January 22, 1996

from DAYS
     Hank Lazer


loop     the moving
edge cut count
this & that kind of
cell     pure terror
in the medical signifying
numerical procession pro
jecting his decline
sung these days    son
the poem is what
you want    not i


as a function
of rain & gray sky
budget cuts stomach
ache debt a cousin's
cancer father's leukemia
a tradition apart from
which   she brings
a special energy
loving & destructive
what will you     what will you


pain abates
who's at bat
the sultan of
insulatin'   long swat
wind blowin' out to left
pitcher hung one
a knuckler that didn't jitter
buy me some peanuts & 
crackerjack     it's outta
here    a home run   i don't care if i never get back


   Jack Foley

     Experimental poets-are we not all / exiles?

 Mary Rudge has asked me to talk for ten minutes on "the current state of
poetry."  Ten minutes is of course scarcely enough time to do anything like
justice to such a subject, but I'll do what I can.  Poetry is not an absolute
entity.  It changes constantly.  What might have been a "poem" for someone in
the eighteenth century would perhaps be for us nothing but greeting-card
verse.  What is for us a "poem" would very likely be prose for someone living
in the eighteenth century.  There is always a wide range of what constitutes
"poetry," but the range by no means necessarily includes exactly the same
elements.  What is poetry now?

 In order to understand the current state of poetry it is necessary to go all
the way back to the beginning, and I will have to ask you to bear with me in
this sketchy historical excursion.   In the West the beginning of poetry is
represented by the figure of Homer.  Whatever the facts as to the "real"
existence of that legendary poet (or, as some argue, those legendary poets),
one aspect of Homer is very important.  Homer is always represented as being
blind.  This means that Homer was not, and could not have been, a writer.
 Though Homer's poems were later written down, Homer himself could not have
conceived of them in that way.  A blind person of Homer's time had no access
to reading or writing.  Braille had not yet been invented.  Nevertheless,
Homer was a poet and in fact the very symbol of the poet for the West.

 It may seem odd to us because we tend initially to encounter poetry in
books, but, at the beginning, poetry and writing were quite separate
activities.  Poetry begins as something rooted in physical presence and in
sounds.  The Greek word for poet simply means "maker," and the word can mean
the maker of anything?a table and chair, for instance.  The German word for
poet is closer to the truth of the Homeric figure.  It is Dichter, and it
goes back to the Latin dico, dicere, I speak, to speak.  The poet is someone
who speaks.  At its beginning, poetry is rooted in physical presence and in
sounds?particularly in the sounds of speech.

 Of course, poetry eventually gets written down, so it is perhaps pointless
to go on about its ancient history.  We want to talk about what poetry is
now.  Yet history is not something which happened "back then" and made a
difference for "those people" and not for us.  It is a living, active
presence which is constantly determining our attitudes, passions, and
beliefs.  Anyone who has read James Joyce's Ulysses or Ezra Pound's Cantos or
HD or Bertolt Brecht or J.R.R. Tolkien or Jack Kerouac knows that the
Twentieth Century is by no means finished with Homer.  We live in the most
literate of ages, an age which is flooded with books.  Yet much of modern
literature is haunted by the presence of a non-literate bard who spoke his
poems centuries ago.  The energy of the "Spoken Word" movement is nothing but
a (re)discovery of some of the energy of the Homeric figure.

 Many of the most memorable passages in Plato's works have to do with his
quarrel with Homer?with poetry.  This quarrel has many ramifications.  In The
Republic Plato has Socrates say, "We shall do as people who once were in love
with somebody, if they believe their love to be no good to them: they don't
want to give it up, but they must...we shall listen to [poetry] but while we
listen we will chant over to ourselves this argument of ours,...careful not
to fall again into that childish passion which the many have.  We will
listen,...knowing that we must not take poetry 

seriously...Great is the struggle, great indeed, not what men think it,
between good and evil."

