July 31, 2016
New York City Poetry Festival
Governor’s Island, NYC
July 31, 2016
New York City Poetry Festival
Governor’s Island, NYC
Be cheap and submersible / watched over by clicking,
stuttering, frantic kissing
The stars align
The Long Count Calendar runs out of pages, a man appears
and gives a piece of string to whoever made it all happen
Directions on what to do when you serve as an acolyte during worship services:
snap on the left shoulder, the internal string at the waist
the external snaps on the right shoulder
Make sure it slides and moves the wick in and out
a red posturing
Then she grabs her keys and makes her way out
I’m talking about real, deep sleep, the kind you get on the weekends
a few knots here and there
the stuff we make up, the ways in which we are irritated but do not react
the clear vision of something uniquely ours
except in someone else’s mouth
Usually sheep or goat intestines are used
and then smoothed and equalized by drawing out
Next the prepared gut strands are twisted together to make
a small line by itself
It will sweep out
The body is made of two arched plates fastened to a “garland” of ribs
If you never learned to make a Jacob’s Ladder string figure, it’s not too late
This is your search history
I’m not using capital letters here
or contraceptives, or personal lubricants
There is the annoyance of constant accessibility
some mystic sense where a word writes itself on your dashboard
There are common quantitative metrics
you know: gender; age; bounce rate
Maybe you’ll be protected by anti-virus software, or your neglect
Maybe you’ve seen the photo below of me rocking my wine colored skinny pants
Her predictions directly contradict his experimental findings
these fine tunings built into her tailpiece
Her acolytes never predicted dark energy
never let an excited string slacken
Just when you think you can relax and let your diabolical plan play out
the concept of killing another person willingly was held under a microscope
under string lights & light curtains & battery operated strands
Tips for Novices, Acolytes, and Gurus:
I am not asking you to decrypt
floralytes by acolyte, flower strings, blossom branches and more
Wholesale Acolyte submersible LED Floralytes light up flowers in water
Buy the LED party light, submersible floralytes at discount price
No, I’m not talking about the “ruling over your minions” kind of power
I’m talking about the kind created by electricity
Power lights up the streets at night so you can see when you’re about to walk in gum
Maybe I’m just unable to explain myself properly
or these 100 round magazines
I’m not talking about:
taking the blame or the credit
nebulous pledges of “support”
or homemade costumes
I’m talking about make-or-break, tarnish-your-name-forever-should-you-break-them rules
I’m not talking about you picking a fight with a spider
but being a spectator of a fight between two spiders
If you are like me, you have probably never heard of spider fighting
at least, not as a spectator sport
Be cheap and submersible
watched over by clicking, stuttering, frantic kissing
This place was like a temple overseen by the slow, the solemn
who served an altar of coruscating blue light
No wonder his acolytes thought he was the messiah
with his strings of well-constructed fallacies in the form of lectured tirades sans objective
For a while I wasn’t on the Deftones train
It was just a nice place to keep our stuff
I’m talking about a comfortable bed and a warm place to sleep each night
next to the person we love
No, I’m Not Talking About Chicago
I’m talking about doses of forgetting
the deer in the yard as a constant rerun
I think Jesus would like better bands than you
I’m not talking about stasis necessarily
I’m not talking about
one couplet that’s really just an attempt to insult someone else’s masculinity
I’m talking about
an ENTIRE song devoted to the ovarian cycle—follicular phase through luteal phase
I’m talking about
the Rothschilds and the Kings and Queens and princesses all throughout the world
How much do they have? You don’t know, do you. And they aren’t on the Forbes list
I’m not talking about
the gap between the door and the door frame
although of course there’s a gap there too
but a gap between the actual door frame and the wall. Crazy.
The Acolytes Action Squad goes off on tangents from the plucked string of the opener
the short hip-hop interlude and the smattering of Hungry Ghosts
The Acolytes Action Squad seem to swim in much murkier rivers, recalling the meticulously deconstructed
They often attack the first movement like epic Beethoven
Lately, I’ve been praying a lot about what I’m supposed to be doing with my charisma
Now all of a sudden that follower-count feels a lot less important, right?
