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RIF/T: An Electronic Space for Poetry, Prose, and Poetics
Editors: Kenneth Sherwood and Loss Pequeño Glazier
ISSN#: 1070-0072
Version 1.1 © Fall 1993

RIFT01.01 copyright (c) 1993. All rights revert to author(s) upon publication. Texts distributed by RIF/T, e-poetry@ubvm, or the Electronic Poetry Center (Buffalo) may not be republished for profit in any form without express consent of author(s) and notification of the editors, but may be freely circulated among individuals for personal use provided that this copyright statement is included. Public archiving of complete issues only, in electronic or print forms, is permissible provided that no access fee is charged.

Responses, submissions, and queries to: E-POETRY@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU

RIF/T Version 1.1


Beyond Emaciation

Hemmed in by oceanic verisimilitude
quite a lot like blazing pumps
with pompadour upholstery, bloated
enough to play a hunch on
lumpy reprehension, sputtering
atop murky monstrosity of
chronic maldistribution of rectifiers,
like the match that hit point
at the expense of spooners, or
the pompadour that cartwheeled
past Tumultuous Expectation
(Evacuation), slogging through
packed pitfalls and penny-dreadful
circuits, melody of tilts
& tailspins, tunnels &
torches. Suds, these are my
suds -- any attribution to
corroded (corrugated) segment,
spooked the stake and succumb
to eviscerated haberdashery
on line at navigational stump --
bumpy calculus to somewhere
near argumentation's eponymous
mortuary. Then walking ahead
or backing off, gesticulating
with meretricious momentum,
salamander retrieval intercepts
gummy (gulled) garrulousity
who meant all the time to
throw the dice to the other
corridor. The ball rolls
down the lane or street or
curb or row or meeting
ground and the titular
turner stoops
to swoop it up

[I was delighted by the subject of lecture by J-F Lyotard which I kept hearing as 'beyond emaciation', just my topic, so it was with some great disappointment that, after a while, I realized the philosopher's title was "Beyond Emancipation". C.B.]



Una Prueba de Gusto

Si El falsea. SI, si informa mal
sin idea de, con una idea
imperfecta a pesar de Dios, con Dios
de su lado o del lado del Diablo
si falsea o filofalsea por no sufrir
en carne propia la creencia o la ausencia
o la "fuerza vital" o tal y cual orden
a prueba del tiempo, aprobado por El mismo.

Si se falsea no por precisiOn o
ambigUedad, no lo permita El ni la
si se conforma bah! a lo largo
de frases entrecortadas, si cobardIa, timidez
intrepidez, alusiones, alucinaciones, vagancia
mediante no tuviera, o no quisiera la
imprecisiOn cientIfica del terapeuta o
del cirujano pero tampoco pudiera decir
"COmpreme el Bacon que quiero" o
menos contradictoriamente
"Este es el Bacon que quiero" y no la claridad
del que critica, la universalidad
ajena. Energizado, altamente. Aquel
que cita equivocadamente.



from Lessons in Ecstatic Biology

sketch #1: cleaning the stage

order unspools another study of the mind --
spoken love broken with thoughts fallen
to the floor, the words of youth prostrate by insect hunger,
the pockets of disease in shamble.

when we look again, lights collide.
teeth wear to sea pebbles.
the whirling strain of each belly becomes a parchment lantern
and the soul burns through.

our bone's ambition
plays on this emptiness, unhinged
when definition moves
beyond sense: a cup of stale coffee,
ganges muck,
boot dirt --

how we assume chaos:
beached in the shade of a palm tree where heat agrees
to splay the boundaries,
where thought shingles to sediment in the riverdream,
where water gives promise.

we knuckle under entropy:
skin raven by love's channel,
grief encircled by flame, ashes
repeated to nothing:
to another act --

the stage set, worn out of order.
even our desires sublimate,
cancers miscoding sequence, intention:
like sacks of water.

sketch #5: Heisenberg's barrier

the mind moves between the self and the all else,

how I may know the place of me at an instant
but neither the direction nor the velocity of my desire --

as we narrow in on one ruptured expression
all the other edges unbind
to hold again the universal complexity --

a weaving knotted:
the conscious and the sleeping,
the wave and the stone.

sketch #6: resolved

the beat is a heart a breath life cycle tying
to a 13 moon night --

the harvest king dead in december
not from malice but dysfunction.

trying to cut the unbreakable wheel, to
discredit Shiva we suffer Shiva's dance
in never born dimension:

instead of calmly: in the pastoral sense:
we invoke atomic horror, rupturing the fabrics
of existence to sleep at night --

for faulting the first row,
for pretending knowledge before accord
and the point
before the current.

love can still beauty in shapeself absolution.
but we dine troubled
by the abyss of a disspun future.

within this I may be here,
or several inches to the left --

I know I am the biological god
and I am satan
but most often some frequency in between.

yet we deny Shiva the dance,
for fear, through pride.

hope slips a heart beat
lust quenched in a bucket of knifeless water:

slice that, my friends,
but be quick about it.



			 new beachfront tenant ...

			 a clear breaking wave.