 This "struggle" of Plato's was a struggle with the culture in which he found
himself?a culture which was, in his time, in a profound state of change.  In
his struggle, Plato was trying to align himself with the forces of the new,
and the new meant the opposite of everything Homer represented.  What Homer
represented was the culture of orality.  Socrates was never a writer.  Though
he spoke at great length and on many subjects, he never wrote anything down.
 Plato was Socrates' disciple and a member of the next generation.  Unlike
his mentor, Plato understood himself to be a writer.  We can see in the
figure of Plato the shift from an oral culture (Homer, poetry) to a writing
 To be sure, Plato wrote a famous dialogue, The Phaedrus, which is to some
extent an attack on writing.  This is hardly surprising.  At the very
beginning of writing, some of the limitations of the art were understood and
enunciated.  This becomes, however, knowledge which no one wants to know.
 The ability to read and write becomes the fundamental mode of access to our
culture.  As such, it receives a good press which would be the envy of any
politician.  After Plato's dialogue, very little is written about the
limitations of writing.

 There is a famous passage in the sixth Book of Saint Augustine's
Confessions, and it suggests something more about the culture of writing?the
culture in which we live.  St. Augustine is watching St. Ambrose in the act
of reading, and he notices something which is, to him, quite remarkable.
 "When [Ambrose] was reading," writes St. Augustine, "his eye glided over the
pages, and his heart searched out the sense, but his voice and tongue were at
rest."  Augustine sensed at that moment that a momentous change had come upon
the world.  Ambrose was reading without moving his lips and without making a
sound.  Unlike the Homeric "singer," he was not in the least "performing": he
was moving only his eyes.  Augustine suddenly understood that the "new"
consciousness was Christian, inward, and silent before the page.  Augustine's
"new" consciousness is also our consciousness.  We are taught to read like
Ambrose?without moving our lips and without making a sound.

 If I were to ask you to "read" a bit of sheet music for me, you might be
able to do it.  There are many people who can "read" music.  But there is no
one who would consider the art of music to be defined by the sheet of paper
on which the notes are written down.  Music is not merely understanding the
notes as they appear on the page.  Music involves sound, whether the sound of
the human voice (which is itself a multiple thing) or of instruments.
 Without sound music is incomplete.  The art of music is taken in with our

 The art of writing, however, for Ambrose and for us, is taken in with our
eyes.  Instead of remaining what it may have been initially, a notation for
speech as a musical score is a notation for sound, writing became instead an
art of silence.

 What is the status of poetry in a culture devoted to an art of silence?  "My
Song," wrote Shelley, quoting Dante, "I fear that thou wilt find but few /
Who fitly shall conceive thy reasoning" ("Epipsychidion").  Shelley is aware
that his poem will be printed.  He is aware that his work will be taken in by
the eye.  Yet he calls his work a "song."  This is often true in poetry.
 Despite the poet's awareness that the poem exists in a silent medium, the
poem is nevertheless called a "song"?not something taken in by the eye but by
the ear.  Shelley is conjuring up the oral past of poetry.  We are not
talking here about "the oral tradition" as opposed to "the written
tradition," as if the two existed side by side.  They have never existed side
by side.  In referring to his work as a "song," Shelley is being consciously
old-fashioned.  In a writing culture, poetry, with its interest in sound, is
understood as a kind of atavism.  It is understood as something which is
transcended in order to arrive at a form of "real" value?i.e., prose.  The
novel supposedly transcends the Homeric epic.  The childish habit of sounding
out the words as we read is supposedly transcended (and "corrected") by the
habit of reading silently.  A writing culture is a culture of silence, and
there is little place in it for an art which insists upon "readings," upon
sounds.  In a writing culture, poetry too is "written."  It is understood as
something of interest to a few nostalgic people who may be allowed their
passion but who are not, as Plato says, to be "taken seriously."

