Juxta/Electronic #8


EDITORS: Ken Harris, Jim Leftwich Contributors: Merle Bachman, Thomas Lowe Taylor, Jake Berry, Harry Polkinhorn, Jessica Freeman, John M. Bennett, Jack Foley ************************* MERLE BACHMAN MIGRATION (Apples) bones summoning a piped light, burnished coal scuttle humid air tattered by midges tell my family merges here, in rose-print dress, droopy mustache children carted out by laundry-load, washed vests in frigid cup old snow looped through severed ears, fingers, the wands they make and touch rattle tea kettle, on chicken feet invading houses (or the woods darkly surrounding) a match for apples falling, lap-gathered, a woman's legs also painted in harmony (Beaver) at the pole star economy maximized, linens in trays and steerage pelts same blankets, plans, arrays, beads for the taker, a floating lance a trail intensified hearing, stray words in throat unbound, paddling clear lakes a fallen leaf a sign river thicket to enter this house, once covered North America, a gloss calling for sale, to name shipping companies, trade in chopped faith (Clay) instead of an oven door: stick in coals, warm the nest, it begins to run, bead and run, kindling with a pewter name, dull where she sleeps in back room under an oxygen tent, heavy candlesticks same dream of willows draping a river, same dream she has constitutional, thick arms and legs for skating, escaping, faint whir of ice across silence made audible by labored breathing, a wash it cleans nothing (Dangle) a blue bowl, blue eyes, reversal, good fortune to travel crammed in samovar, unbundled later (and later can't be found at the gate) her nest under deck, a litter of three and no vocabulary, unable to write a future, make memoir of past what ticket, what exchange words met at the pier, removed half a name, nothing to catch bleeding (possible translation:) *lap opening in pure derivation; succumbs *stale bread, coffin stones, the bed lump, a knot of expanded desire (seven children - no, eight - ) *scattered like puff-weed, lost on the way to school, small child playing with a piece of broken crockery, slit water-surface vanishing - a coil begins here - notes on the writing: - caught in no formula, some lie open, others "lie" - full sentences leading some (no) where or shreds matched, marred together - longer exponential of breath, "narrating" a chaotic impasse under the skin possibly remembering ************************* JESSICA FREEMAN Sourcherry bidet water awry toilette standstill cocained rats dogpaddle one impregnable tornado Pinehill louisiana Man his (fancy terminal, off-center, wet radio habitat VHF UHF Radio waves Aerial line up together disorder's fashion hydraulic pulley: voucher bona fide volatile organ apex occasional adjoin now blast furnace firebrick and carbonbloc coke limestones' iron oxide Bombsight tachometric penis-booster screw the firing pin fuze Plunger* gronze antimony trichloride gunbarrel, toddler show white ************************* JACK FOLEY THE ERN MALLEY STORY for Donald P. Hilla, Jr. Do you know about Ern Malley? Do you know that story? I'll tell you. It was i```````````````````````'''''''''''''''''''''''''n Australia, during the war, the middle 40s. Australia, you know, was always a bit of a backwater. It was never much for the Modernist sort of literature but it had one you know little magazine the kind which prints incomprehensible material and everyone loves it. It was called Angry Penguins. Angrrrrrrrrrrrrrry Penguinnnnnnnnnnnnnnns. Its editor was Max Harris, and he was charismatic and indefatigable and argumentative. There were people who loved Max Harris. There were people who hated him. Once a group of these latter got together and tossed him in the river. The river was called The torrens and it was a sunlit winter's day in 1941. But he was none the worse for it. Max Harris was bringing Modernism to Australia with a vengeance, you know, T.S.E., Dylan Thomas, modernism. And Max Harris was a fearsome Moderrrrrrrrrrrrrrrn poet himself. He was young man, really, in his 20's, and full of energy. Oh, but there were others who had energy too. They say, when you hated people in those days you really hated them. The war was on and so there was an official enemy to hate. but whom could one hate at home? Two young men in the army, also in their 20s, hated Max Harris and they hated Modernism. their names were harold Stewart and James McAuley. It was a Saturday afternoon in early October 1943. Lieutenant James McAuley and Corporal Harold Stewart were at their desks in the general office of L Block at the Victoria Barracks. They were the rostered CO and NCO on duty at their outfit, the Directorate of Research and Civil Affairs. The barracks...is a handsome, Georgian-style bluestone building, fronted by lawn, palms and ornamental cannon on St Kilda Road, the leafy boulevard that sweeps from the south-east across the Yarra River into the city - but L Block, a little to the West of the main building, was a scruffy old weatherboard shed with a tin roof.