				    - the presidio, san francisco
					 on the occasion of mikhail
					 gorbachev's moving in to his
					 US offices, the former coast
					 guard office, on the beach



To think of the effect of losing
affect in art is to effect
a change in our conception
of sentiment, which is always
its own idea, the surge around
the heart inscribed upon the heart,
memory's task to trace the wound,
stencil it on the impalpable history
of sensation, cultural artifact
beyond comparison. I cannot
think of him without feeling
an old aura, as of pleasure's
difficulty, inextricable weave
as hope confronts its end
and refuses to give ground,
logic the final confine of sense.
Thought is braided through
by tact, touching without
seeming to change a body, whether
of the sea or self. She says
the sea cannot laugh, is eternal
in its serious contemplation
of shorelines, tidal provinces.
She would laugh at such pre-
dispositions to be severe,
though I thought I heard
water laugh, or did it lap,
on a black beach beside
the catherdral-work of rock,
responsive to the fluted
shape of air. Surely, wind laughs
always. World's affect presses
against my skin, impresses laughter
on my malleable body, as the sound
of carnivals disperses
in wind, creating pools of voices
just past possibility of connection.
Tissued by what seems remorse
but is not, rather an episode
of rethinking feeling, transposing
the muted strings to organwork
in the wild air beside abrupt cliffs:
This my task, to reorder what is
already ordered, to wrap my words
in your tender air and make
myself a fluted column
cerebral and yet attuned to what
makes the world's end seem possible
and not to be feared as holocaust.
The guns are still warm
that would destroy all I wish to hold--
sweet stone or you--enveloped
in the savage ardor of my words.

RIFF to Schultz's longpoem The Lost Country, a RIF/T chapbook


My Two Languages

for Ken & Dawn

absurdity shoot leaves
disparate tire sale

gift kill monicker
dote mate mote

surrender beats father
date late abate

give me reside
dame more

evils marry
males case

swindle steal
time robe

insert i am willow
mete soy sauce

beats look
late mire

Poitrine and Pretre

so chest to breast
the nipple pink
they do not colorize
the priest

the priest hardens
if there is a niece

desire a chance
to see two nieces
at two breasts apiece

left nipple increases
if right subject is

& so right subject
is left nipple
by accord

breasts heave
if the priest
does not leave

but it's vestigial nipples
if the priest disrobes

if nieces fall
breasts fall
as days go forward

Parts of Treatises

evidence mounting evidence as an armored insect upon another

if you didn't guess it they're copulating

marble is serious but i know a marmoreal comedienne

she abhors the news that death is in earnest

that's not about me says a man named ernest

i was at the kafkascape of tissue structure

& i know what & what not to scream about

ok, so a skeleton ... "being alive solves nothing"

max had the skeleton key to the starlets' compartments.



"a sub - rift

"I have had to learn the simplest things last"
									   C. Olson
								(Maximus To Himself)


			 follow carrying wild genital
		 I praise long wear in a spring plant
	 f  lo    w       e   r   s



	   Lysis Lysis Liysis Lysis Lysis Lysis
	    Lysis Lysis  Lysis Lysis Lysis Lysis
			 Lysis Lysis

						  TAKE THEN MY K
						  AS NIGHT, THE GUN, A GRAVE ripe

			 when pressed together / with her face
				  s  un     flower

								initiated by winter

									   bent crystal
violence nested

	   we put our hands on the moebius strip

  (mist a breath again, against) my breast:  be made in that
							   (luck                   in







Me muerde la oreja
mastica el tímpano
y lo escupe

Corre por mis intestinos
embriágndose de bilis
y esparciéndola
al navegar por las venas

Y yo, en mi soledad
me corto la piel con un la'piz
y así cumplo con el pacto divino

Y guardo bajo mi cama
los clavos de un Mesias
que nunca llega
[GILL01.01 contains Guitart and Carhart's English translation of "Adonai"] RIFF to the English translation.


