Saturday, May 20, 2006

To Crown To Cover*


We see every outline as them
And yet they are not we veiled
By this event not desiring
To be gathered again
By some historical operation

I want to love them and yet I also
Want them flung exited by some
Side-door that only leads
To another wilderness deserts of
These withdrawn interviews.

An Autobiography of Henry James by Chris Marker

The eye sees the victims
From which its dislodged
And participates in its own
Capture in order to lose
The captive again
The cause of death

Hunting the hunter
Or the hunted having memories
Before they could be made
There are four frames
Four thresholds and therefore
Four ways to fear
In choosing oneself guilt pries
From us our fingers and
Stammers alibi

This womb of time a time of
Wounds becoming true
Unhealable the double at the
Door is not the double
You thought you were
But each so many fires
That burned us and
Gave us unbearable wills
While what we stalked were
What we still could be.


A need to hide radiantly
On the branches and in the white
Webbed hollow of a tree
As it roots too much.

The shadows only
Come alive
When they’re struck.

For now is not treasonous
Being like a wall before a stage
Not a question.


Cut to no longer closing
No longer this admired
Window but as we sing

Into an orifice monads cathect
Each other distantly
The distant spirals of these minute plans

Exceeding a pale of means
Or dates as they’re remarked
By a repetitious glance.

Cremaster III.

Those stilts your torso rests on
Frighten that half of me
Which is not myself

In a play of mending half-lives
And one more tooth
Blown out

Discharge makes for lived tableau
Time of costumes
Space of vicissitude

Meeting at Ground Zero
Culture dreams
A mass of like-to-kill

To claw where magic
Makes its face
And skin cools colder steel

Vaseline holds for allegory
We who remain
Much vicious and take lovers lately.


Promise me love
Your force disunite
A sky for our stalking
Singing the wilder
Fires of hoarded salt
No image forgives
Which strips us of sight.

Show me matter
Make me a new ring
For the eyes which cry
Rapt now I is reap
Now I’s a drowsy rim
By the waters of receded
Struggle and weather
Recalled by rhyme.

I fail to lift how I fail
And yet it goes on beginning
Anywhere in proposed song.

Rousseau Barouque

Opaquer flame hearth frame
Johanne know knowing only sometimes

Destroys the object known.
Cannibals show-brie-on,

Fire themes through a string
In the eye. See sky for what

We are not what opens
Too much towards its freedom.

About When, Which Should Never Be Forgetting’s Completion

I share this journey towards ice as you share I.
I share a name longing to feign recovery.
To sense thought was an instrument and yet the animal
Still noble. Who become us when it no
Longer matters whether we look.
We might frighten them if we did
Or forget forgetting too soon to be dead.

Dying is shed so why not do? Articles won’t
Be for us nor like anything. Hang up your guns
And thereby shoot crooked. The will becomes
A colder flame too much having been mastered
By love. When our only recourse is to go to hell.

Brakhage I.

Aggregate and slow light
Dive to
This snowblind burden again.

A mountain looming
Being awakened.


Clearly what we’re seeing
Are these patterns in-echo
Awoken in a cared-for wood

Wed to every existing expression
Placing this finger here
As if to verify the fact

Of this finger being here
Hearing prescription determinately
Words do also constitute

A time of fact
Memories of genes
Cling to other memories

To the hovering genealogies
Of a brain
Or a horizon gently scanned

We die imaginary deaths
So we may always
Like revenants return.

Brakhage II.

That this protective blink
Is actually I identified
By a circle which pierces me
Moved to an opening tone

To a diurnal rhythm
Of slow zooms to difference
Painted by energy and
We flick as far as we can

In that from which we came
Slowing these free-falls
In the body snow fallen
From an unlikely bough.






in fact


But a kind of sleep
Which may verify
This recognition

We citizens
Of the literal
We witnesses

Of the floating
Worlds I is the last
Time I noted myself

By quoting
Myself the risk
Of this is in

The search
Moving between
Two ranges

And pretending
To be
Of both.

By the Sounds Of What Was Taped as Tape Rolled

As the waves roll they also record
And as the passengers did not know
Their destinations they could not
Prepare for an afterlife.