* Stewart and McAuley decided to play a marvelous joke. They decided they would invent a poet, a modernist poet, and they would call him Ern Malley. They would say that Ern Malley died young, like Keats, but that he had a sister Ethel who had discovered some of his poetry after his death. Ethel of course couldn't pretend to judge her brother's poetry, but she was sending a sample to Max Harris to find out if it had any merit. Amid great hilarity, and in very little time, McCauley and Stewart produced a sheaf of poems - enough for a small book - and they sent some to Max Harris. Max Harris fell for it hook line and sinker. Poor Ern, the hoaxers told him through the medium of Ethel, was a garage mechanic. He had never shown his poetry to anyone. Was it any good? Here is one of the poems they sent: Durer: Innsbruck, 1495 I had often, cowled in the slumberous heavy air, Closed my inanimate lids to find it real, As I knew it would be, the colorful spires And painted roofs, the high snows glimpsed at the back, All reversed in the quiet reflecting waters - Not knowing then that Durer perceived it too. Now I find that once more I have shrunk To an interloper, robber of dead men's dream, I had read in books that art is not easy But no one warned that the mind repeats In its ignorance the vision of others. I am still The black swan of trespass on alien waters. Is it good? Max Harris thought it was very good. Here ar last was an australian modernist. The backwater had finally joined the 20th Century. True, the young man had died. But the tragedy of his death was mitigated by the fact that here, preserved, was a slim volume of his work, appropriately titled The Darkening Ecliptic. A special issue of the magazine was prepared and published. Then the news broke. It was all over the newspapers. Modernism in Australia has never been the same. Of course it has never been the same anywhere else either. But the hoaxers were by no means the winners in all of this. They had the first, not the last laugh. It has been pointed out that the poetry written by Harold Stewart and James McCauley as Ern Malley was better than anything they published under their own names. Were the deceivers themselves deceived? Is it possible that by parodying the modern idiom they were worked upon by the same forces which produced the modern idiom? Zeitgeist flashes in funny ways and chooseth whom it will. In the mid-seventies, at Brooklyn College, John Ashbury would, in the exam for the creative writing course he taught, print without attribution one of Geoffrey Hill's Merican Hymns...beside a poem by Ern Malley, and tell his students: "One of the two poems below is by a highly respected contemporary poet; the other is a hoax originally published to spoof the obscurity of much modern poetry. Which do you think is which? Give your reasons." As Michael Heyward tells us: The hoax is the most fascinating thing Angry Penguins ever published. In cooking up their poet to a satirical recipe, McCauley and Stewart threw into the brew a seasoning of anarchic intelligence and comic self-laceration. Writing pretentiously, they described a mind so aware of pretension that it debunks itself with aplomb. In the end, Malley is really unlike the sort of grandstanding, romantic surrealism he mocks. It pays to remember that two very different temperaments and personalities were constructing the work without bothering to smooth the edges. Like a medium possessed by a host of spirits, Ern Malley freely exhibits his multiple consciousness. There is not one Ern Malley but several, and they are all mutually exclusive characters. There is Ern Malley, the black swan of trespass, the native modernist talented enough to turn the poetic tradition of his country on its head. There is Ern Malley the jejune and modish experimentalist who does belly-flops in his attempt to look significant. There is the Ern Malley who bravely stares his own death in the face, and the Ern Malley who slyly tells the reader he never was. All these writers were essential to the hoaxers' fiction. Each contradicts the others and helps give the poetry its dizzy, speeded-up quality, as Malley rifles through his composite self. Ern Malley may never have existed, but, at this point, like the "real" Keats, he is nothing but literature. And literature is notoriously free. It can mean anything. Which do you think is which? Give your reasons. Ern Malley writes: There is a moment when the pelvis Explodes like a grenade. I Who have lived in the shadow that each act Casts on the next act now emerge As loyal as the thistle that in session Puffs its full seed upon the indicative air. I have split the infinitive. Beyond is anything. *All passages in italics are from Michael Heyward, The Ern Malley Affair (London: Faber and Faber, Limied, 1993 ************************* THOMAS LOWE TAYLOR SLUT nostro delinea more senss cum frth lea t'the foamin afar/ts sempler del delet ed t de im at fir tean s u you'd held. long eye at sk (priso ape x'xs en/cod ni lix pean (split f for mo mo lan/s sd deal eagier f my/sn n owne d s: mafar flocx tk my sister my sister lives south of here a a a (we tak-l are you my sister? * la lov l ankl more was not thats ' do due of the mine waits. waits more u yr you are she of whom i wait deal me dance de thrace no plint afar dead s cults librars burnt onle ths thes codes duh d cod lov's answr, est b be a beacon * who spoke from the picture so long ago, hands leased it was time of posses (held its near, to reflect no smarts enuf 'that ('s enough (uf live love answers touch to sign i smoothe you ein mine dddeepest sign