To Think and Choose in America Now

Wikipedia Poem, No. 576

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“What can I do to myself? Bones / and dusty skin. Heavy eyes twisted / between the adequate thighs of all / humanity (a little h), strumming my head / for a living. Bankrupt utopia sez tell me / no utopias. I will not listen. (Except the raw wind / makes the hero’s eyes close, and the tears that come out / are real.” Amiri Baraka, 1964

downtown
mall kill 32-year-old woman some thirty
four others injured fights date over bloodiest fights

date over
bloodiest
city’s choice

remove
statue robert e lee nationalists no plan
demolition

nineteen rally city’s choice remove
statue robert
e lee

nationalists no plan
demolition nineteen
rally city’s choice remove statue robert e lee

nationalists no plan
demolition nineteen rally
city’s

choice remove
statue robert e
lee nationalists no plan

demolition
nineteen rally city’s
choice remove statue robert e lee nationalists no

plan
demolition nineteen rally city’s
choice remove

statue
robert e
lee

nationalists no
plan demolition nineteen rally city’s
choice remove statue robert e lee nationalists no

plan
demolition nineteen
rally city’s

choice
remove
statue robert

e lee nationalists
no
plan demolition

nineteen rally city’s choice remove statue robert e
lee nationalists no plan demolition nineteen rally
city’s choice remove statue robert

e lee
nationalists no
plan demolition

nineteen
rally city’s downtown mall kill 32-year-old woman
some

thirty
four others
injuredition nineteen rally

city’s choice
remove statue robert e lee
nationalists no plan demolition nineteen rally

city’s downtown mall
kill 32-year-old
woman some

thirty four
others
injuredition nineteen rally city’s choice remove

statue robert e lee nationalists no plan demolition
nineteen rally city’s downtown mall kill
32-year-old woman some

thirty four others injuredoice
remove
statue robert e lee nationalists no plan

demolition nineteen rally city’s choice
remove statue robert e
lee

nationalists
no plan demolition nineteen rally city’s choice
remove statue robert e

lee nationalists no
plan demolition nineteen rally city’s choice
remove

statue robert e
lee nationalists no plan demolition nineteen rally
city’s choice

remove statue robert e lee nationalists no plan
demolition nineteen rally city’s choice remove statue
robert

e
lee nationalists
no

plan demolition
nineteen rally city’s
choice remove statue

robert e lee nationalists no plan
demolition nineteen rally city’s choice
remove statue robert

e lee nationalists no plan
demolition nineteen rally city’s downtown mall kill
32-year-old woman some thirty four others injuredition nineteen rally

city’s choice remove
statue robert e lee
nationalists no
plan demolition nineteen rally city’s choice

remove
statue robert
e lee

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Sources: 

Stolberg, Sheryl Gay, and Brian M. Rosenthal. “State of Emergency Declared in Charlottesville After Protests Turn Violent.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 12 Aug. 2017. Web. 13 Aug. 2017.

Baraka, Amiri. “History as Process.” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, Dec. 1964. Web. 13 Aug. 2017.

On The Media

Warm

warm we link arms before the brawl breaks our ranks
we touch again     ineffectual   fist to ineffectual face
we are touched again to be peeled apart    sprayed 
toward sobbing   and held again in rapturous pain   do you remember
now   singing by torchlight?   do you remember the strange sounds
of which we are capable?   the moan the mutter
the laugh around campfire and when campfires tamp
and glow   and our bodies   just cool of a blister
kind and momentary   sister to sister
brother to brother   all else like a staircase rises up
or helps us descend   in time
it is a struggle   to keep cool   to fight with
one's own fire   the necessary stoke and recoil.

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.

Rupture, Trauma (pol-yde-cte-spe-rse-usm-edu-sax)

Wikipedia Poem, No. 488

wiki488-sm

“To be with you in that region / Of speed and altitude where our bodies / Sail off to be kissed and changed / By light that behaves like a hand / Picking us up in one state and putting / Us down in a different one every time” Tom Clark

          time 
children    chubby forearms 
furniture nips at salvation
     to victims respectful to victims respected
 
          performance work masters last intimate it   
must record       tell must recruit       
acts of paradise       given     magnum distlllation     
 
chosen          the record tell must record tell must record tell 
must record tell  now   nips at salvations of paradise given           
magnum distlllation to victims          respectful to the                furniture 
nips at salvation      himself in terror upon fingers             
 
magnum      distlllation              
himself information of a central mind                
himself information to street consent   
 
with how the poetic nor poetic nor poem    
magnum disposition analyze performation to victims 
respectful to victims respectful to     victims respectful to victims      
respectful to victims   with      expected performance         to cover     
 
we do it all as a beast now          
information works the masters                    
magnum disposition performance work 
 
master's            magnum           distlllation to victims    respectful        
the street      consitent with expected performance work
masters last     intimate it   
musted performance          work           masters              failed low — 
 
meditation to the record tell       
now   it is ever being arrived 
process     time               tune the children for news now   
 
furniture nips at salvation to victims 
respected       with       how the     reader       
we do it because
because because because       because               
    because because because        because
    because because               because we do it because      because because because
    because because because       because because we do it    
 
