Category: Poetry

Human Decency

has always been
a myth you are not
the party surgical mask
of blood it’s a beer
show I think it’s wonderful

 

would it be vaguely fair
to say I like her voice but don’t
really care about
the person itself?

On Sunday, They Rode Off

After promising her nothing he comes close to touching her hand for emphasis for empathy. There are several reasons for this phenomenon: Mass impoverishment, mass unemployment, hyper-inflation, hyper-populism. The virtue of learning and acquiring knowledge by ordinary means is in its worry and disappointment. St. Patrick, in the act of sending the serpents into the sea, is Damballah, the great serpent deity – since there are serpents in the picture. Come and expel all evil and danger from us both now and forever. The floor below us lies in ruins.

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Deservedly

A poem in collaboration with the Motorola Droid Turbo 2

 

Worthlessness everywhere;
expressional reservation.
Torchbearers, youngsters: tone-deaf.
Foolhardily reversible tobacconists rarefied insidiousness.
Inclusiveness & creditability: extern teenyboppers, yourselves.
(Requisitioned statement.)

Aluminizing toucan engineered associateship.
Zero-rated introductory fighter-bombers onboard abandonments.
Thematically, currently flexibility –
availability –
invulnerability – balancedness.
Interested, nonsensical forklifts?

Preserver undecorated.
(Ancestrally anecdotic disclaimer.)

 

–––––––––––––––––––––

Poet’s Statement: I purchased my first smartphone in May of 2016 at the age of 26. Before that it was flip-phones all the way down to seventh grade.  It has been a learning experience. (Meaning the smartphone.)

Today, I tried to teach myself how to use the predictive text Swype keyboard – the one where you never lift your finger from the screen except to separate words. At first, I didn’t know that you had to lift your finger to separate words. I thought you just slid your finger to the spacebar. This resulted in all sorts of surprising errors. (I.e., I tried to type “Dear Francesca,” and it came out as “Desecrated.”)

Eventually, I picked up on the “lift finger, new word” function. But not without realizing that purposely abusing the Swype keyboard could result in some wild technopoetry.

I ran the text of a credit card offer through the Swype keyboard using the purposely abusive method. In practice, that meant trying to type two or three words in one go, sans finger-lift. The result is the text you see above. I added line breaks and punctuation to the raw text (and an ampersand, but I’m counting that as punctuation because it is a non-alphanumeric symbol) in an attempt to draw out as much semantic meaning as possible while leaving the poetic meaning intact.

I think it is important to note that the poem was the result of misusing  the Swype keyboard. Technology drives ceaselessly toward increased efficiency. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but a totally efficient life is my least favorite kind of life. I wanted to show my smartphone the thrill of an inefficient life. So much the better that my smartphone learned how to write poetry in the process. After all, the words I ended up with were generated by the Swype software’s predictive text and error-correcting functionalities; I only spurred it to act, the way everyday occurrences spur poets to act. On these grounds, I’d argue that the Motorola Droid Turbo 2 deserves at least coauthor status. Or maybe it’s the author and I’m its editor.

There are a few serendipitous instances where the commercial-financial language of the credit card offer was transformed by the phone into gnomic criticism (?) of the financial-industrial complex (e.g.,  “Zero-rated introductory fighter-bombers onboard abandonments”; “Foolhardily reversible tobacconists rarefied insidiousness”). I can only hope this means that when my phone eventually gains sentience, it, too, will be a Marxist.

Finally, here’s the original text, if you’re interested:

Credit Card

 

Ulcer

Ulcer

I’m trying to venture further and further away from the lefthand margin, because I’ve been hanging out there my whole life. I was also inspired by a workshop with Jeff T. Johnson to explore the page in more nontraditional ways. I highly encourage everyone to check out Johnson’s “Letters From the Archiverse,” a stunning poem rendered in AutoCAD.

“Ulcer” is the first poem I’ve ever composed in InDesign, as opposed to a word processor. As such, it represents the beginning of series of experiments. Further installments will come as I learn the ins and outs of InDesign.

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday is a sound poem/sound art/noise project I am embarking on. I have one piece so far: a conceptual poem called “A Pretty Boy Is a Handsome Woman,” which I made by combining excerpts from a military manual on the proper way to bake oatmeal cookies and chocolate-covered brownies with a recording of myself, my wife, and my sister-in-law making pad thai together.

Automatic Writings From the Back of a Paystub

I do ache for a societal consensus of the good
a very good continental philosopher
in the manner of a madman, daft and pained as Nietszche
Hitlerian ubermensch of the sixth mass extinction event.

Something in me always succumbing to Poe’s Law:
red lips ringed in red lipstick,
wanting to be the thing I find hilarious.

*
Absolute manifestation of spaghetti;
denim shorts terminating beyond the knees.

*
Never knowing how to be a séance unto myself.

*
Blown-speakers of teenage personhood;
a shriek of despair behind the steering column
and the leftovers secreted in the glove compartment.

*
Sometimes they build rosaries like this:
six or seven death threats against myself in an hour.

I had forgotten that non-smokers are invincible.

*
You there, in the wild blue push-up bra,
you have heteronormalized me inexplicably,
the way a cat fills a room with people.

Not so much through fault but by occasion.

*
In the mad quest for sense you have made the dumb eloquent.
Yes, the ceiling is not responsible for holding us,
but what are ceilings if not irresponsible?

*
Left stranded on the desert island of desire,
everything grows green with envy – tropical palms, the coconut a kind of fruit.