Friday, May 23, 2014

from Teaching Poems

As if it was, and often it was, the only cultural capital we had

the present but fugitive body

iconicity is a form of make-over

a void we inhabit

see how really caught they are

the emptying out of self as a strategy

an autistic contiguous mode of thinking

the cuts are felt like characters

the cut (human sampling) is psychotic

with language from Glenn Ligon


The brick nature of it

the inherently unforgiving footprint for natural light

sunlight is directional

is it a point in motion?

find a way to break the system

the real townhouse problem

space itself is moving

when they connect they make something new, a new pose


A whiff of what life may be

we’ve not yet seen what a collective body can do

and we don’t even run away

that’s when we discovered tear gas doesn’t kill you

it’s not a weekend

I’ll step up this wreck

a sense of care for the social body in the moment after the crest

—with language from David Buuck


Very very very felt

sense of the simultaneous vacancy and presence

weightless/absence/words with ‘less’

a delineated presence that describes his absence

a lack/a half-desire

landscape-wise and temporally

when something becomes legible it becomes real

the language of the destroyer

stardescent soul

piles-up into thresholds

how you can talk about the scope of the universe

sort of God but really vague

paradoxes that are always present


An essence of movement

to make the rich think

dead ducks don’t need duck calls

being surrounded by human terms

pressing the leaf and the sound

gives the vegetable a voice

demanding that truth comes from context

this is a really sad poem

a remnant of the somatic


Not a person but a collection

collective thread not by race, gender

we are all… we are responsible for our actions

poetry as crystallization of time and place

architecture as crystallization of culture

what is movement

To see crisis not as a great hill…

We are concerned with movement / and stealing a little bit of life / in the metropolis

going into battle

            sounded like a dance when the police were tossing that woman

sort of like melodramatic

            describing it in the true form of what was happening

the art of rebellion is strange to me

            rebellion is awkward violence is awkward

the artistic remediation changes the reality

            just before the battle starts, the music

with language from Jackqueline Frost’s The Antidote


Replace the word ‘write’ with ‘dance’

            you are collaborating with time

with language from CA Conrad’s A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon


Stalking what people want us to see

            we want our names to last forever

the sass given back to people

            the kitschy items make up her personality

dresses like the Internet 

            the Internet persona before the Internet persona came about

over culture


Soft-eyed asshole

            soaking up my blue

breathe into a fire and it grows

            sounds that were sort of like words

music has a way of demanding space

            to divorce from the analytical

how expressive his whole being is

            words and languages being a civilization of sound

tone worlds

            a place is not made of its component parts… but sound

coming from silence and being born

            what does it mean to write down and print one of his poems?

the lyric is a sign that speaking is taking place


Wedded to this order and sequencing

            it’s a little alone

with language from Fred Moten’s B Jenkins


Recognition, recognition of misrecognition, misrecognition of misrecognition

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Dirty Flows

—for David Buuck 

What buries us
And what we buried

Hearing at the limits
Of what we will have

Any body
Hold me like a
Sound over the water

Of history dirt doesn’t
Bother to write

When what we can’t
See kills me
I can’t see the
Bottom of the words

What will have been
The price we paid

Another amusement
Enacting afterglow

Cross-breeze and
Dirty flows


The battlefield air
The battlefield water
Someone said Canada
Is the Saudi Arabia
Of water

If what we do
Is a project
I am the rejectamenta
Of what sounds
The marching armies

I am that army
Of effects before
Their causes made
A sound

I am form
And I am wave


What will have been
Green the soldiers
Shepherd common being

In a future we
Can’t perceive

In a past
We don’t depend
On when

Where doesn’t matter

Repeat the dirt
In your veins

The fire in the voyage.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Notebook fragment ("Dear Julie")

I asked my students to write letters and to make those letters into poems. This was a letter I wrote, after seeing Julie Ault's Macho Man, Tell it to My Heart at Artists Space this past winter.

Dear Julie,

I keep thinking about your show at Artists Space, Macho Man, Tell it to My Heart, which closed this past Friday, sadly. I wanted all my students to see it, all of New York really. Because it was transformative in a way that art is rarely transformative. All of those objects together, hung salon-style on the walls of the space, without plaque or caption. Without names art is leveled. We see truly the work itself—the pleasure it gives us—and its place within a larger ensemble. I went to the show with my friend Arnold. And between the two of us we could piece together who did most of the works. But then there were pieces we also loved and couldn’t attribute, like the painting of a girl washing the floor, all that water represented in bold, athletic strokes of green paint. The way her labor was desultory, joyous. We were left wondering who nailed a bag of marbles to the wall and placed one playing card beside it, a magical pairing of objects. Arnold said, why don’t more artists do that? I couldn’t believe you had two Paul Thek newspaper paintings. And I loved the Felix Gonzalez-Torres light bulbs, which I would have missed had Arnold not pointed them out. Often I wonder what our relationship to art should be. Your show illuminates this question. To acquire works as an act of friendship; to have all of these precious objects together as a reminder of what gives (and gives and gives) your life meaning. To mourn the dead because the objects—their physical proximity and placement among each other—make us feel that they are present again. 

Saturday, May 03, 2014

VIDA feature on The Claudius App

A handful of friends asked me what was going on after I spoke up at Facebook against the vile editorial practices of the The Claudius App. So quickly did the editors, Jeff Nagy and Eric Linsker (who never issued an explanation, let alone an apology for their misogynist editorial) take down the offending content, that there was nothing to point those friends to. VIDA just posted a feature, with statements from Eileen Myles and Dorothea Lasky, and screen captures of the content in question:

Thursday, May 01, 2014


Here is a poem The Academy of American Poets ran today, written after Paul Thek. Happy May Day!