All the tiny houses of the valley
Are recording this through premonition
Every shift of the wind inaugurates
A position by which we is no longer
Interpellated no coverage being enough.

I feel as though I am approaching it now
A place where suffering points to us
And tells us we are the thresholds
We will always be nothing more.

Not Reconciled

One too many lambs sacrificed by one too many buildings bombed.

And reconstituted by the way we walk the basement intact, firing artillery into a more open field.

He's driven this city too many times not to forget the narrow passage your traffic patiently is.

There are too many speeches lacking place for this not to be a film about memory, an embattled hymn or merely a poem.

If she recedes in a pure image of purer space she takes the gun from the drawer remembering prayers as remembering for itself, pleading statelessness & psychosis.

Choose your own reenactment, the other signs are chosen for us and shall not result in reconciliation.

Circles expanded impossibly by an enthusiastical organism.
Who may be lit all day yet do not dream they sleep.

The Preformed Weather

By so many blows in the dark
I remember you as a wandering caress
That has no other territory but voluptuous torque
Nearing forgotten breaths.

Twilight mark how many
Disappeared by hiding’s hidden
Glue bluish gray
Having cows as we may.

Caves within which to unsee
A screen left to its devices
To long unreflectingly without
Remorse for who are real.


To assume that the ballplayers were celebrating in real-time might otherwise seem absurd.

If You Would *Not* Have Visions

The phoney proposals of a hushed and raping voice.

The music of your most private fears.

Car-wrecks hovering on empty pylons.

The vampire, as his lips don’t move, but the answering machine picks-up and he somehow and distantly speaks.

The frozen.

Those words risen in the poem decomposed by a cracking tarn.

Uxorious doubles buried alive.

Music for the deaf, painting for the blind, recipes disappeared in a scentless index.

The unspeakable deeds of unprintable words.

The will to leave.

The face becoming larger as the camera pulls back simultaneously zooming forward.

The sense of terror that one would drink milk while in the background white noises are exploited her labor is that hum unoriginated attacking the nervous system.

The will to feel.

The face as the film burns.

The face as white overexposes.

The reason for tape loops.

Mobile termini.

A discriminate chopping.

The nostalgic bones.

This blood of the image.

The mind will catch up to the body. The memory will make such an adjustment to the screen. As the animal relays our gaze, and the words we are watching betray us. Is this the reason we have chosen to write? I have strayed and yet how I am struck by the symmetry of when we occur.

But I’m not nearly strong enough to forget these events. These moments of an endangered consciousness, laughing and laughing until death-do-us-part, trembling as one can not be at this conception twice. Torture and ecstasy forget only because they can only sense the present. The blood filling the mouth. This should not be hermeneutic.

I am alone now. This is the way you will know me. By a clearing when the treaty has broken. By the warring of war itself in the over-weaned light of telepathized day. The knocking of my autography at woods, the needing and not having of my words. They appear in a struggle to be attentive to immediacy. “However, there a mind’s complexity is a common factor in all minds.” How one understands the world to appear at all.

If there’s disinterest in a thing of beauty then for miles miles don’t touch. The doe doesn’t see the cross-hairs, nor does one need “get-off.” For a while there is no incorporation of the real, nor the fear of such an incorporation. A rock is truly a rock. A stomach never the home of becoming (i.e. merely digestive).

*composed Fall 2003

Friday, May 19, 2006

Now Man (Kiss Not)*

Home Is For Miles

Those buildings so painfully foreign
Of your life scarred and grown
Inwardly recalling them in pieces
I became afraid
At a meaning of light grown
To the symmetries of
In the impoverished nation.

Time sifted into time as it lives
In itself and we it
Standing for, standing against
That light so painfully foreign
To all be is
The apprehension of forms ruined by no one


Boning then
In some sense of the past
Legions go to harm to whip

At the first alarm of vanishing signage
The semaphore meaning
To kill every last one

Blinks unwittingly whose every tic
Of variant cane
Bears witness to the pirated

Echo of these pages
Waste products of more
Primitive accumulations.


How we would ever think to hide
In words “hellebore,” “hello”
Helter-skelter seeking shades
Private no more
The nose runs blood from this

Roses, Hellebore, hella’ bored
Words clip their own hair
Cultivating a fence linked
By twinkie intuition
And defeat.