Wonton Nativists


Two lovers

the reputed moon

if you must,
the desire may have
been bodily.

To determine empirically
breasts and buttocks makes a fine

But is that syllables?

One suspects the sea
of inviting
the rhythm. Clearly

she desired,
not even to speak of the above
mentioned and widely
reputed moon, her considerable sway

in light of brine rhyme and
copulation lapped lovers.

O wit lipped shores!
(the abstraction is obvious)


If one could
nominate it what would I sing, he asked

"well flower me florid."

So they said, and again, it was
reputed widely and recommended

by consensus:
ostensibly wept with longing,
swept along

by his adept.

"and we are all very fluent about ourselves."


Very recently--

[lines censored]

considered culpable.

Close to "the past ain't quaint
when you're in it."

They believe
anything and write it all down.


This landscape is imaginary, and
any resemblance
to actual event or persons

living or unliving, is purely

(clearly a problem with misplaced adjectives)


A minor alto

typically some smoke-filled
parisian café.

However, the scenario was empty.




The principal difference between poetry and fiction, even at the avant-garde extremes, is that the latter implies narrative and thus movement from one place to another, even if the fiction is only one world long, while poetry realizes concentration of image and effect. These poems, unlike my stories, should be published without full stops.

(Any number may be selected for publication, distributed in any order)

     On a Yellow Post-It
     --Dear Ken Sherwood,     7 May 1993
     Why don't you consider doing some
     thing special with the enclosed 
     monopoems, considering them as a 
     kind of Cagean score from which you 
     can make inspired computer realiza=
     tions, giving yourself appropriate
     credit, and sending me the results.


The moment of critique (and poetry) it seems to me stems from a moment of crisis; writing covers this crisis, perhaps destroys it. I am trying to respond to a moment of crisis I have perceived in my environment. That crisis is the invocation of a literary technology of jargon as a surrogate for discovery, inquiry and investigation.

The Technological State of Poetry

Technology never constitutes an end in itself, although its message may indeed be the media by which it expresses our lives. So we have become vapid, mere ciphers, indicating that there is in fact someone home, but after endless knocking no one answers. The cough and the sputter by which writing undertakes itself is similar to this occasional bumbling discussion of technology, its metonymic tentacles fingering. As strategy, as technique, languages are developed which account for this sputtering, these aphasic disturbances which preclude the possibilities under possibility's name. Speech from disordered personalities is not the same as an ordered functionalist appropriating negative qualities - a kind of law of increasing returns exuding from negative space. This ex nihil poetic wealth, its rhetoric, is based upon the productive appropriation of negative or anti-productive terms.

triste tourist
What happens when a writer says I am in exile who is not in exile? It freezes and destroys living possibility. Writing may be like exile, but exile it is not. To appropriate such terms is the last vestige of the colonial, the disenfranchisement and dispossession of that with which it sought affinity. A politically dangerous perspective; even more, the invocation of jargon creates an empty vessel the writer hopes will speak for him/her. It is a facile mockery of responsiveness: necessitated by a wealth which it constantly alludes to by its indifference.

A metaphysical stranger is not the same as a real person living in exile. For many people who arent writers, the fact of dispossession is a way of life. That the writers identify themselves with people in exile does not make this claim credible. The rhetoric of exile is the living link between the historical situation of a dispossessed and the metaphoricity of the claim of the poet/critic searching for some position from which to write. Are we so adrift that even the claims of identification with exile move like continental plates under wandering sands, breaking up catching the sky aflame. And yet to stop this movement, to assert that the sands of the desert are no longer shifting is to fill this hopelessness with the even more incredible hardening of concretes. To do this would be an absolute cynicism; a false consciousness precipitated by what the claims of exile are based on: that is, the belief in a homeland. To say exile as metaphysical and not to live it (i.e. to make a metaphor of it) is to feign pain behavior.

Pain has no memory: pain has no thought. Yet memory is the life of pain made clear by/in/with the body. Here, the matter of prepositions is likewise ambivalent. Pain crosses the frictive/fictive corrosive frontiers: it has no memory because by its insistence, it obliterates all time, is a myth so painful that the unqualified life of consciousness or subjectivity becomes so overtly destructive that it annihilates anything that would exist otherwise. Translation, which productively buries its source, is the scar and demonstrates the painful nature of writing. Pressed so close providing a polite resonance of that which it covers, the scar could be anything; is in fact everything. The invocation of wounds as abstract and ornamental demonstrates the activity against which they poise their resistance.