i let you in i call'd to dance a newer sigh, lights perhaps no knower (gnore) no-were; puke slime all that intruds/in pics sd moments all soon or now is soon enough for o love's answer (touch * poke no skewer shops restless tunes without denial pork wherein excuse to pursuit internal nostrum delete his anchor plains the doorway opening beyond sentiment but poastered forms restoring huks at slimer panes total dues askance * flied filed ************************* JOHN M. BENNETT on edgey-plate or) charred rapid, comb-gravel sped, toward your lamination starts the "end" such thing: know your hand off course it turns (rising pills) clabbered condensation scooting store-wards or a scabrous pit pots toothpicks crumbly and reMEMBERed dicks a lot, slurrage-words contentioned past the grocery bag or stormy tele-copped ("scooting") compensation for your, still raking side the handled bowl (of course it) sings, like your throne. Ended farts, lacustrine beds the ravelled sail oh charted sphere (defaced the cut ************************* HARRY POLKINHORN Excreta II 1 further within a meaning where voices interlaced, you're still marveling at, what each says because not about to finish again a sadness, a party of living with its demands on structural people simply because we're placed here as advocates of skin and pale blue drifting these careful last phrases you just never know so some humility or a tentative quality measured out in your inner rainfall your secret wishes for power and love or to be able to fly over the city calling out in your deep tones some quaint notion like a barbecue on the moon or parakeets swarming their high-prestige instincts and an hourglass shape ready to confess right out of your bone deposit's illustrious song squeezed to a husk by the pincer heart-subtract your figure and straighten those shoulders up because we're perfectly balanced 2 when a child's wailing reminds you of some inextricable position between a pair of alternatives beneath late July illumination- wounds of the virus of ringing telephones subsumed in all that bland friendliness when possible, becaue you lost faith so as to be able later to listen to their mute speech as casual as a swimmer whose steady assured strokes slice effortlessly through the blue their tiny but definite footsteps through the only medium we can perceive where some deadening perfection known as sacrifice beyond a shocking normalcy until you fall like a stone harsh with necessity and worn flesh that sits in the world so differently that such demands can be ignored as proletarian 3 i you are feeling your way towards the art of Bach towards an evening throat too full of statues and gulls since Galen's body dissolved joyously or fearfully ii divided their thrust columns among night-blown roses whose breathy woman scent about which no one knows how to work in numbers because of the windy sighing iii one would need some deep superhuman attention to hands and all they conceal in their delicate complications, their last-minute offerings iv once you've surveyed the damage waterfalls of words and pining away v secreted in a compartment of air just raw soil, a brown arm akimbo before the world's trains depart vi to fix flesh as if what people had been doing all this time were abstract, a constructed invisibility you carry around balanced-but no vii then a sensible reassembling absolutely pounded into freedom take as much as you want inexhaustible 4 sometimes you return to a comforting line that runs through fields of green where an overheard laugh rises blooming brightly above beneath a cloudless sky and you ask yourself about a dream with knives and movies and walking pleasantly soused through the classic old town at night with revellers about a dove pierces your heart with its terrible tender sounds and your love wants and wants delivered of its own motions and cruel absences, its interior motor display a huge wound by means of which you move often stumbling through things breathing the blue and green breathing, moving, moving 5 the chandeliers the goblets you're lost in a building with narrow stairs and when you ask directions of a woman she answers that she trains bartenders, walks off mumbling to herself-there are so many floors covered with old curling linoleum, glass cases containing the bric-a-brac and ornamental spoons of long-deceased dukes the bannisters dust-bedecked, crumbling under August sunlight that only a weird sense of dignity remains, that people had done these things however fragmented their hands trying to achieve a repetitive motion and hold it longer than its season at which you realized you'd gone beyond the conventions of mere living 6 someone threatened you with prison, another corrupt judge dead set on turning their wallets inside out, but the bailiff protested and so was fired which never happens-you felt confusion, then relief that a person was pulled from the crime scene burning wreckage in a bird's eye or an old friend saying wryly "don't get baptized" as if his metaphors had any substance, their conviction bled away by daily compromises that cannot be rushed no matter what the papers report in their casual pretense at objectivity-instead you wait poised each morning like a delicate trigger finger compulsively figuring angles of throw and drift given the local odds 