Automatic Manifesto
by Nick Piombino

Start with the thought that to start with a thought and allow the pressure to think of the thought to dissolve. To say what the thought was to dissolve. To let the pressure dissolve. This dissolving is a solution, one solution. That it trails off into the screech of tires at a distance.

A practical solution to the problem of the subject is something I just forgot. It just dissolved.

The truth of a life. This life of truth is studded with traps- stutters and fumbles. And I mumble...

But to go forward, despite the anxieties and doubts, step by step, unflinchingly. Yet I flinch. Unconsciously I avoid the absurd: which frequently contains the treasure. It would be absurd. Still, I try to understand, and do understand something, anything. At a distance, a mournful horn. And I remember...

The irony of the situation of contemporary poetry consists of its self-conscious, yet unconscious, imitations of the aesthetics of permanence. But things are changing too fast to allow for notions of permanence. Planned obsolescence has ushered in the age of automatic obsolescence- which finally means simply- we imitate in all our works our supposition that death is final. "But the universe is alive!" Things are hidden away, sandwiched between slices of insignificance. Faster, faster, close, closer until All combines with Each- and then go out for a smoke and a breath of fresh air..."But what about Blake?" "What is freedom?" and the like.

There aren't enough things to write about (i.e. the world is bare=T.S. Eliot's landscapes, moonscapes). More and more poems in more and more space. Must cover more space-poems as big as California. Must confess secrets, get attention. Must conceal embarrassments, create embarrassments. Must mystify, satisfy, entertain, beguile, charm, remember, enlighten, soothe, relax, inspire, challenge, attract, impress, confuse, enrapture, mobilize. I must rebel, I must gather, I must disseminate, I must canonize, be canonized. I must never be literal, romanticize, hate too much or love too much, or reveal my undesirable or questionable values. I must not be ingenuous or naive, too intellectual or theoretical, too simplistic or bombastic, too sententious or litigious. I must not be blank or silent, outrageously moralistic. I must be more sexual, I must not dwell on my personal identity, and never get too involved with feelings. I must not think too much about my audience. I must be spontaneous. I must record faithfully the dialogues and events of my time, like a combination tape recorder and camera. I must be funny and use language in a witty, inspired, telegraphic and rhythmic way. I must be aware of the group process and not overly dwell on simplistic psychological issues in enormous, repetitive, boring detail as frequently as possible. I must use images, images of life and death, of youthful sexuality, of corporate power and greed- and most of all, naked violence. I must mention the police. I must plunder my diary writings- but disguise them and efface them. I must divide my text into ever more digestible sub-headings. I must copy and plagiarize. I must appropriate. I must create ironies, within ironies, within ironies. I must reflect form. I must create more snappy dialogue. I must be published more, write more letters, be discussed, more, be anthologized more. I must be seen at more fashionable parties. I must befriend the famous, woo them, flatter them, flirt with them. I must dress befitting my artistic accomplishments. I must be calm. I must be cool, I must conceal my emotional nature. I must not dwell on my mistakes. I must be witty. I must be charming. I must learn to ignore cheerfully accusations of literary imitation or influence. I must not commit social or literary suicide.

I must create new forms, I must create new words, I must allude to many levels, many literatures. I must go mad. I must make sane. I must create. I must destroy. I must make to live. I must let die.

(published in Ribot #2, 1994)