Friday, January 09, 2009
"...By altering, remixing, or randomly arranging elements of text (the metaphors, the syntax, the very value of the words), we draw attention to the role that language plays in the communication of meaning and the representation of realities. Mastery of language involves not only having a good vocabulary, but having an understanding of where our words come from (not where historically, but where within us) and how they resonate for us. Thus the value of knocking words out of their "natural" contexts.
Are we masters or slaves of our language? Is it the function of poets to exploit the "magical" powers of language, while at the same time seeking ways to liberate themselves and others from those same powers? Is a poet a magician, pulling marvelous things out of thin air, and then showing an enchanted audience the clever means whereby they had been tricked? Well certainly not all poets function this way. (...).
There are many models of the human mind, and many theories about the origin, function, and acquisition of language. There are many scientific, metaphysical, and philosophical rationales for the existence and purpose of human life and consciousness. Regardless of which of these things you have adopted, it is indisputable that language has been essential to our efforts to understand ourselves and the realities we encounter in everyday life. Everything that matters to us comes from language. Our myths, our religions, even the little lies we tell ourselves to make existence less frightening and meaningless.
In poetry, the pragmatic function of language as a pure medium of social communication breaks down. In poetry, words are chopped up, blended, fermented, distilled, and new meanings, new messages, new magics emerge. In the beginning was the word, right? The word is the domain of the divine, and a master of words is a master of the creation of reality, and the one who makes dreams and illusions manifest before the eyes of all."
--Part of an old poetry manifesto I was party to the authorship of, back in March of '01. This philosophy still informs my attitudes about writing though, so I reprint it here as much for your benefit as my own, to keep these things in mind.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
In the place of sighs and silver storm clouds,
The future is assaulted by prisoners of life.
What I try hiding in my heart is birds.
We trust, we tumble, time comes from a dream.
And I have preserved the way to hide
My birds of time, their ashen eyes in shadows.
Thus do we reinvent the laws of sleep,
Of marching tales to the foreign wonder,
And only recently do we describe the bright faces
In the dance.
Well, we do divulge. We dream the darkest breezes,
And eye the tales of hiding, of laughing shadows.
Everything isn't at once the beautiful,
It is the rehearsal of snow on glass beaches,
The dance isn't a scarce individual,
The dance sees the mind is all moments,
The dance knows that on water,
I do not want your face.
Birds easily fear
The children in the abyss,
In gloomy fury lingering for dusk.
Whole movements in the mind
Disperse acting in the universe,
Sleep ends, dreaming begins.
Guarding the doorway of rustles,
cotton plants under gray desire.
Summer morning air kissing,
Two women squat, pissing by her smoke.
Innocently drinking a week of inedia,
The round eyes lay burning in the dusk.
Prawns flow across the palm,
Constrained by throat-burning fluids,
Wondrously attired in fingers.
Dusk in the morning.
The first agressive rush of secret books,
The beach retreats from kisses merry,
But likes best
When filled with shadowy pleasures.
Her head filled,
Paints in a studio,
Scratchy recording kissing,
A ritual, a pause.
We who pass see her,
Naught else, but know what's buried
A few feet away.
Dying animal makes clarity,
A handful of bright past.
Hiking 18 miles,
Play ritual upon a beach.
Walking home, one might flee
Even if strong.
Strong, my skin on a stick,
She leads the procession
Through a restaurant kitchen,
To chests of women, where my hands are taken.
Women empty of shadows
Rise in black smoke
As wings drag on water.
What to the south wind
Is contingent like ferns in April.
Roots, sea nettles in a crowded nightclub,
Gaze chisels of sleepy lust
In a nearby parking lot,
Beachcombing in the dying light,
Animals make eyes pressing ice.
Ice, waking from sand
Consisting of tiny periwinkle rain-soaked asphalt,
Somehow to hide my water
That I save for the mellow dark children.
Heat lightning toy,
abandoned in an apartment.
The sun rises on reason.
Hounds dine on salvaged tarantulas,
unheeding the unfair and unforgiving wind
as it irrigates with dust the furrows.
Toreros on stilts knuckle down to coexist.
With salvaged dust,
the unforgiving tarantulas furrow the hounds.
Unheeding winds dine.
Prolong the arson indirectly.
Unfair winds salvage the unheeding hounds,
as tarantulas dine in the furrows.
Hunching, the warblers herald.
A ferocious victorian fancier
lacerates bistro shrimps,
But sometimes generators sheild
as a cartel of adjoined surgeons
regulate bothersome talking.
How mellow the fuchsias, ah!
The fittest classical blasting
overlays coherent cynicism.
Oh how we middlebrow knuckleheads
endorse the labyrinth,
permitting approaching unfairness.
Cremators lack the right impression.
With their striding brocades they dissatisfy,
Leviathan paymasters permit acoustic moping
because timidity sheilds the fleet.
Larval emendations bewitch us you know,
as the civilized languish
vultures stoop in thoughtful vigils.
Arson is endorsed tentatively.
Egress disturbed, the disfigured regal,
replanting stuffed adjectives
to make cartoons of lifeless polemic.
ever saner disfigurement.
Vigilance defrays the cost of replanting,
gamey like warblers,
Quotations embroidered with dust,
unfair psychotic shrieks,
shoelaces of showplaces
the telltale spreadable frosting.
Redecorate the scent of greyhounds,
joined in lifelike plumpness,
yet notched on the windward side.
Pour one out for victory,
pour one for warblers,
The sky is monochrome.
Heavy and the moon is much.
Suffice it to watch the party
where seals seem to stretch
tomorrow, sticked by both hands.
Enjoy the old,
it's in the words "Follow the Moon."
You are likely to be doing
anything but being carried by horrors.
Why don't I like the road?
Because I am wondering when the word
is most likely to step
around the energy of us and make a party.
In the old it's the weather,
best of the energy of the beaches.
In California where seals seem to
watch the host of the house,
is a thousand dreams
guaranteed for the pot-laced men.
I am wondering,
when was the road doing anything else
but laying in your deliciousness?
Monastic stuffiness dusts labyrinths
executed in disatisfied luminosity.
A cartoon Icarus clutters the balcony.
Depleted Uranium punch in the bistro,
self-executing Icarus trumpets
middlebrow innovations. Ouch a canker.
Pinprick of greyhounds in the ashtray,
we palpate spreadable measurements,
mindful only of spatterwax descending.
An indigo solvent fast approaches,
each drop a city of green life, multi-legged.
Mutilated, down left aloft, spatterwax.
A cartoon Icarus sings in bubbles.
Never thought I want
The infinite to dream
A heavy casualty of the future
And your hands know
That I write the dance
Without the colors of the sky
At least it's the snow of pilgrims
And its fingers and the foreign sunsets
Your movements are in my head
Crowding the world to sleep
What happened is this moment is dirt
In their shoes to go and in my head
I am born and the future
Or a refracting through a few days ago
A film trailer to stone the dead
How that feeling of ashes
Time is the snakes in a snow
Will be there with sunsets for me
The sky would have a tale
To separate the writers writing this convoy of flame
On wings of sands
The wind, the city, secret faces
The situation carries frosty shadows
The fog lingers until the same phrase
The combustion of the good people
Crowded world ended a snow
To please the future
This, now, a diamond, the city