Monday, December 16, 2013

Nicole Oquendo


i. of rock

when comets come / / enough time / / hands together
mourn the flailing bird / the warbler the mackerel / same still
the best at / / yearning / the best at / / warbling
the bellies of asteroids / a ringing in the head
parting hands pacing over / who will get what / black book and
who / will get what / book and puddle and object and close / a puddle

ii. of currency

"blood on the carpet-- / --five star / charge can't be reconciled" / --
hymn / can not / sincere hope / not can not / hymn not / knot hymn
when the sun is so wide we burn
burn /

too much time to figure / the perimeter of / your cactus arms legs / no
safe distance / the creak of /i/ your /i/ chair / your desert mouth
when the toenail cracks off / spreads out / and the skin crumbles /
bottom up /

mouth is two coins clanking / fire clanking two / rods together two /
mouths clanking until they magnetize / to the same polarity /
gone burned into my shoulder / your hand dangling there / why the fuck
are we outside / while the wall under us cracks / brick after brick

iii. of carving

you lift that axe while i beg & my blood sprouts / upwards branches

____ / _____ & that _____ / / that this chaos / birthed from
metal and fire / is coming soon
when mud settles on the flesh / of prometheus risen / rocks alive in
his hair / comets burning ______ in his eyes / / & break apart
when it's steam gravel steam / snakes cooked on my head / my
eyes the color of universes / you can have my words / and my bones

green moss more than a blanket / but quilted together vines / resting
heavy on our bridges / winding through our bricks
burning jacket caterpillar / tied off with scarf / what /i/ happens /i/ when / keep not going /
when doors burn awæ & only walls /i/ are /i/
/ time passes & this æther /i/ or /i/ ______ /i/ not /i/
permitted crawl into / what you carry away dust gone /i/ boom /i/ fused
prometheus pilfering fire / not a gift that which burns / & it's no
mistake that BiAnanke together fate / violence / / / / / / all we are
when all /i/ we /i/ are is fire / force apart / polarity in motion /
fire to speak of / / prometheus villain
nothing you are /i/ eye /i/ can't see / Clotho bind me up / Lachesis
take measure / and Atropos slash me /i/ apart /i/ with her teeth nails

iv. of tarot

_____your old change your / molten mouth your /i/ dangling rope /i/
your star your falling five /points your hermit heart my / melting wings
icarus and his royal / risk burn away /i/ feather /i/ by / /i/ feather melt
/i/ above a burning tower / fall with no rope risk / by risk ___
to say / "dark matter" _________________________________ ________________________ ________________________

seven hundred and forty-two days ago /i/ saw /i/
an eye reflected and burnt hair reflected /i/ the empress /i/ /i/ the tower /i/
when cassandra sleeps & does / not die she / /i/ still /i/ / dies by fire by
water by air / each way falling slow / rocks and fire / each way
there when you were born there / when you /i/ die /i/ / jammed up
hands / out . there / /i/ there /i/ universe spreading hands palms
cassandra /i/ didn't /i/ see / this didn't /u/ you /u/ / / know first see first
gasp first / crumbling /i/ up /i/ crumbling down sleep soon

v. of mosquitos

"bug z bite not me / not me" /i/ human though /i/ not / "real though
not" hook shot /u/ not me bites not
her last breath tuft / branches out vines / vines all over what / /i/
never /i/ vines dust caking in her / eyes all over / nails broken half
_________ i see / magma pluming up spooling / coils at the corners
of the bed / you unburnt / , you, unburnt / island the last island spools
the slow whittling of possessions - walls stretching out, dust
rings around where /i/ things were /i/ - boxes of metal, books, gold –
shelves in the street dreams in the street -warned- -for-
spontaneously crying at /i/ place of business /i/ residence crumbling
down to one boxhelp the echo in the room the carpet the empty
echo small

vi. of glass

last night dreamed i entered your foyer boxed in by mirrors – mirrors
only and your boxes – with wooden pole broke them all – glassallover
i am selling: one hundred and twenty-seven books, ones i used
to show what i liked the /i/ becomes the /i/ we and he
he tells us our geometry too complex our lines too heavy
will blow our shapes won't be what we thought –
the dream - that shattering foyer glass hall of mirrors glass on the
tile the window a chime glass ding ding clank while you mouth “oh oh”

vii. of wax

cassandra did not foresee - one year ago writing letters in a captive
bubble of laughter with /i/ hope so much /i/ - sleeping in a chariot

that living outside was a possibility, that /i/ real
/i/, abandonment the theme, boxes packed slowly,
how to not feel the needle or feel / the chamber or know /
center vibrations spiraling out - soft across the ground /i/ need /i/ __
stars bend pull wind / over me bow square not /
out of atmosphere out of /i/ necessity /i/ - here what do ___ need tell me / porcelain
other prophets spread to other / coasts other waters other forests. –