7 you wanted to walk over to examine a stack of steel frames when three young rhinos spotted you and gave chase you ran through the field wildly although you were barefooted finally jumped a wire fence which somehow deterred them and you knew they could have gone through a stone wall now that you were in open flight like a rose petal in free-fall or ladders extending from windows a dangling child about to go away who watches from hateful static photographs attributed falsely to the power of prayer, itself formed under pressure of dreaming which you would think obeyed no master other than the world teeming with its odd destiny you witness but can never justify 8 when you notice a pairing of curves or what the furniture suggests poised and cool, a choice whose dull estimate like an automobile you wanted to destroy but couldn't since it coughs to life and these windows with their need deep along joists where the I-beam abuts with sheer nerve fiber collateral with your last chance your trip to Sevilla while you bore through rock with the mind desperate and cut loose, coal dust collecting on the ledges of the city and their iconic representatives who walked easily down to the beach while you slept or were hard at work to extract something, anything even a few seconds of what might pass for clarity in another country, citizens on the alert and impossible to please 9 whether they mattered, a long shot at dusk where you're surrounded and cut off by new identities breaking the sound barrier for entertainment shatters a perspective on history larded away as in any profession, art forms from a past that never existed even if it does now-to terrorize the populace for fun and at their own expense dogs of steel whose political opinions and fashionable double-dealing can be made to seem inevitable their manner of being here a distinct and lengthy preparation having found the source of scars a river polluted with rubbish that recedes just enough, forbidden by insects whose iron grip on the earth and air frightens you into meek submission 10 you are that ghost with cold hands that pincer their gut flow chart analysis a spiritual advisor whose plaintive cries empty out the reservoirs, yet you never sleep as the ozone hole or a direct offshoot a fake glittery smile priced out of the competition so you roam through hollows a minus entity at the solstice to raise bucks but held back by forces you can't quite understand years later, hardly anything done hair sprouting from ears and nose and no longer willing to deal you roll into yourself like clouds unable to fathom their jealousy the irony of a dead heart but you have your own ways you who prefer the open air and cannot focus the mind cannot speak that tongue 11 daily dealing in exotic travel as harbinger, your innermost having slid over the side and down quickly into conversation on the balcony, a view across this imperfect city-she raises her glass ceremoniously, but not without a touch of irony so you silently salute the world's gears heavy with child in the old idiom each moment blending with its dead ringer like dynamite with only one chance quietly you sit legs up on the table, a framing without their mighty efforts their coughing at dawn to mark steady diminution, how to think by obverse or lateral relation until a wall or canal system a fern richly deserving of your best spirit ************************* JAKE BERRY from BRAMBU DREZI, Book 2 for Jack Foley shekinah, who laid 31 and the 32nd her completion & vanished there, wet between her legs, to fill the void going down her eyes like serpent's coming up like emerald fire You have found the hand in Mu, reordered its profile old man, face into rock, you know a soundless form I have been insane twice and swollen with grief and neither offered more than a temporary cure - Why them hounds howling so? Don't nobody ever let 'em hunt Poised in the underbrush at the edge of the grove he observes her bent to drink from the stream. It was an inversion of particulars, though the penalty, and who got it is accurate. and those hideous scars came to life For years Chac-Mool wandered among them in the guise of various genetic maladies, unable to understand how they could ignore his lamentations - the new priests seemed utterly dependent on the conjoined architecture of sound & vision "Soul is striptease isn't it? With the exception when you peel away the layers you're ogling your own nakedness, and that's nothing baby!" Deep down in it clawing like mad until he realized all the parts were alive and cringing beneath his touch I dunno how it got there the lame drag it in I wake with someone on top of me, and no, I don't know how kissing, or so it seems, a large mouth how she got that way covering mine I think my wife until I hear her breathing, there, among Job's plunder asleep at my side the serpent finds his It's hip is naked, and smooth, soft, female, and way to the tree it's breathing fast, hyperventilating reptilian, but when I open, focus my eyes - nothing she was scarred, no one cut up bad inside realy smiled, her face tragically void of expression Holy of holies, cherub and ark - closed in on the boar - bark surrounded, & leaf he turned to face each one in turn observing death's approach like emerald fire! her erotic strategy Circe, why you treat me mean?