 Yet this is not the end of the story.  At the current moment writing is
beginning to seem "old-fashioned."  For the first time in its history,
writing is being challenged by other media which can do better what writing
was for many years the only medium to do at all.  If we want the speeches of
Thomas Jefferson, we must go to a book.  If we want the speeches of John
Kennedy, we can find them on records, tapes, film, and video, and these media
can give us what the book cannot?the actual sound of Kennedy's voice as he
pronounced the words.  For the first time in history, the young are being
conditioned by what Father Walter J. Ong has called "the new orality" of the
electronic media.  For the first time in history, intelligent young people
have grown impatient with the silence of books?whatever the status of books
as receptacles of information and experience.  The silence of writing?which
had been perceived as one of its strengths?seems to have begun to work
towards its own undoing.  The current crisis of writing (our children, we
say, don't read enough) revolves around the issue of writing's ability to
represent sound.  But this has been a central issue for poetry too.  Poetry,
relegated by writing to the dung heap of history because of its retrograde
interest in sound, suddenly seems relevant.  Where but in poetry?historically
split between its interest in the auditory and the visual?can the current
crisis of writing be most fully experienced?  Poetry has a central role to
play in defining that crisis, but it is not yet playing it.  It has yet to
arrive at a proper consciousness of its own powers.  "The synthesizer," wrote
Miles Davis in his autobiography, Miles,

   has changed everything whether purist musicians like it or
   not.  It's here to stay and you can either be in it or out
   of it.  I choose to be in it because the world has always
   been about change.  People who don't change will find
   themselves like folk musicians, playing in museums and
   local as a motherfucker.
 Current poetry remains "local as a motherfucker."  But it has within itself
the potentiality to be considerably more.

Don Webb say three things happen when you search after mystery and
[below] I must now know this to be delving the unconscious.

1) you get energy

2) you get more mystery

3) you contact other seekers

contributed by Ficus strangulensis

DAILY LOG  Nv 20.95
Thomas Lowe Taylor


Your own voodoo stillness meaning like moonsigns inheres
even to doubt itself chosen in particle-claims no inattention
to what is there or not.  Late tides have spun the day without no
sensation to reclaim the lesser arcs delay & finish-out here.

Aha.  Like some diminishment banished beyond the day's resolve
"at houses flung" or was it "doorways" you'd bent her down the
way or been there done that downer diatribe delays forward motion
insensate claim the future's doubt erased unknowing vacate

or clay ore-arc fathom scent dour leases calm withdrawal
nor pinner dude--heals them outer on-their-own faces walls
does not retreat full flame forced encounters do not
eliminate the possibility of resonance, of continuing, of light.

But day palls out to rain, opens again at the heart's waves
waving ears and arms and legs spasmic celebration released
from spore-soul detractors of the limned sphere recovered
spew the doter at her musk recalls you upward again.

Her own sheepherder waited outside the rain calling away at
sun's remonstrance lifted sight & sign their own retreat here
the tumor sent recall to thrusting plain palms resist no
more the acres of unrelease do tell to human sensitives.

There's a stolen bird out back waiting patiently for noon
to seal the deal with overt schemes returning stealth
the heart's own questions making easier plumes within.


Your dick.  Roaster, the shooter hucks affirmed nature
peal nor dyke butt held & firm nor plane attunes
relief at the outer urge recalls what's plussed er central
the hoary replume decays its leading edge blunted out.

Dune-thing wrested refuge from the finer air.  My luck.

  Jim Leftwich


  timber flush
seaport flap of fleshy spoken speech when smoky
     slip elapsed
to falling
     slowly       falling into or through a water
  from normative end
to sink
to time to cease before the
slipping  vertically
 a vessel         the tongue
    an arm
     of islands on the lap imaginary
 and upcurved         shrill noose hearth white hands wood abdomen
  scale kitchen scope        the language of garments
    birds frolic
       the calyx maxims
        wind beam intestinevision of map gifts
  music unit
 noosed to grazing claw

      Jeffrey Little

it's a colder moon since i last hooked that red bubble gum ball
to its snap-leash & walked the one stoplight to trough-town, 
too many rhesus monkeys under the bridge, my old man 
behind the wheel of his electric scooter 
screaming "i'm ted fucking williams!!" at anyone in 
his cross hairs & me w/out my rhyming greta garbo thesarus.