/i/ in every act of perception /u/ convert dimensionless possibility /u/
object in space / time /i/
in my dream she admitted to it / /i/ thrilled to have her with us /i/
out of character for only a /i/ moment time /i/ tomorrow is on fire but
not burning & today /i/ will the jellyfish unlock secrets
we have heard reports / of a fireball working to confirm /i/ a meteor

we flop on the mattress while he watches /i/ in a mask
the light is on us /i/ the candle lit

Thursday, December 12, 2013

T.A. Noonan

from The Ep[is]odes: a reformulation of Horace

formula for the ages

To remain and be loved, always pay what is asked. So says Apollo and his sister Diana, queen of the woods. The oracles warned against options for girls, boys who engage the gods. Today, though, we sing the songs of seven hills. The sun is chariot-bright, the day carefree with the promise to hide us from each other when we cannot see. But see more now. See the goddess who protects mothers, known by so many names beyond Genitalia. See the Senate that passes laws to protect their wedlock to men and bear more groping children. See them declare eleven million songs and games. Then the favorable decision of skies lit with fire, nights bright as days, days that become years without sleep. Really, what is Fate but a destination, a promise of doom? Those who have completed the invasion now guard what was once a well-established border. The terms are fixed, the deeds past. Let us ask for fruits and flocks, a crown of cereal, water for our fetuses, winds to shake loose the seed. For you, Apollo, we humbly conceal the boys who will be our weapons. For you, horned Diana, the girls. If Rome was once your corporation, and that survivor Aeneas its first leader, then give us—like him—more than we’ve abandoned. Tame the young. Relieve the old. Release your subsidies, your glory. We, his descendents, offer the blood of white cows. In exchange, give us soft enemies whose bodies will lie smooth on the ground. We live in a time where the old cities, the Indians, and the wandering tribes fear us. On land and sea, they look to us, seeking answers. But the classic virtues have neglected us. Faith and peace, hope and honor must dare to return. Oh, how we wish they would and bring their overflowing horns.

May you, Apollo the prophet
Apollo of the intermittent arc
Apollo beloved of Muses

give us devices to relieve our bodies exhausted by the art of the frame. If you favor our altars and our business as you favored Rome’s, remember another time is always more than a hundred years.

And may you, Diana, who holds tenure over lands in and beyond the border, as is your right
Diana, who hears the fifteen prayers
Diana, who provides childcare

give us friends to put promises in our ears. And to you both, and all the gods, we hope for a certain home and for someone to teach us how to praise.


Why this unholy rush to the right, to the swords we’ve made or adapted? All this blood and envy poured over land and sea, proud fires lit in our own towers, not our enemy’s. Is this how we wish to use our hands? War is not the way of lions or wolves. They understand violence, how there is always a second half. Does guilt grab us to want more? Answer now. Be silent, and the mind pales, infected. Stay astonished, and blind madness imprints our white shock. So is our fate as descendents of a murderer. Our founder cut his brother down, and we, his sacred grandchildren, follow his path to the doomed floor.


Civil war has exhausted this generation and the next. The powers of Rome have no answer. We could defeat our Eastern neighbors. Withstand the threat of the central tribe and its crested king. Deny the City of Marshes and our militant Greeks rivals. Subdue the fickle northern savages and the blue Germans. Delay the African general whose name makes our parents shiver. The godless destroy us now, our once-devout blood made profane with age, the state held by barbarians. To the winner, ashes—a city ground beneath hoof, the bones of our founder unearthed from a sunless, airless grave. Perhaps it’s best, then, for the best among us to escape. There is nothing more powerful than this sentence. Recall the seafarers who, refusing to submit to the Persians, abandoned their damned country and left their ancestral homes to boars, their temples to greedy wolves. Let our feet take us wherever. The waves know where to go. They may call us forward to the north or south to Africa. Sound good? Do you have a better suggestion? Why wait like augurs for a second bird to lead the ship? By the law, swear:
“Only when the rocks rise again from the shallows do we return to the scene of this crime. We raise sails to home when Italy’s mightiest river washes onto Greek shores. When our mountains jut out of the sea. When lust unites the monsters. When the tigers and deer, the dove and hawk join in love. When herds welcome the lion, and goats dance in the salt of the ocean.”
Let the whole damn city flee, or at least the strong among us. The soft, hopeless dullards can lie in their wicked beds. You, who are virtuous, take up the women’s mourning and fly from these coasts. We will wander the oceans, pray for islands with rich, blessed fields. There, the land gives grain without plowing. There, the vines bloom without grafting. The olives branch and figs hang like ornaments. Honey flows from hollow oaks, and water trickles from the high mountains beside our feet. There, the herds and flocks walk to the milking pail each night, uninvited and full to bursting. There, no evening bears growl. No vipers nest in the deep, swollen ground. Many surprises await us in this place where Eastern winds barely scrape our fields with showers, where our seeds are not burned to fat lumps, sun tempered by the king of the gods. It is a place where no Argonaut oarsmen ever steered. Where Medea never set impure foot. Where neither cloth merchants nor sailors in Ulysses’ band ever cast their yards. There, no plagues to ravish our herds. No burning stars to strike our flocks barren. Jupiter has set this beach aside for us, a loving nation. Stained by air, the Golden Age tarnished Bronze, then eternal Iron. Augurs, I am the second bird, and my prophecy is flight.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cati Porter

