See ya. Hands wild at the wheel, I question everything but the knocking sound that means we will eventually stall. I question everything but the scan function on the radio. And you say you’re all wool and a yard wide • shreddin’ the gnar • • shreddin’ the gnar • “You’re not Christ, you’re not Prince Hamlet, you’re not even Ralph Nader.” Apparently I am neither at John Godfrey nor Claire Hero’s readings. Instead I am sitting on my office floor using a weird voice that seems part robot and part child. OK. There were things to dislike in “Sukiyaki Western Django,” but I ended up loving the “bad American accents” spoken intentionally by the Japanese actors, possibly the director’s comment on English-speaking viewers who make fun of Asian accents in English dubs. Tarantino also mashed up his southern and western drawls, and spoke in what I’m guessing was pretty bad Nihongo. And each name is both YES and NO YES and NO YES and NO. And Paul Legault wrote a ‘memory translation’ of Ashbery’s “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror”, which won Ashbery a Pulitzer and the National Book Award, and the first time I went to Paul’s apartment in Crown Heights he used his manuscript to prop open the bedroom window so we could smoke pot and not piss off his roommates. And I had a dream (Spicer says this is a false thing to say in a poem) that Spicer grabbed me by the back of my neck, and with his fingers he plugged my nostrils and my mouth, and he covered my eyes and leaned into my ear and whispered, “I have your holes.” And when I got back to my apartment it was still a pretty respectable hour and my roommates were smoking at the kitchen table, a large envelope covered in Hello Kitty stickers between them. “Omigod I think you got more fan mail please open it so we can see, plus the new Vogue and Beyoncé is on the cover,” one of them said. I opened the envelope, dutifully sipping a teacup of water, and pulled out a lipstick-kissed copy of Kate Durbin’s new book, Kept Women. Underneath that envelope was another envelope containing another copy of Kate’s book, this time from the editor of Insert Blank. Being, as I was, kind of drunk and desperately wanting to chain smoke while doing something creative yet having not the energy to finish the poem I’d started writing in my head in the cab home from Broome street, I decided to read the entire book aloud. “Presently” “we neared a pale beach,” “narrow” “with trees behind it” “thick & blue-black,” “& lights” “many lights” “deep inside the” “wooded land” “I touched bottom” “& walked ashore” “Then I saw” “a final entity,” “airy image, pass” “out of my body —” “from my forehead” “A small shape,” “perhaps brain-shaped,” “that seemed to” “contain in miniature” “the cave network” “where I had been” “I saw the rooms —” “the caverns —” “streaked with color,” “dotted with lights,” “but all tiny” “as in a honeycomb” “The image” “receded, “gently floated” “away” “on the wind,” “like a flower” “a hibiscus —” “all reds & darks” “& yellow glow—” “Or like a lantern,” “paper lantern” “Then was gone.” “The others” “other swimmers” “had not walked ashore” “with me” “I turned to find them” “I thought they must be” “still floating” “in the water” “But they had vanished,” “I was alone” “Myself &” “alone” “Yet emptied” “of much, it seemed” “I felt unburdened” “& even buoyant”. Running cockroaches start to recover from being shoved sideways before their dawdling nervous system kicks in to tell their legs what to do. Who loves ya, baby? As far as you go / In one direction, all the further you’ll / Have to go on before the way back has / Become totally indivisible.
[Note: Sources: JBR; Elizabeth J Colen, “Two or Two Hundred”, at Anti- 8; Owl Brain Atlas, FB post, 22 Feb 013; X-Files, as quoted by Arielle Guy, FB post, 22 Feb 013; Deborah Marie Poe, FB post, 22 Feb 013; JBR; Jean Vengua, FB post, 22 Feb 013; Joseph Bradshaw, “Poetics” and “The New York School”, as quoted in “Joseph Bradshaw”, at Elective Affinities, 21 Feb 013, via Mitch Taylor, FB post, 22 Feb 013; JBR; Carina Finn, “Kept Women & Other Concepts”, at Montevidayo, 22 Feb 013; Alice Notley, “The Descent of Alette [‘Presently’]”, at Poets.org, via Cati Porter, FB post, 22 Feb 013; “Lessons from Cockroaches Could Inform Robotics”, at Science Daily, 22 Feb 013; Telly Savalas; Charles Bernstein, “In a Restless World Like This Is”, at PennSound]