Yes, these claims are compelling, but to allow them to go unchecked, would simply affirm. To deny them by critique would be to defang their claim to authenticity and rule by displacement. A dictator in exile has no right or claim to authority any more than a dictator in place. What is a person if not near-frozen to death in isolation? Admitting ones exile is to admit defeat in the face of impossibility. It does not reduce the pain but instead thickens the scar which covers, demonstrates and destroys its origin.

livre ivre
So as there is sol in solus, there is drunk in book. The necessity of pushing past the limits of the written. The owl of Minerva molts at dusk, then complains. The signs are dripping off of things, the skin peeling back the method of pastiche, its eventual palimpsest. One is not constituent of an argument, of arrangement. We are surrounded by quotations and so are drowned out by the sound. Words are small ambassadors we seek to be among. They would go on without us; representative but not representative; sovereign charges.

The public sphere as a private mental category. How does one know when a poem is done? Down in the heat of it, down in the metabolic whispers, such borders are like living cells. The little acids however environmentally determined are based on sets and patterns of influence, the cells interchange -- this is all very routine. The membranes sheer response to its external influence is the broad chemical daylight edges into windows caked with euphoria sweat and answers more akin to agoraphobia than possible discourse. The form of the body is pressed hard against the form of the poem. The pain is in harmony against the page the art work and the body.

I am interested in questions, but I have served them to destruction. The gravel of the heart grinds itself to friction and discomfort. It, like the negative dialectic, incorporates its own demise within the technology of its function. It participates but is ridiculed for being anti-productive. Its uselessness incorporates antithesis. I realized I had to begin with my life, my questioning. My method is my own life, those with whom I am in contact are what it consists of.


Sermon on Language

This - I mean whatever comes to mind when you read this - is an organization - from the proto-Greek organ-grindo, "the music swells, the monkey dances"- dedicated to enshrining reality deep in the heart of itself. Its code name is Language, and it was invented a war or two ago - actually during the Second Gobi War, the one that ended the paleolothic - to con- fer on sunlight such blessings as "It is sunning," or "The sun is raining," or "Shine happens," according to the by-laws of your local lodge. For individual languages - like Basque or Xhosa or Cantonese or French - are in fact created and sustained as lodges of the ancient freemasonic society of Speakers, the ones with Language on their side, the so-called humans. All other societies -and every form of society- is subsidiary to this, this elegant and persuasive artifact which self-embeds its rules and by-laws at once in every member who pays the dues of breath - what we call speaking. You do not have to think very long or hard to learn that all mysteries are ensconced in language and extractable from language, and that obedience to the intricacies of language in turn reveals the exact astro-dynamic efflorescent energy of place and circumstance we nickname Truth. The con- juncture. The lock. The habit the heart wears in the market, the song it hums in the bathroom, the text encoded in its midnight snores. Language is astrology indoors, it is the moon in the bed- room and the sun in your pocket, its rules are your rules and there is hardly a rumor - though there is a rumor - of anyone disobedient to its prescriptions. Timid Nietzsche and meek Blake followed its laws like lambs, and Lenin lay down with De Maistre to graze on public language. Only the one - there was one - who woke up to the sleep of named things ever broke the lodge law and got away with it. All the way away. Faint- ing, we follow.

Robert Kelly
20 April 1993

Page: 1
from the proto-Greek organ-grindo "the music swells, the monkey dances."

RIFF to Kelly's Chapbook Extension The Invaders


**~Eau de Vie~ (Paris Revery)**

~Apres moi le deluge...~

~Il pleut sur la ville...~

But in my heart
it no longer cries.
It only stands there
drenched in the downpour,
hair dripping,
beard streaming,
a madman,
crying out!
Brother, Sister
feed me!
Crying out:
Mother, Father
embrace me!
The streets are inundated,
the monuments of national glory are sinking away...
But the madman
only stands there,
refusing even to learn
how to swim,
crying out,
quench my thirst!

**Pleasures of Philosophers**

~Evviva il cotello!~
Long live the little knife!
cried the audiences
of the 18th Century
at the pures ong
of the castrati
Ah, pathetic beauty,
plenitude of violence
~Fre're Jean-Jacques~
~Fre're Jean-Jacques~
City, World, Conflagration
"And you, M. Voltaire,
noble lover of truth,
have you found any yet?"
ding, dong, ~dang~

**Cultural Affairs**

A woman waiting in line
in Berkeley, California
"I'm not a woman,
I'm a Gyno-American.
"And I'm expanding
my vaginal aura,"
she said
would certainly get
my vote,"
said me.
"Thank God
I'm an atheist,"
said Buñuel.