Marijuana does something to Christians that’s not good
and no, I’m not talking about a certain sexual maneuver
I didn’t think it was grammatically correct to put “shopping” and “stress” in the same sentence
We had a lovely trip to Mexico last year to see my obligatory sunset and palm tree in La Paz
Right now, the only thing on my mind
is how to successfully avoid the excessive seasonal shedding as much as humanly possible
I’m not talking about your normal, everyday shedding
No, what I speak of is the viscous
I’m not talking about lag, or the sustainability of expectations
I’m not talking about how to “activate a window by hovering over it”
We are relentless hunters, stalkers, and combat monsters
We had a ratio of 30:1 for our 22 billion slaves
Oh, sure, you can claim that we were being recruited for something else
but what would that be? Loading cargo? Writing novels? Playing professional sports?
Where do you think that strength and endurance was going to be funneled?
I’m not talking about anything so poetic as a trick of wording
that would release us from our service
What she had was what I can only describe as a rusty hook
It was a rusty hook hand, and it was incredibly creepy
Also, no one wanted to dance with her at the school
As she plucked a particular string, it seemed to upset her
Flunkies, priests, acolytes, and apprentices descended upon her
in multicolored splotches of paint, shaving cream and silly string
He was so grieved that he added a sixth string to express his sorrow
I wear a men’s G string, do you!
It’s all 100% true
A handy loop on this poem is included on the bottom
allowing you to anchor the lily using string or fishing line
This will keep the lilies where you want them in open bodies of water
There are ways of putting up peaches
I didn’t mean to call you that, I can’t remember
why my car is in the front yard and I am sleeping with my clothes on
Santana Lopez bent at the waist and tugged at the lace on her right skate
It broke. “Motherfuck,” she grumbled
You do not scare me at all with your very loud voice and the way you grabbed my…
Even your answers are missing, so please stop
Republicans hate the United Nations more than they like helping people in wheelchairs
I commented on something in Russian on YouTube, and someone replied to me in Italian
I tried to translate
Please try again later
I’m going to get stigmatized negatively, and that’s ok
Your vocal chords, your cufflinks
There is no understanding. There is no motive. There is nothing
I had it done to me 4 times in a row by different people
I hunt in a capped zone
What kind of bird this is?
What kind of rock this is?
Can anyone tell me what kind of rock this is?
You don’t have to pay for it, carry it, guard it, or make room for it
But more importantly, where the fuck are his eyebrows?
You suffer from extreme and daily arrogance
Just look at this face, glowing demon eyes: you’re adorable
I would love to pinch your
structured investigative interviews
Can someone please tell me what I did wrong, IF I did indeed do anything wrong?
This is the equation: (4x/x-2) = x+ (8/x-2)
Tell me how this ends
The new pornographers explore the awesome world around them
and satisfy their curiosity with innovative games, activities, quizzes
They ask, am I bulletproof?
Invisible empires of products, fireflies and songs add to the beauty
Hi, Magic Closet, Tell Me What to Wear!
Tell me what to swallow
Welcome to September, and to Posit 11!
It is a special thrill to introduce the masterful poetry and prose Bernd and I have gathered for this issue. Not only has another summer come and gone, but we are in the last stages (if not throes) of an American election cycle in which the complacency of most notions of “normalcy” have been shattered, giving rise to an appropriately pervasive anxiety about the depth and scope of the humanly possible. In its own provocative and evocative ways, the work in this issue addresses that anxiety, and even musters some degree of optimism. For tragedy rendered inseparable from the beauty of its vehicle, consider the stark profundity of new work by Michael Palmer and Fady Joudah; the disturbing resonance of two parables by Marvin Shackelford and Eric Wilson; or the tender melancholy of verse by Jeffrey Jullich, Stephen Massimilla, and Simon Perchik. For an inspiring balance of critique and optimism, take a look at Sharon Mesmer’s tragic yet emancipatory tributes to undervalued women poets, Sheila Murphy’s inimitable and ineffable pull-no-punches constructs, Sharon Dolin’s disciplined frolics, ambitiously braiding tribute and lampoon, or Anne Gorrick’s high-octane mash-ups of web-commerce parlance examined and re-examined to reveal rich veins of resonance. And on the brighter side, bask in Felino Soriano’s linguistically untethered odes to transformation.