The twitch of his nose
Grows like Pinocchio’s
Doing it sideways
To the slinky rhythms
Of late machines.

This latest paradise
Being close to what was meant
Through the walls of ourselves
Heavy petting
& patty cakes.

Of all our pretty things
Thick and thicker
Thickest starlets
You stick too much to this mold.

Pay Attention Motherfucker

This zone around the word
Its staying power leaves
From a place of fading substitution
For the subject’s watched-for back.

This is just to say
They shoot all night
At shadows on sheets
As though they weren’t cast
By intelligent things.

My body no longer
Follows me round
This corner upon seeing
Anything at all I knew
I was the first
I was the last to leave.

Tween and not so
So many chiefly
Filling the ditch with a hole
Not expending too soon
The meadows of our need
The truth like sorrow
Being all too sticky

Please Pay Attention Please

The position of the camera
Is the only
Of an un-

The eye goes first, then the
Fist – ah!
We want love, we
Remember love
As the mask of the lost
Waxen and everywhere
But where we, negligible, step.

To be
Be to
The predominate
To be implacably near.

Obselescent Choreographies

The people a corridor moulds us to be
Objects frozen by labyrinthine glass, by optical fibers
Would we appear erstwhile any intelligent design amnesiacs and claustrophobes?

(Un-)Mending Wall

Is he sinking into the floor
Or rising from it?
The still has changed
Waves of light outside these caves
Photographs of them.

As the entrance grows near
The heart beats a little
For never having been here
As the entrance grows near
Penetrate my ear
As music made by a lost year.

This sense of discovery is
Of tethers that free
The organs to leave
And anyone to arrest
The mind with their unwilling.

This sense of loss
Is of leaves to love
Is to go into any situation
Not wanting to kill
And being so unprepared.

A mode of seeing is not heard
The lips are tired of waiting to know
The terms of their custody
As neighbors we go to blows
Over who has the right to say
“I kiss not these lips.”


I’m not picky, really
I feel bad
For the way you move
Under the bright
Bright lights
Ceaselessly bugged.

I’m not picky
And the fog-
Machine’s not on

Yet you dare
A sense-
Less dance
Never done
With the tears of
Your undoing.

*composed Spring 2004.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Towards Exterior formatted

Fictions of Surveillance

For Harun Farocki

If a tree falls
and the only witness
is the image
of the tree…

If the image
itself is rootless
where fantasy doubles
and emerges…

Disaster mark
The lip of mouths unseen
Shed not light but shed
Light ideally

In idols the trains of doing
And the trains of fate, the trains of not
Doing, that the little oar blade
Is there, and there in the

Big wake
Of time that is us, we are the question
What the mouth discovers and
The eyes cover, what the veils eye

This distance our blade knife
Blade night
What occasional claims in idols
Occident and gas shed

Not light but shed
Visions a glass to stimulate
Flight simulator of proven movements
War exercises are practical truths

Perspective doesn’t complain
Of camouflage and the false
Cross red
Illusions of truer

Trees house gods men
See from space nightmarish
Project measuring man
To man.

If a tree falls or night
Falls on eyes shades
Dark shades a wake falls awake

If a tree falls like the
Solipsist’s body a common
Sense that each picture pictures

If we sing ourselves we must
Sing of other men this too
Must be a picture

What light breaking into song...

Not on
my life

the cross
is born

of night
and night

not dark

by a whim
of creation

an image


For the eyes too are products of light
Made of beams if you will
And human beings a research into
The sound of waves the wood pushing
A lapping furthermore and whereof

One image arrives without explanation
And another its shadow, and sanest
Words the shadowless discovering
Of veils and veils for veils sans eyes
A cropped mouth identifying the police

This too the world’s invention
This inversion, this Roman pack
This peace without peace.

Images outnumbering the soldiers
Bodies outnumbering measure
Photographs outnumbering the real.