Everyone seems to be going a little mad
One world, one peace.

The man in the moon the man
in the moon and the man in the tree
in the tree. in the tree in the moon

The Noble Savage is dead.
Long live the Noble Sausage.

Long live Television.

"And we're all gonna be typhoons"

Repeat Chorus

~O Glivvia farriva~
~Me darlin' baleful dread,~
~Donut murther we~

**We** (II-1)

Roses and the light,
rows of lavender
On a sun-drenched field,
the Empire of Humanity
founders upon a dewdrop
Love, like any perennial,
sometimes fails, loses color, falls
to the ground,
which is reptilian
and unblinking
because it has no lid
and cannot shut its eye,
seeing everything,
remembering nothing
We sleep under stars, clouds,
the surging weather
and when our bodies
rise to the surface,
halos encircling mute faces,
the gentle waves
wash away our tears



Ohio Zen

Remarks prepared for the "Storming the Reality Studio" panel (moderated by Larry McCaffery, "refereed" by Robert Coover, and featuring Kathy Acker, Ginevra Bompiani, Marc Chenetier, Samuel R. Delany and Michael Joyce) as part of Unspeakable Practices II, Festival of Vanguard Narrative, Brown University February 24-27,1993.

Years ago I sometimes walked through honeysuckle hills of southern Ohio with my father-in-law, a man who knew all the names of trees and the Indian cure for asthma. Because it was the seventies I, of course, did as my electrodes told me and romanticized his sense of nature. One time just as we emerged from a steamy trail of maples and low sassafras into the light, he said, "Lookie there, how beautiful that is!" I tried to see what he saw against the far hills, but saw only the contrail scars of a distant jet across the sky.

"What's that, Pete?" I asked.

"Them contrails," he said, "are beautiful."

I don't know much about algebra, don't know what a slide-rule is fo', don't know much about reality studio, but I do know, or think I know, that to be a vanguard in an age that bottles vanguard like papaya salsa will likely involve Ohio-mindedness, a constant state of oscillation and contrariness (what hyperfiction writer Carolyn Guyer calls the buzz-daze) whose zen becomes the truism etched by chase lights into terrazzo by that Ohio zen sensei Jenny Holzer: "At times inactivity is preferable to mindless functioning."

Those who do not understand histamines are condemned to repeat sit-coms. We will need an Ohio-zen in the fantasy islands of Fujisney, where before long everyone will be able to sniff the lie of virtuality and author grave stones with chase lights. The problem with virtual reality (which is to say our imagination of the future) is that it attempts to reproduce the supposed seamlessness of the aural,visual, and psychological world. No contrails. VR as it stands means to be meaningful when it should be event-full, or empty (and so fall down and surrender).

Thus I'd like to propose what I'd call an aesthetic of %a- polemikos%, of giving way(s) to time, of sit calm rather than sitcom. A swooning zen in which the first thing a vanguard ought to do is give up, stay where we are, even go backwards. Look for someone to surrender to; insist that someone's in charge. Which is to say, look for an edge, the temporary autonomous zone, the interstitial. Such a zen involves a six-fold way.

1) Forget toys. Those of us who grew up when there used to be New Cars know that technology is three card monte and sells the future as a hedge against unhappiness about the cards on the table. The Ohio-minded shift through the whole range of Hydromatique before moving to StratoCruiser. Which is to say, make art in the technology possessed by the most of whom you think your current audience is; it will make them both happy and perplexed about the need for a trademarked future.

2) Be like Eve: point out how they always change the names, eat the centerpiece, get dizzy at the big dance and fall down. In our garden of endless representation, aflow in the heavy water of the aleatory convergence, we think we are aware of the merging of somethings into Something Hypermedia, multiple fiction, virtual reality, autopoesis, semantic space, simstim, cyberpunk, cyborg, grundge, rave, wax, or the discovery of television among the bees, sweet honey in the rock and roll: Dave moves into the Ed Sullivan studio. "Give it up," as Arsenio says.

3) Wonka not Disney. "So much time, so little to do," instead of "small world afterall." Let our desire be a criticism that lapses before the form and so won't let form return to transparency; a criticism in which-- rather than standing still--"With each step," as Laurie Anderson says, "you fall forward slightly./And then catch yourself from falling.."