shiny objects captivate me.  still.   remember the alamo.
it's no different than the pot-pie council's quorum call after 
the secret ballot of the seventeen burgers, a barometer 
of this tendency towards exclusion--bobbing for loci.  

two rooms : the first w/a bird feeder suspended over concentric 
circles of grasses, in the second room white chalk marks
crosshatched on cork floors : let this mean something to you.

a dining car lingers in the sky of my choice, & three hunters,
clothed only in yellow post-it notes, hound an antlered 
ghandi through the woods behind the rain.

forgetting about the snap-leash the gum ball launches its 
doomed charge at the moon, my old man he's just hit .400 
again & takes a calibrated pot shot 
at the mahatma, the methodology of the train tracks, 
to a glass trolley car's span--the pug becomes the igloo again.

Robert Frazier and Andrew Joron

take me somewhere all yr dark & own
with yr mesh bruised lovely
meat-thoughts made for spending
& yr riffs between image-mapped riffs

surf me thru a place without a postcard
unlock yr address & let me
sail over cliffs & canyons graphing
life-statistics of the world's largest cities

& enter lurid yet forgotten
channels thru yr
scanned-in nudity, yr false-colored
Renaissance portrait

far into yr insect tunnels
yr knotted incest roots

you bare the goddess cypher
drop yr velvet caul of proxies
loose sweet torrents of code-event

      Jim Whizz
The streets were filled with the anger of lords on fire. Sweet virgins lay
spread for sacrifice, challenging warriors to strike  thier  poise of
manhood. Sifting dragons,  soaring as eagles, blinding the suns
 magnificence, paleoglyphs  scrawled in  chalk  reccess on the merry go
round.   One shoe in front of the other. That familar beat,(about  92 to the
minute).  A yard at a time. Rattles of spare change and lone keys set the
rhythm of sparrows  roosting  and grass  squeezing thru the  concrete cracks
of civilization.  Single women in warped clothes  and reproduction sunglasses
, walk, leashed to mastifs, sentenced to pick up thier feces wherever they
should decide  to show thier power of defication.  Coffee houses litter the
 streets, filled with the  junkies of this generation.  No shame......   I
 hack  phlegm and wash it back with cheap scotch, braincells dissolving like
styrofoam in gasoline. Laughter fills  my cynical mind  as thoughts whirlpool
into the voidless  realm of  the now. The present . This very instance. This
is .....


under tau (-extensions)

un voyage to troy
(death by water):

oral   blind   text (H:achu-)

telemach:speed of nelumierepas SOUND
(hermeme, merkur-text)  
rabid ear moment



dovetailed void to void      (the between and the  amid- )