Burnt as eyes withdraw from eyes
Sense grace withdrawing
Eyes from eyes graves burnt

As eyes withdraw from eyes
Sense grace withdrawing
Eyes from eyes graves

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Abby Walton's "Cook Book" (Blurb)*

This little book, a book without a title and comprised “merely” of 30 digital reproductions of Polaroid photographs taken of table settings, embodies much of what I find beautiful and important about Abby Walton’s art: an art of true grace, of daily devotions and meditations, and of an insistent practice of what, for lack of better term, I must call an “art of living.” Insofar as each Polaroid is wrest from the context of a familiar dinner gathering or elaborate party, together they are a document of a total care for the daily and a reminder of the ever-kindled hearth. That a commons should be beautiful, attended, loved. And in this last sense especially, the Polaroids and the book containing them are essential. Not a fashion-shoot for food, but indicative of a life that may be worth living.

*The "Cook Book" can be purchased at Printed Matter, NYC:

Peace on A presents: Alan Gilbert & Cathy Park Hong (Events Series)*

“A divergence without combat, or a peace with neither conquered or conquerors.”
--Emmanuel Levinas

*Peace On A* series


Alan Gilbert & Cathy Park Hong

Friday May 12th, 8PM

hosted by Thom Donovan at

166 Avenue A, Apartment #2
New York, NY 10009

Alan Gilbert’s poems have appeared in various magazines and journals including The Baffler, Chicago Review, and First Intensity; in the anthology *Free Radicals: American Poets Before Their First Books*; and online at The Poetry Project website. His writings on poetry, art, culture, and politics have appeared in publications such as Artforum, Bomb, The Village Voice, Time Out New York, and the website Jacket. A collection of critical writings entitled *Another Future: Poetry and Art in a Postmodern Twilight* was recently published by Wesleyan University Press. He has a Ph.D. in English literature from the University at Buffalo, and has worked as an art editor for the New York Foundation for the Arts and the College Art Association. He lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Cathy Hong’s *Translating Mo'um* was published in 2002. Her second book, *Dance Dance Revolution*, has been chosen for the Barnard New Women's Poetry Series and will be published by WW Norton in 2007. She is the recipient of NEA and NYFA grants, and spent last year in South Korea on a Fulbright Grant. Her poems have appeared in Volt, Denver Quarterly, Chain, American Letters, Commentary, and other journals. Currently, she lives in New York City, splitting time teaching at Eugene Lang college and working as a freelance journalist.

Peace On A intends an events series for work by emergent writers, artists, performers and scholars.

for inquiries and feedback please write:


Alan Gilbert:
*Form is never more than an extension of culture*. So goes Alan Gilbert’s telling play on Robert Creeley and Charles Olson’s famous proclamation: *Form is never more than an extension of content*. Reading Gilbert’s *Another Future: poetry and art in a postmodern twilight* the past few weeks has made me more hopeful about the future of poetry and art criticism in general, and proved to me that this future is far from foreclosed or prescribed. Perhaps the most sizeable aporia Gilbert has found his way out of with grace and reasonability through his collection of essays, addresses, and scholarly meditations is that after Language Writing -- what may remain the single most important literary generation prceding Gilbert’s and my own. If Language has made a thorough, if not effective, assault on linguistic representation what is left having faced this central dillemma? Beyond polysemy, transcendentalist "active reader" theories, beyond an ecstasy of (non-)communication Gilbert returns us to various sense-makings of context, history, agency, discourse, cultural and economic analysis too often lost in the projects of many writers associated with Language -- projects Gilbert has sited as self-assured in their "assured sense[s] of not making sense." If not making sense alone will not suffice for another future what will? For Gilbert we have acts of witness and a recuperation of the subject, however abject, in Benjamin Friedlander’s verse; we have micro-historical emergencies in the post-Olsonian work of G.S. Giscombe, Susan Howe, and Mark Nowak; we have an original way of writing history through a poetics of archivalism by way of Ed Sanders’ verse experiments. The list of important names, works of art, and ideas Gilbert has redirected our attention goes on… I look forward to listening to him read tonight to hear how his critical work translates into that other praxis: poetry.