4) Stop fucking yourself. Whether you live in a MUD or a VR (a multi-user dimension/dungeon or a virtual reality), don't measure interaction as first personhood. Interaction manifests itself through recognition, sympathy, and witness as much as through impersonation, perception, and exploration.

5) Mind your manners. When authorship is proferred, refuse it; when authorship is generalized, claim it. If they say you're an author, refuse to be; if they say everyone's an author, tell them your name is Willa or Edna. Constant declination continually renders control meaningless. We need to be content and in so being become the content of our own passionate technology.

6) Sometimes a vanguard ought to look like an old guard. Tell stories about fathers-in-law and when there used to be automobiles, have great expectations, let the dead come back to life on the overleaf. It is as Helene Cixous says, "the mode of passivity is our way-- really an active way-- of getting to know things by letting ourselves be known by them. You don't seek to master... [b]ut rather to transmit: to make things loved by making them known."


I do not mean to tell you how to read this as much as how you might think of writing it. These spaces offer some idea of what has lead to the time I write this, what I think as I do so, and what might follow from it. All of these spaces (at least those contained within this section called "myself") are meant to be in the most authentic voice I can here summon, knowing aside from the theoretical questions that my own authenticity is always in question even for me. Aware always also that as soon as you have read this I begin to disappear or, like Mallarme's swan, freeze into the form of my own inaction.

( 9.20.92 summer's end)

*Ten years later

My search is for what authentically can be said about a life, how people talk about what is in their hearts and whether it is possible to do so at all outside the ironical. 6..13.91


Forms begin to show themselves. I just took a call from Julia P at the VC public relations office asking for a brief definition of hypertext. I gave her the one from ^the encyclopedia article, "Hypertext readers not only choose the order of what they read but in doing so also alter its form by their choices."

Then, moments later, writing in the space called "Transformations," I name Bess Julia. I am beginning to see again how these stories crisscross themselves, and again find myself falling back on this stratagem of not so much confusing as _fusing_ identities in the way Jane Yellowlees Douglas suggests^, moving one fictional space over another as in my (old favorite) image of the stereopticon. Thus, since these spaces are meant to take a first step toward opening contours up to whoever you are (and hello to you, love; call me up and I'll put your name here; actually the whole point is that you can do so yourself, no?), this note marks such a shift, such a weaving.

Otherwise these have been brilliant days here as I wrote in the journal for Jera, who is the model for Obie, this his "book" (what Wittgenstein calls an album).

Laundry done^. Beautiful soup. Jewel autumn afternoon.

^_Laundry done. Beautiful_

eggplant, carrot, zucchini, potato, onion, garlic, hungarian peppers, macaroni shards, chicken, italian sausage, lime pickle, anchovy, bottled scotch bonnet


"Living means wanting everything that is, everything that lives."

*temps vierge

"Not a blank to be filled or an untouched space to be conquered and violated, but a space which can enjoy its own potentialities and hopes and its own presence to oneself... compassionate time, rooted in the sense of common illusion and in criticism of it..."
Merton, _Asian Journals_


			morning spent in ladder zen
			all the while thinking
			this is not working
			my life is wrong
			I am not empty
			now it nears empty noon
			om mani padme hum

^the encyclopedia

Encyclopedia on English Studies and Language Arts, NCTE and Scholastic Press, forthcoming

*_autumnal walkings_

Two days ago two ducks swam the thin rapids beneath the foot bridge along Fontyn Kill (just past the Shakespeare garden), the bridge I think of as the place where I made my pact with Eamon against my anger when we stopped here this past summer.

At my footfall on the bridge they splashed ahead into the small pool, gliding and widening it in doing so: mallards.

Later the storm lays down a large tree along the drive in front of Rombout, the crack and wheezing sigh followed by the easing thud in the persistent rain and constant wind.

Yesterday morning by the gravel path around the shore of Sunset Lake (which darkens and seems deeper now than its jade-scummed late August shallows) three crows sat in profile just beyond the bridge of the pact. Returning last night three drummers beat talking rhythms on the opposite shore where they sat on a bench beside a lone fisherman. Whether their drumming was prompted by the new age lunacy of Iron John fervor or whether it was actual, africana or indian, the sounded rich and melancholy in the pinkish twilight of the still lake as I made my way past the red barn where we sheltered from the rain, across the stone wall, and home.

*In my journal I wrote

     "The Heron gone for days now. 'It's just the ice
	 I don't like,'
	 said the woman cashier at the Retreat."

*After eating good curry

a moment of euphoria, followed by the
feeling of loss, missing you boys this day of bridges and men
drumming. (And because I cannot stand it, I call.)