dreamink  to                    waterspace

to firearth  (waterspeak)    veneered  unto dermis-

                                      semi                        ambi


ach-OWTH                                                     Tele-

FLEUVE                            -iv-                                  rEVE


Harry Polkinhorn

     Not having regular names the humanists whose exclusive newsletter of
exchange (trade like for like) were on the agaenda proper, a woman's touch to
bring in beauty while the words changed and angels of nature went so far as
to extend warm welcomes. Touche. Is the spelling. With suchlike thoughts,
8:20a.m. of an October day whose slight gray pall cast its melancholy gloom
over their nervous preparations, a variety of processes of specific places
made the deal. To wit, so and so many copies, one, say for every other person
well oiled having been up all night trans- lating with a cold fury from the
Portuguese and Spanish. After all, it was the war so some eccentricity could
be overlooked. Too much brain, not enough feet. This then by way of a start.
     Great lugubrious flying-saucer lights, breasts sealed in behind wool,
oppressive wood panelling, a cornucopia of description to detract even the
least knowing of participants. With that some odd fellows lost to this world
would barely manage to break down names into cold little phonemes. Footsteps
and sound amplification and "hope springs eternal" in spite of sound loops,
caution, poisoned food, in short, all the best evidence. No one would deny
yoour rights. "Testing. One two three. Testing."
     On to foreign reprint rights, slurping sounds of open-mouthed eating,
the general careering towards one's inglorious conclusion, so to speak. Tune
the instruments, one by one or all at once; then dim the lights slowsly, as
in a baroque opera house. Voila! Comes the inevitable, comes the apoca-lypse
but not as we expected, comes the dead hand of a regular dealing with the
past. Even at that you'll notice his chair creaks as he shifts. We all shift.
Our bearings spin freely. Therewith a flying start as the day deepens, people
studying marks on paper little caring for the longer screams, or any
vituperations for that matter. You can hardly blame them, either.
     A wheel would be toward the middle. Styrofoam and throwaway lives, or is
this the format? You listen to me, and let me just say this. Yonkers. The
Hrench language. Lucky Strikes. Islands of civilization in a sea of salt
water. The Oriental influence will increase, until your embarrassment becomes
intolerable. Too bad. A respectable showing, so they'll pick up the bill.
What they told me, some pattern of nitrous interruptions well gouged into our
skins. And now poeople off to their Bible groups, their pathological attempts
at humor, their smaller and smaller summaries of want or need. All free? You
are leaving? Feel at home.


   John M. Bennett


for walking the dog said) slabs forth o' heaving
broomstraw sampled chew toward north dark souths
you o'er a grapefruit bent talk behind that
soggy beard flabbed pout siezing's spoon's claw
(damp spew-floor mouth AH!) sparkly cloth "spore-
faced", (suit

faced 'n sprayed ass smeared seen through your blood-
puffy tissue, stalking-floor the case remains just as
sieze that place you faltered fatly wreathing) plates
(stream blankly altered off your face-fat "sneeze's"
dust obtains grace door caulked or blisters-lust//
mud you knew//means merely glassy rain 'n



(wreck of "seizure")
founder forked flagellation sleeve ("conclusion")
of conclusion your pertussive fly against the
cosker ("spaniel") musing for removal icy plates
reclaim the driveway where your socks wre (blood
and heels) sealed and posturation//scampers cracks

cracks reburial obfuscation of the sealing hips or
("rock-reclusion") chains and loops reclaim the
ditchionary icy dental traction mooned at me "where I"
was barking your in fusion of the flys and tussive
expiration ("cloud") oh I clawed your sleeve retraction
("flags and wrecks")


spare conclusion of the lipid factor mantis dream or
burning shirt wiped off the floor slammed shut
computation itch and banded lung contusion integer
erection badly fused and flame-out ("name") cancer
constellation and retraction of the probe

probe tie flagging gritty wind or "rampant" name the
limpid spacing sadly fused erection slope across the
sheety field where sandy itching yawns refuse to
kiss my door smeared shoe burn ("samples") mantis
neck your glancing words oh spare


Twenty Minutes to Live

Cloud hangin' on and on, the moment future present micro-byte of Nothing.
It's thunder October (is this hornky or what?). and it all came out
rancid-smell-rapid-eyed somemore.  Well, Allah never The Night of the Big
NUmber (or The The Night of the Apparent Berserker is always present. The
Night of Simply Walked-Thusly-To-That-Cop-Car Just Months of Objective HELL
is always in the present. that is a preference and a requirement waking up
soon.")and the interchanges private, etc. I digress. Limits smoke paradise of
new plant approval. The blue- the UFO photowars and mules from Hell!
the classic alien meat dead in its syn-relaxing at homex "oh shit, shut fuck"
off-season of DA DRUE ENQ, the mailman Thank you for your private are
mystical and Busk OKs fast-growth on and onxrub removes JUM! My God! My God!
President throws his cough on NoTHINGNESS! After Armageddon, how to St. Peter
baffling the police in the eat a tire in the death of cantalope in love andx
BEAT ME! Be almost taller!?

this ends the EXPERIODDICIST #11