Cathy Park Hong:
Part ethnography, part philological science fiction, largely a tour de force of witz… Cathy Park Hong’s forthcoming *Dance Dance Revolution*, from which I hope she will read tonight, imagines a future or ”alternative universe” through the soliloquies of a tour guide whose *lingua franca* encompasses Korean, German, West Indian, “Spanglish,” “Black English” and the English of Geoffrey Chaucer – the problems of whose work perhaps most resemble Park Hong’s own, however across the centuries. To read the work aloud, which I have had the pleasure of doing the past few months, is to sound what I believe Robert Duncan called “muthos” (of course punning on myth and mouth), and Nathaniel Mackey after Duncan language’s “discrepant engagement". In such engagements, it is language itself -- language as a multiplicitous expression of cultural desire -- which is ultimate master over the speaker/author. The singular voice we hear in *Dance Dance Revolution*, beyond Park Hong’s capacious imagination, is a voice of present necessity as cultural confluences and conflict become articulate in an uncanny glossolalia ventriloquizing us –- the reader! -- to make us mouthpieces for histories micro and macro, disastrous and joyful, wondrous and all-too-familiar. If the language of *Dance Dance Revolution* also risks hyper-codification or an elaborate language game it does so in a spirit of experiment and inquiry which can only benefit its eventual readers and critics, not to mention a larger poetic discourse addressing cultural forces at large.

--Thom Donovan


Every window contains
the memory of a body
seen through it,
along with a shadow that momentarily
erases its reflection,
because there are no
universal symbols,
such as sun and moon,
or loving the landlubbers,
and it’s hard not to take pleasure
in witnessing authority disgraced,
even if we internalize punishment
long before doing
anything wrong,
or are fearful of loss
and lacquer everything
with an opaque coat,
then tie it all down
as if it were a portable shelter
that might blow
from its rocky ledge
in the middle of the night,
which is why “sometimes”
is as close as it gets to “absolute.”
And so I’m not nostalgic
for Jimmy Carter;
I’m not nostalgic
for TV dinners
while watching allegories
unravel over a lifetime
in a staggered parabola,
asking: “Where’s mama?”
“Where’s papa?”
since there’s not just one
language to contest,
and the word “poetry”
is the lightest of beach balls
and the heaviest of boulders;
it’s running a standing start mile
with hurdles, high jump,
and a whole floor routine thrown in.
Therefore, I don’t mind
if you go ahead and shrug
your shoulders and smile
in that endearing way;
for a while I was addicted
to no longer being lonely;
in other words, I knew then
what I don’t know now:
Wings separate from the bodies
of most creatures,
and I’m burnt at the root
picking one small blueberry
staining the teeth scraping
the inside of a bowl,
similar to filling empty boxes
with more empty boxes
—all ones and zeroes—
and then pretending
it got lost in the mail.

--Alan Gilbert

1. Services

See radish turrets stuck wit tumor lights around de hotel
like glassblown Russki kestle wit’out Pinko plight,
only Epsolute voodka fountains. Gaggle for drink?

Twenty rooboolas, kesh only . Step up y molest
Hammer y chicklets studded in ruby y seppire almost
bling badda bling. Question? No question! Prick ear.

Coroner diagnose hotel as king of hotels ‘cos
luxury es eberyting. Hear da sound speaker sing ‘I get laid in
me Escalade/but I first sip gless of Crystal/den I whip out me pistol.’

No worry. No pistol in hotel, only best surgeon feesh y beluga
bedtime special. Deelicious. But before you tuck in king o’
water bed, befo you watch papa-view,

Be peripatetic y see snow bears merry on a ball or go
Be roused by molten sauna where Babushkas bap your tush
wit boar bristle switch. No childs allowed here. Mo mo?

De blood rust hes been Windexed to amber shine,
de insurrecta's marauding soul wetted into papa-machetes,
de looted radio back in de propa municipal hands.

Here be city of ebening calm, da fire-rilers gone.
If you want true heestory, go watch tailor
maki magic. He more revolutionary den artist.

If you dream only for Paris, dat is right outside de
atrium, beyond de sand dunes, which form y disappear
like mekkinations of human digestion. Sand swirl

to otherworld land where blankets da weight of human
bodies tatter y pill. No tatting, no pilling here. Da sand will
be in your eye, only sometime.

--Cathy Park Hong

* The above image is a detail from Anton Van Dalen's *81 Birds*.