This morning wake late to cold, clear sunlight the day after steam begins to fill radiators in this old house making it hard to breathe or sleep.

On the way back from my walk, the heron not gone but doubled, a mirror bird in the mirror pond beyond (I draw in my journal).

On the walk pumpkin furred caterpiller crosses my path where yesterday the striped wooly caterpiller also crossed.

Hornets ceasing on the path, their wings heavy and dull with cold.

A lone dove flies off into the wood.

As the girl who keeps the ecological station drives off in her brown Toyota wagon, bundled in a dark sweatsuit.

The African woman who lives at the ramshackle student house across the lane from Rombout keeps a blanket spread out in the sun on her lawn, day and night; a blue on blue print of stars and beasts (whales or antelopes I cannot tell from the lane as I walk past). It may be a beach blanket, I don't know, but she sits there days, her village as much as this my desk, my screen, mine.

^not so much confusing as fusing

"As I begin at the place, it, I am not certain of the identities of the "he' and "she" who lie talking in bed...

"...you can trek across a single place four times, as I did, and discover that it possesses four radically different meanings each time. It wasn't until I encountered a place more than twice that I realized that the words themselves had actually stayed the same

"each... breathes life into a narrative of possibility which momentarily obliterates the other possible, but yet to be actualized, versions of reality. During my third and fourth encounters with the same place, the imediate context remains the same as in the second, what changes is my understanding of the larger picture of adultery, deceit, and (as another possible reading suggests) the guilty panic of a man... "
--Jane Yellowlees Douglas,"Understanding the Act of Reading: The _WOE_ Beginner's Guide to Dissection." _Writing on the Edge _2.2 (Spring 1991): 112-126.

*Wolf Island

white sheets over us in november light
this morning next to you
a memory of the Wolf Island ferry
sweet as death
the lost eventless lines of summer
picket fence, sunlight, waiting
in a line of waiting
a memory sweet as death
and as substanceless
just the summer and the light
the waiting, everything which is
gone and lost, our sons'
infancies, our dead parents' cigarette smoke
forming the november sunlight
the cars before us and behind
distant Kingston, beautiful women
beautiful men, tender
and swollen flesh, smells
of fish (the Quebecoise angler's
wrapped into a furtive plastic "wallet")
memory in a line of memory
bass from the weed bottom
at pleasant lake, the instant as
green from green swirls up
and smashes the still surface
boys knifing into the slip
as the ferry nears
everything which is
gone and lost, the puffed
swell of labia, ticked
nipple, light wrapped
substanceless sweet light
the meaningless wait
between isle and mainland
along a row of white cottages
gardens of pansies, post office,
chips shops & British woolens
the blast of conditioned air
inside the cushioned buick
diesel ferry, cadet sailors
lovers and strangers at the rail
the slow looping slant of
silver spittle to the distant
surface of the river's roil below
words, sunlight, sweet death
nearing the lost city


The Card Players

Grammatici certant et adhuc
sub iudice lis est.

Digo, paciencia y barajar.


1. Never play cards with a man called Doc.

2. Jam to-morrow and jam yesterday--but never jam today.

3. The rules are always subject.

4. Literature's always a good card to play.

5. When in doubt, win the trick.

But do they cohere? A collapse of
intersections traces the path etched
in copper intaglio.

A small shrine freezing behind an
unused barn. Pedestal, stupa,
cracks in stone glint with ice

Late hour dogs bark--rusted gates
rankled by squall.

Grandfather clock crowns narrow
stairs. Dank house in sequestered

Avocados and oranges not allowed
across the border.

Wires triggered by rectangular holes
in a revolving iron disk. Chordal
music spills from antique case.

In response, I devise my own deck of
cards. Composed of paragraphs that
cartoon when they are flicked.

Gully through the trees auroral at
dusk with its snow-polished grades of
rose and kangaroo.

Miniatures spring from one pixelled
cloud to the next. Clouds drift
explicitly with no hand in sight.

I will sit next to you with a fresh cup
of tea.

It was in the cards--fanned,
distanced into glossy arrays.

Thankful for some consciousness of
me as I draw cards in the dark.

On an flickering throne, king
elevated in alleged control of the
chaos of letters.

Robe bursting open in electrified

A keyhole, in case you need it.

Pair of aces, animated, of
approximate height. A store,
supplies, instant art. Just add

But they do not cohere. Unlike those
coated with plastic, when shuffled,
the edges fray, buckle--unstable in

As suspected, I was stuck with the
can of Folgers.