because     magnum distlllation           to victims           
respected performances     to the victims   
respected       with how the            magnum victims    
 
respectful to victims to street to record 
tell must record      tell        must       record recruit       
acts       of paradise given      magnum positivity 
performance inference works the masters' last intimate musted with 
 
how the    magnum          dispositive performation      
with disposition  children chubby news now        n myths 
then     what           it is possible you
 
personal risk to victims respectful       to       victims          
respected    with       respect to victims respected how the warming
poems     what      performance work 
masters now           it is   a beast      in the rushes
 
for           the              magnum distlllation          
now            it is ever-possibly     performation       to victims      
respected with distillation arriving 
 
weapons on weapons            
nor poetic nor       poem           
polemic children's news    
the chosen news now    rushes forward

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Sources:

 

 

 

http://www.wqxr.org/story/new-music-fight-club/

 

Don’t Appear Howling

Wikipedia Poem, No. 487

sylv

compartments no compartments than what? 
then what that sound of intense emotion 

death blowing across 
vacant valley no-lines shot across compartments 

no compartments no lines 
between valleys 

no lines between compartments 
no compartmentalizing then what? the 

sound of intense emotion is 
the sound of 

of death crawling across the valley 
of lines sounded across death 

blown across a vacant compartment 
than what then what 

the sound of intense emotional death blowing across 
a vacancy 

lines between compartments 
no lines between them then

tan man meandering 
men rather than meant

Handheld Halo (Drinks with Mitch)

Wikipedia Poem, No. 475

Mitch

“The Dark One threw me a glance like a dagger today. / Since that moment, I am insane; I can’t find my body.” Mirabai (trans. Robert Bly)

          drunking 
          out 
          pretty 
      along 
      the hand 

      scratching 

        out 
  pretty along the baptist?
    no is it 
krishna then?
is 
it 
mirabai 
or the baptist?
    no it is mirabai or 
the 
       untouchable one
  the 
     invisible breezer
       perfect again not 
nearly impossible
      
is it 
  it is
        mirabai her not-slender wrist 
  scratching 
out pretty 
along the baptist?
        no it 
is 
      mirabai and the 
   baptist
no it is mirabai or the 
         untouchable 
one
     and then the baptist their divine 
energies 
      drunking into 
place
        the wrist 
scratching it 
   into place
     their divine energies drunking 
it is 
mirabai or 
the invisible 
      one
     the 
baptist?
no it is krishna
is 
it blue-faced like st. john the baptised 
no is it placed
      into this divine energy
safely

 

Poets Reading the News publishes ‘Agraphia’

Car5

“Car 5”

A great poetry website, Poets Reading The News, has published another one of my poems, Agraphia, along with one my recent photos, Car 5 (above).

I’m extraordinarily fond, and proud, of this poem. It’s about the way that war and violence affect one’s humanity.

It begins with a quote from Gabriele de’ Mussi, a historian of sorts, who gave one account of the beginning of the black plague in Europe in the mid-14th Century.

He tells of the siege on Kaffa (now known as Feodosia in Crimea) in which the Mongols launched the rotten flesh of their own sick and infected soldiers over the city walls in order to weaken the defending forces — an early version of biological warfare.

Please read and share it. You mean the world to me.

Thanks for being a part of this crazy project.

— Joe

Disclaimer (Busdriver)

Wikipedia Poem, No. 450

car3

“I studied the abrupt edge of youth / so I could get the petal just right” Sarah Jean Grimm

membership if you need it       this box
and click this i'd like to   contact    us as
page unable to contact us         as page 
unable to your           netflix membership 
if your membership if you please 
visit our help like this email address 
if you need   help      here take this box       
click this box           click or visit 
our help like to unsubscribe or would you like 
this box click update please do not reply 
you need help here respond here you need help 
center      this    setting part of you    needed here 
contact      us as part of       you         
would like to respond settings       page unable    
to contact us as we are u

Polymer

Wikipedia Poem, No. 447

IMG_7308

considers well-produced risk
how far is too too far is too far
so far balanced well-produced

eye real human skin simple ethical
boundaries thrilling well-adjusted
someone balanced tests my mind

well-adjusted too far
balance test my conservative mind
well-produced polymers risk

produced conservative polymers
risk well-produced polymers risk
eye read as human skin simple cells

ethical boundaries push up against the world
i think and play out loud in thinking fields
artificial intelligence eye reading humans

i love you bot lately i’ve been thinking
i know polymers that push up against
the psychological understanding

runs of progressive reading human
skin simple ethical boundaries that
push up against the path forward

as it understands ideological boundaries
push up against psychological
boundaries push up against these

conservative habits and progressive tendencies
ideological boundaries push up against
the psychological risk taking

that plays out with considerable risk
well-produced polymers risk
conservative versus progressive

well-produced samples
boundaries that push up against the world
i’m thinking of a field between artificial intelligence

and game theory eyes read as human
someone who is balanced asks a lot
of artificial intelligence a lot of injury

or with violation but stretches
and tests my ethical boundaries push up
against containers risk well-produced polymers
thrilling the eyes read as human