Saturday, December 7, 2013

Three Poems

High Modernism

In the devotion of rhetoric [in French poetry before Verlaine] to either beauty or truth, there is a certain consciousness of an audience, of an external judgment: rhetoric would convince, be admired. It is the very essence of poetry to be unconscious of anything before its own moment of flight and the supreme beauty it will never attain.” – Arthur Symons

The word “like” has broken
the blood brain barrier
of an entire generation,
like a gulp of terror:
don’t kill me, don’t judge me, don’t commit me
– do you, like, like me? The cautious hedging
of every possible bet, it’s far too dangerous
for any courage of one’s convictions
in even the simplest of declarations.
How smoothly we’ve adopted the fake patois
of the stoner slacker beatnik fraud
because it’s, like, cool, as Shaggy said,
to have the attention span of insects,
the stuttered speech of dislocated consciousness,
with the only word that matters now
counted like a pulse in the trance of endless sleep,
where generation upon generation of impressionable children watch
Gilligan’s Island episodes hundreds of times apiece
without ever seeing how they’re teeming with sexual
Intelligence is in an offsite computer,
the brain a signal processor, code interpreter
remotely controlled—but at least a machine
trusts in God to work, here everyone is
sticking out their tongues for pharmaceuticals,
and their arms unconditionally on command
for a flu shot that makes them get tattoos
and dance to heart-attack inducing
excuses to rape women, the monkey DNA inside
reducing them like fine China white in a spoon.

Our heroes are just slaves,
Our heroines on heroins,
Our preferences are saved
of kill myself or kill all of them.
The clones called politicians
sprinkle truth like fine white powder
upon the thinnest whole cloth tissues of lies
they call the issues of the day.
Our food is filled with tumors,
our water catches fire,
as they seed the skies with barium,
have sound waves jar our minds,
have science prove our lying eyes are wrong.
It was a wildly botched
lab experiment
this last century,
a colossal failure at every level
although it produced all kinds
of amazing and unintended results,
like Silly Putty and auto-sushi-mats
and expressions like “kid stays in the picture.”
It’s a history of
the end of history
at its end, our linear braincase
cracked with broken links,
pay-as-you-go fantasy machines,
pornograph placebo
cranking out the junk-sick beats
of needle chic calling sheeple to the steeples
beaming out its microwave short-order circuit
wizardry to bend the shorted minds
on encyclopedias of chaos,
a schizophrenic satire-collage,
solipsistic stream-of-consciousness
caterwaul. The great culling has begun.

Chacun à son propre infini.
Immortality means
all the obligations
of celebrity,
none of the fun.
The purpose of coming to earth again
is to punch it up on the rewrite
for we tell stories first and foremost
when it is said and done.
As the moon waxes and wanes
so does our emptiness hunger
but you can’t teach a new moon old fingers.

Nostalgia-sick I am
for shooting galleries in the grand and central terminals
and agitprop art event announcements
stapled sad to abandoned warehouse plywood doors,
for days of old when boys just laughed
and left the game alone,
before the wind cried Cesar Geronimo
to Bob Gibson’s rising incoherent murderball,
before replacement gods were hatched
just to be retracted back
by the Aristotelian death cults of Venice
who bought and sold the universe
and hurled it as a dismal diurnal
darkened void of stone
with all the immortality of a black hole,
before the word of mouse
and the long strange tip of project artichoke’s
day-glo mustard and Esalen champagne
on rock salt ice for later use at the mkultra acid baths,
before Eugenics became Genetics
and the subjugation of women through feminism
and op-art hallucination mini-skirts,
before the dormant Queen of Hearts
could terminate by altar command
with playing cards that hide the tarot in plain sight,
ancient divination from the alien
snakes from above and underground
performing a cauliflower lobotomy
with heterocosmic archeobotany,
before the wet jobs and Glimmerglass
and the Knights of the Order of the Garter
created virtual tribes afraid of their own shadows
reliably liable to crack, like all the stacked debts of Baal.
Idealism needs only to be believed to be victorious,
Materialism needs everything but itself to be destroyed.

