thing 
   an efficient thing 
about 
       you 
i was wrong 
about your cool spots

   i meant to say something nice 
about you

  you 
did not stop 
the procedure i meant to engage with
your totalitarian layer i 
  meant 
to say salt isn't enough   
i meant to say salt

Writing Advice: “Eschew rationality, meaning and ‘good taste’.”

roybattyex

If you find yourself unable to write, don’t write. Play with your words.

Here’s a great unplanted seed for a writing exercise: Go to your favorite website and find an article that contains a not negligible amount of text. Highlight a paragraph and the copy it to your clipboard.

I’ll do this with you. I’m going to nytimes.com. BRB:

Sunayana Dumala tried once again to enter the worship room she and her husband, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, had created in their home for daily prayers. Mr. Kuchibhotla had built an intricate wooden shrine by hand two years ago, a small sacred edifice where they would kneel each morning. Months after his death, it became a place where she would honor him.

OK, so I have my text.

Now pick a number. (I chose 3.) Go into the text an erase every X word. It’s SORT OF an arduous task, but at least your brain is spending time with the words and their meanings and connections. Then, I’m going to get rid of all the punctuation and make every letter lowercase. BRB:

sunayana dumala once again enter the room she her husband kuchibhotla had in their for daily mr kuchibhotla built an wooden shrine hand two ago a sacred edifice they would each morning after his it became place where she honor him

Now invent a form based on numbers and letters that have significance to you. If you have tarot cards they can be helpful in this step. I’ll do that. King of Coins. That features a pentagram in this deck. Five lines per stanza. The card I’ve pulled in this deck features a self-portrait of Dali restraining a leashed leopard. There’s also a gentle, prone cow in a yellow fog blowing up and out of Dali’s head. That makes me think of a certain hunter/hunted duality. A certain predictable unevenness.

I’m going to alternate my line length 5, 10, 5, 10, 5. This kind of stuff is dumb, for sure, but it just gets your brain going.

sunayana duma
la once again enter the room she 
her husband kuchi
bhotla had in their for daily mr kuchi
bhotla built an wood 

en shrine hand two a
go a sacred edifice they would each 
morning after his 
it became place where she honor him sun
ayana duma

Now move the lines around in any way you see fit. Let go of all the rules. Do something that you don’t understand. Translate some words and phrases into Italian.

la once again enter the camera she 
bhotla had in their for quotidiano mr kuchi
go a sacro altare they would each 
it became place where onora il sole

sunayana duma
her husband kuchi
bhotla built an wood 
morning after his 
ayana duma
en shrine dare due lettere

Play with it some more. Trim off the fatty, hard-to-chew bits. Smell what the rock is cooking. Don’t question yourself. Find ways to make new phrases, invent new tastes. Create meaning where there was none. Skewer meaning where there was some. Boil down all the excess, tasteless liquid. Make the phrases economic. This is for your ears and heart only, no one else’s.

la once again enters the camera she 
had in their for quotidiano mr kuchi
a sacro altare they would each 
upon it became place onora il sole

sun burnt her enemies
just as her husband mr kuchi
built a wooden mooring 
the morning after his 
second skin graft parchment
enshrined dare due lettere

That’s it. Eschew rationality, meaning and “good taste”. Don’t worry about judgment, neither from outside nor within. The exercise is just meant to get your brain good and juicy. To force you to conceptualize in weird corners of consciousness. Make the process your own. Don’t listen to teachers. Unless they’re good teachers.

When your engine is warm and you’re ready to write that big important thing that comes from someplace personal and genuine and urgent, your mind will be nimble, flexible, willing to go where it needs to go to put heart to mouth.

Wikipedia Poem, No. 136

neworleans

“The minority groups in present-day industrial society who shout for freedom and human dignity are really clumsily asking that they be given a sense of primary heroism of which they have been cheated historically.” Ernest Becker

 

Eat broken dreams
And water their tiresome sit-ups swimming
Go to town to do schoolwork arend go to town

For umbrellas of Scotch for 5 p.m. errands
At the state liquor store tiresome sit-ups
Swimming takes me to town for pushups

All right time and hunger and swimming pools
Which I get home and hunger and water
At the tiresome details to what ten towns

Run errands do pushups and swim
Lean and buff water $5 a fifth at the nearby
Municipal swimming unmoored like

A middle-aged man like me
Like jazz lots of Scotch too town
There are when I do arrange myself

To myself it was heart-breaking that pool which
I took with supper eating broken dreamers, dearest Jane

 


Sources: 

Simons, Seth. “From Winston Churchill to Tim Cook: 
      The Sleep Routines of 7 Brilliant Minds.” Van Winkle’s. 
      Casper, 17 Feb. 2016. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.

“Love.” Dir. Dean Holland. Netflix. 19 Feb. 2016. Streaming video.

Becker, Ernest. The Denial of Death. New York: Free Press, 1973. Print.

Arnaut Blowing Smoke at the Nose of His Dog

image1

The Fourth Night of the Fifth Year

Stop reading: Things have gotten tense 
Between the Farmer and the Bodybuilder
The Farmer locked in the barn. Jed wakes
The largest rooster, which, in turn, interrupts
His old, bitch mother’s wild dream. Night
After night drunk as if pulled through a kaleidoscope
Basal carcinoma breeches its surface 
A mighty flip for the almighty then back — BACK
Through the airlock. It’s silent here amongst no chicks
Which switch as though ejaculated. Standing nude, monolithic
In the sun, the Farmer forced to clean up after the Bodybuilder.
Stars drip from the padlock lovely beneath the latch.
I can see you, Jed.

The Sixth Night of the Fourth Year

You can continue to stop reading: Things ain’t well
Between the Farmer and the Bodybuilder 
The Farmer has kept in the big, red barn
And Milk, who, it is written, 
Whether or not anyone reads, has continued to 
Dream prodigiously like a pig eating its own shit 
The Caesar wears like a pendant. Butchering’s 50 percent 
What isn’t written, she always said, and that is to say: 
Milk’s lunches have gotten slim.
Less meat landing at the padlock, less meat on the Farmer.
One man opening his hand toward another
Will take something for memory. Jed takes
But won’t remember.

The Eighth Night of the Third Year

You mustn’t read on: Mother is dead
Under a blanket dancing all of her little ones
Their loudest cottons torn along floorboards
Dancing through the eye of a needle.
No mountain passes but saying—oh—saying there are 
Mountain passes cut and in between
Remind me: The Farmer and the Bodybuilder
The Farmer locked in the big, red, burning barn
So many years ago, still, are cocooned back-to-back and hung
From the bark of the Alamo tree. I, the poet, sing to them every night
After night drunk as if pulled through a kaleidoscope
Hoping you will love.

Braille Poem No. 1 [draft 12292013]

the ring finger
the palm
ring finger
the palm

preoccupied
father again
wonder again
another
chalice-full of vinegar

strapped to this cluttered table
again
Charles Olson                               again
pinot noir                                     again
sony                                            again
starbucks                                     again
menu and ravenous tin
the New York Times                      again

exclude burning past lives
holding the hand of wonder            again
pushed into the street                    again
ring finger, palm
palm, ring finger, palm
suddenly with such speed.         morning again.

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