Whether you are absorbed by the anxiety of our historical moment or weary of its seep, I hope you’ll take some moments to explore:
the tightly packed wit and wisdom of Sharon Dolin’s allusive riffs on Conceptismo, W. C. Williams’ So Much Depends, Niedecker’s ‘condensery,’ and the fraudulence of linguistic obscurantism;
the looping logic of Anne Gorrick’s expansive assemblages, artistic antidotes to our day-to-day “doses of forgetting” the “fine tunings built into” these rocking, rollicking litanies in which “invisible empires of products, fireflies and songs add to the beauty;”
Fady Joudah’s profound and miraculous condensations, with their masterfully chiseled, spare, and haunting visions of oppression and its internalization (“Election Year Dream”) sanctuary in the face of damage (“Monastery”) and the devastation of love (“Coda: A Fragment”);
Jeffrey Jullich’s grimly beautiful constructs, evoking the hazard, sorrow, and insignificance of existence as revealed by the “metamorphosis of seraphim,” “Nostradamus contradictions,” and “a cloud/hung between my life—and life itself” in which “intelligence is only – a fraction – a niche for omniscience;”
the mystery and beauty of Stephen Massimilla’s chiseled lyrics, gesturing towards the elusive and tragic lightness of love, loss, and existence itself, in which “so many little masks (marks, tasks) / make a life” until one is reluctant “to come down from the lightfastness / of this insomnia high;”
Sharon Mesmer’s lyrical tributes to women poets of the Americas which, by “beating all sorrows/into beauty” themselves fulfill the determination to be “no mere witness/to inertia” by evoking, among other notions of liberation, the freedom of radical departure — in what her fans will recognize as a masterful departure from the pyrotechnical virtuosity of her signature Flarfian poetics;
Sheila E. Murphy’s confidently quiet, powerfully enigmatic new works evoking the intimacies of existence anchored by “the palpable act of witness, witnessing” in which “pounce marks levitate a posse / of connect points” in our appreciation of her bracing linguistic montage;
the incomparable music of Michael Palmer’s austere and profound masterpieces of compression, sternly confronting us with the tragedy and horror of a world — our world — in which a child is “set afire / before blindered eyes / a world’s eyes” and authors “lost at sea / in a storm of words” stand idly by as their “books consume . . . the fire”;
Simon Perchik’s moving lyrics of love, loss, and memory, gently guiding us to “listen / the way all marble is crushed” and witness how “inside each embrace // the first thunderclap and shrug / no longer dries”;
Marvin Shackelford’s haunting parable of shipwreck, survival, and friendship, with its “reversed exploration” of the great parable, Before the Law, replacing Kafka’s eternally-withheld judgment with rescue, but, gratifyingly, perhaps not redemption;
Felino Soriano’s “relocated” lyrics, as musical as they are disjunctive, enacting the generative power of the transformations of which they sing; “alters” “of improvised becoming” in which the day is “a dangle of marbled light, an / algebra of sun” for the reader to gratefully absorb;
and the disturbingly resonant infinite regress powering Eric G. Wilson’s “Bowl,” ruled by the labyrinthine, archetypal, Escher-esque logic of nightmares.
Thank you, as always, for reading!
Welcome to the visual art of Posit 11!
Christopher Adams’ background in biology and science informs these environmental installations of ceramic sculpture. He creates small universes of hundreds of individual elements reminiscent of creatures from the biological world, as filtered through Adams’ imagination. Installed on walls painted in brilliant, deeply saturated colors, they seem to vibrate with energy, transporting us into another dimension.
Yura Adams works in a diverse vocabulary of forms united by her nuanced and thoughtful vision of the world. Based on both scientific and intuitive observation of the natural world, this work encompasses a lovely tension between loose drawing and complex patterning. Her use of rich and beautiful color reinforces this dynamic.
Kate Brown’s solidly painted compositions address one of the basic constructs of painting – the push and pull between positive and negative space. Using a carefully controlled palette of color, she has created an exploration of figure and ground that transcends the academic idea and emerges as glorious paintings. Big gestures are offset by architectural spaces. These works are luscious and bursting with energy.
In John Hundt’s hilarious and odd collage pieces, we see a world of biology and evolution gone strangely awry. Unlikely combinations of creatures are meticulously constructed from Hundt’s trove of imagery. Building upon the grand tradition of Surrealist collage, he has created a world of creatures found (hopefully) only in dreams.
With intricate and delicate etched lines, Renee Robbins explores the biology of the ocean. Her etchings, all based on actual creatures, evoke the undersea world caught in mid-motion. Her images are simultaneously scientific and dreamily ethereal. Rendered in softly psychedelic tones, they are like specimens on view through Robbins’ artistic microscope.
I hope you enjoy!