(It may be a tin-foil pipe dream hat but
don’t bogart that hat,
it’s gold cinquefoil with tailfins,
the hat of a different color,
heavy is the head that wears that hat,
the hat that got your tongue,
success has gone to your hat,
the moon is a harsh hatcheck girl).

The train is calm as the passengers soak up
damnable lies from dry newsprint
while the skies are criss-crossed by unmarked planes
spraying conductive metal salts to block the sun’s rays
and no one seems to notice or mind.
They can’t kill all the fish in the sea, after all,
or change the color of the sky too much, but they can
control your mind through your smart phone waves
and program you through the smart dust
of this spray line of lithium trails that veils our world.
No, there’s nothing new in any of this,
it’s not even more refined. Take joy when they say
it’s to save the weather, for they finally admit they are doing it,
what’s been going on all this time.

In old little leagues the whiffletree
still sits crying to be born.
October’s octopi in the ghost land of the fens,
in chain-saw weather, remembers all that was
and never has been,
the blues played like a sick kiss
on the Sun god’s muddy mike.
I sink my teeth into some Hollyween irredentistry
but time flies for no dude.
Possibilities are the last refuge of the sleeping.
The fish is already covered in fur
(put that in your this is not a pipe and smoke it!)

On November's Buck Rogers clock
dry snitching for a juice card with the duck
for a stainless steel ride or parole to paradise
on a karmic roulette wheel, they deal me in
with brake fluid, bug juice and wolf tickets to sell
in a ghetto penthouse, picking up road kill in peels
before the ninja turtles insectival with their monkey mouths
go "if you dance upon the blacktop you go dutch."

December’s mildewed decadents sigh
on a pharmacologically frozen rose,
another quid pro snow, a neural zone infraction,
a meta-amphetamine meta-languaging
hyperactive hypodermic solution
that cooks a mean book
of whirled war peas
as seen from the dervish service station
by the dustdevil crossroads truck stop, dog track
and temporary amusement park, but circus people
suffer more than most, usually in silence.
I represent in purple on a divan in full flaneurhood
but true flaneurie is dead, in McCoy truth.
There are yachts to sail and foundations to run.
The British have their causes. We have our deeds.

Rodriguez the Sugar Man
in a red plastic overcoat
felt he owed a little something to the lost;
how long it took him to realize he wasn’t
like them.

Autumn Poem

Gold dies in the green pond’s reflection
                The geese bathe backwards in unison
                And disappear in a sudden splash
Of illusion on cloud-mottled glass.

Chasing hieroglyphs of squirrel tails
                More heard than read, as the forest flails
                Like our life and death – as mystery;
Seeds drop – the secret stays – under leaves.

Birds call to me from whirring trees
                That are the consciousness of the breeze,
                To hear what only hearts can recognize:
How silent this grace that overrides.

A stream clogged with sheets of sky-starched brown;
                The woods are now dropping underground.
                The geese are now floating past my eye.
The cold, inside of me, starts to cry.

At The Bowling Alley

Usually she just sat there
like a mouse without cheese
breathing in seething streams
the hideous tar of her Kent smoke
hoping only that it objectified the loathsomeness
of all she saw, heard, smelled and touched
– even the blue bean-box ashtray full
of her own pink and noxious butts.
The automated pin monkey sent back
the pink marble Brunswick balls
to the sound of dungeons flushing
like a ghost stuck in the machine.
Someone who thought reason alone
could answer might suppose this came
from an indifferent father and overbearing mother,
or some lack of kindness shown by an itinerant tinker
in some jeweled sepia moment in her past.
But all those suppositions would be wrong.
For the plain fact was
she were too inarticulate to even assume
a fixed identity, except in the vengeful
blood entitlement of dreams of annihilation
where everyone grieves the loss of their squalor.


the walking man said...

Sixto it has been reported, now done more than 30 sold out shows in SA, It is also reported he gave most of his earnings away to friends and family, he realized a long time ago he was old school Detroit. Not like them at all.

Hannah Stephenson said...

Oh, how fun to see your works today! Look at these three intriguing set of three. I think the second might be my favorite--all those hieroglyphs and signals and signs.

Anonymous said...

The first three stanzas of High Modernism have destroyed all but a few poems commenting on real life. So good they accidentally shamed a bunch of other things. I'm jealous!