The way you tell the story, I see
them at one end of the house eating
and playing cards while you sit alone
at the other end.

Shoelaces drop lazily onto an finished
dais, oiled and uneven. Are there
flammable liquids?

Curled next to me in the stabbing
dark. Shampoo fragrance molds itself
to crease in unseen sheets.

Sun peels ribbons revealing grass
nested in dissolving stripes of snow.

Palm trees slant, border of parade.
Miami route iced with skyscrapers,
colored lights.

Suits reveal full cuts of light. Long
limbs intend, protracted and flush,
contour of serrated shapes.

A yelp--took every effort of the
muscles to bring it up. Shards of
clock-glass splayed in card player's

Metal prongs clap edges of cards that
slap in succession. Each image,
snags, resists--then slides into the
sputtering blush.

Yes, but were the windows framed
with ligaments of colored lights?

Scented but alone you enter your
chamber of sheep.

I won't go to bed if you don't ask me.
This doesn't happen if you're asleep.

Palm trees in emitted flux, flick in
time to their 8-bit beat. Desert
electronic, lurid sands lure
struggling feet.

Only the fore edges of each card are
needed; keeping the insert off will
only require endless overtyping.

Cards spread in a circle of light.

In the spectered, hollow church,
scenes of torment char the child-like

A pimento scarred me once.

Field is carmine, a wazir crawling
with ease through a rainbow wheel of
icicles and cloud.

The "voyage of discovery" incised in
pastel. Pencil line precise as long as
card is not turned.

Identical en visage but one with
fronds more attenuated. Vivid
greens of leaves stirring step.

The postulant's arrears--brazen
snapping on the glass table.

Below which is a banner, frayed at
edges, lacerated tongue. Scepter
balanced between two fingers.

Shaky because she is late. Stockings
the astronauts touted on the new
moon of the 8th.

Wild card from the cantina with its
many supple creases.

Egyptian frond's de-centered light.
Trey-balancers with perfect pitch.

I count them--one, two. Obliged to
stand side by side in the player's

Frond on the crown of the circles of

Tomorrow the card players depart.
The house a draw except for the
creak of occasional sleep.

Branched their roots writhing on
bare rock--etching saffron winter.

Minerals rise from hunger riddled
tang of acids. Rings of seclusion
sting familiar strata.

The vulnerability that bends in the
middle when not expected.

Spilling from my hand there are so
many of them they curl as I try to
hold on.

Card trick for those for whom
luxuriant dining has lost its thrill.

German deuce, the model, hungers
wide-mouthed. Der Spiegel on the
Moroccan throne.

Invent a deck to evade the clamor.
First, vanadium streaks between
burned trunks. The second
completely black.


Robert Anbian's third book, Antinostalgia, came out last year from RuddyDuck Press.

The latest of Charles Bernstein's many books is Dark City, forthcoming this Spring from Sun and Moon.

Gary Gach has published his poems and translations in over 80 magazines and 8 anthologies, including American Poetry Review, City Lights Review, Technicians of the Sacred, Exiled in the Word, and Zyzzva.

Lydia Gil, originally of Puerto Rico, now teaches in Birmingham.

Loss Pequeño Glazier's most recent book is Small Press: An Annotated Guidefrom Greenwood.

Ernesto Grosman has published English translations in The American Poetry Review, and has translated Charles Olson and Charles Bernstein into Spanish.

Jorge Guitart's A Foreigner's Notebook was issued by Buffalo's Shuffaloff Press.

Habitually in transit somewhere between Indonesia, New Mexico, and Hawaii, Matthew Huddleston is also at work on his travel journals.

Acclaimed by Robert Coover in The New York Times Book Review, Michael Joyce is author of the hypertext novel afternoon.

Robert Kelly is presently working on Queen of Terrors, a book of short fictions. His Selected Poems 1960-1992, recently gathered, is forthcoming.

Richard Kostelanetz has published visual, aural, video, and holographic writing. The New Poetries and Some Old is his second collection of essays on poetry. Solos, Duets, Trios, & Choruses is his most recent collection of poems.

Joel Kuszai meditates to ambient noise when not folding Meow Press chapbooks.

Susan Schultz teaches at the University of Hawaii and has published in the electronic journal Postmodern Culture, Talisman, and has a Leave Books chapbook "Another Childhood".

Kenneth Sherwood just finished polishing his trumpet.

When last heard from, Katie Yates was in Albany reading Muriel Rukeyser.