Friday, May 01, 2009

Day 5

San Francisco
(taking from Helga)
looks new out
warm and rain

I am too
literal here
wouldn't describe

warm sound
just more
than drizzle
just wetter

I give my old bus pass
to a man in old clothes
I read something
once, he says - Altas Shrugged

Monday, March 30, 2009

Day Four

Wanting it all
like these days
as close

to summer as
this city comes

thinking in

Morgens klopft die Nebelkrähe
unsere schmutzigen
Teller ab

Friday, March 27, 2009

Day Three

There I was minding
my own business
and maybe some of
yours when morning
hit waking us thoroughly

I now allow
the alarm
to run too long

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Day Two

That was
a linguistic

you sank
a seed a feather
my own forgetting

editing the contents
finding you too
all of that

and the trees
really are bursting
a rash of buds

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day One

Fragile as fur and
now the last
this was the last

that is nowhere
apple as perfume as silt and water
fruit as bare skinned

so much gone
the pluses and minuses
even that

new growth leafing out
a potential fragrance

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

On Aimé Césaire

Too often writers who have no such claim on the quality are hailed as daring, risky, while consequently the reading public (us) seeks out those ugliest of inanities believing ourselves daring for reading them. Thus we continue to stoke our bankrupt culture and it stokes us and we and everyone around us and the earth devolve exponentially. But in Césaire I find a writer who deserves to be called daring. Not for his politics, or his fearlessness about speaking them, though I admire him for both. Also not for his poetics, exactly, and all that they entail, though those too push against the boundaries of what we deem poetry may do. What is daring about Aimé Césaire, or at least of Return to my Native Land, is that he risks beauty. While speaking confusion, and frustration, and emptiness, and anger, the poem is unabashedly lyric and this is truly dangerous. By making the other beautiful, we risk exoticizing and/or, as my spell check suggests: eroticizing. We risk whitewashing our politics or worse – elevating the common or non-privileged experience to a position of poetic authority that it does not often posses.

But Césaire does neither. Unlike the later Eden, Eden, Eden, which shares with it the passionate commitment to expose the brutality of colonialism, colonial regimes, colonial wars, but which, for all its microscopic intensity, lacks intimacy, Return to my Native Land is both startling and moving. We see a peasant woman “urinating on her feet, stiff legs apart;” a suicide who “abetted by his epiglottis killed himself by rolling back his tongue to swallow it;” and churchgoers on Christmas where “Not only the mouths are singing, hands too, feet, buttocks, genitals, the whole fellow creature flowing in sound, voice and rhythm.” In Return to my Native Land we are not observers, as Aimé Césaire never is. We are painfully and ecstatically present and – like every participant, both welcomed and implicated.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


At what point did matter, when we reached out, not reach back through the void of function to that more powerful, inevitable, identity: form equal to form, material self a signature. Soap, urine, snowflake.

On words, we speak of their materiality. As if the ephemeral and purely conceptual construct language could be made concrete with a noun. But a material language might as easily be equated with function (Wittgenstein) as with a tautological self-identity: I am, therefore I am.

When we speak a thing into existence, as with magic or divine decree (let there be light), we align ourselves with an inherent possibility within language to be the thing it expresses, a thing, moreover, whose form it only borrows. When we regard language, on the other hand, in terms of its “atomic” materiality, i.e., as a set of phonemes, we restrict ourselves to an analysis of identity and difference that quickly tires.

Manuel DeLanda speaks of matter in terms of its energy potential for expressivity, places art at the crossroads between material self-identity and style. But words, lacking the physical materiality we may wish to assign to them, would seem also to lack the concomitant potential for expressivity.

Herein lies the hopelessness and pull of poetry – to “make the stony, stony,” to harness the expressivity of matter, in service of the tragically immaterial, language.