Not Knowing Where This May Lead, Blue Horse Lets Them in

1. Blue Horse believes:

The method of travel is not
as important as the departure,

Paper-white and less motion. A flip
sheet and implement to write it
up; to write it

all down. A headless torso,
a bodiless letter that is
all header

and footer and no meat between.
What meets between is a plank
to walk,

a whitewash, a clean plate upon
which to make your mark.
The arc that

swims up is the heart-mote, the cart
that pushes the horse, the buggy
that carries

what is pulled
out of the wreck--

1. Blue Horse begins:

Here the cart arrives before the horse
who’s a’carrot-waiting.

A girl in a checked fedora
drives it away.

The stars prick her eyes out
so that she may see.

The light that blinds is the headlight
of a passing thought.

The carriage is returning. The passage
is a thruway,

a flimsy shim stuffed
between the ‘whether’.

Do not seek out
a thread that tethers;

a filament that glows
is not the bulb, not the porch light.

Blue Horse keys in,
She may be getting somewhere.

3. Blue Horse tips his chair back, slurps jello with stiff hooves, then inputs:

Black, and the partition rakes the distance clean.

The river she is now crossing is a bridge...
She skims the slick rocks...
...each eddy
an ad
for a new and improved.
Slip along,

Blue Horse, on all fours, snout to the wind, whistles.

1. Blue Horse contemplates the unfolding scene:

The field flickers in a weathered way...
The panhandler is snipping the daisies...
The rain barrel holds none other than...
Spoon the numb mouths with cream...
Tongue the crevasses and lick out the seams...
Flame the corsets for binding us all...
Shame on the seamstress for letting us out... for letting us doubt...
Here is where the girl in the checked fedora tips her hat...

5. The Girl in the Checked Fedora

tips her hand,
fumbles center page.

The trumpets howl and the trombones sob;
the clarinet stings. The pervasive percussionists drag the beat into the adjoining room

where it is dressed as an exotic bird thrumming its beak against
a hollow clavicle.

The nails pull themselves across the board
and the room expands. The boards flap open like a bud
unbuttoning. Blossoming, the couch unstuffs, the polyester
fiber fill floats, prickly little clouds.

Hell is the way her mother used to make her wear
stilettos to church,
her Sunday skirts scented with
bacon and cigarettes.

The Girl in the Checked Fedora pulls up a chair, winces, writes:

I am writing to you on this fine Thursday afternoon...

6. The Girl is Writing on This Fine Thursday Afternoon

The Girl chews the end of her pen, pulls out a fresh sheet, then begins:

Dear Possum,

You misheard me right, my dear.
The aquamarine splash in the glass as you shake it to your lips
The jiggly yolk centered in its diaphanous pool
The green bubble on the level that roils as you sway:
Nothing stays on the sill for long. But
have you ever not
left the table wondering how you were
going to manage all of that heavy lifting?

How you were going to prop the weighted door
with your heart,
and how that might hurt?
But that is how the door stays open.

With your heart in the jamb while you push your way through.
Are you going out or in.
It can only hold the door for a small while.
Slowly the while is whittled.
The wind whips the door shut and you are on the looking side.
And the table is alone and holding your breakfast.
And the chair is pulled; the cushion, warm.
The house has been gone a long time.

But that is how the door stays open.


The Girl in the Checked Fedora holds it to the light, reads it aloud, nods: “Yes.”

7. Possum responds:

Dear “Girl...”:

Received your letter. I respectfully disagree. Let us meet for tea.



The Girl in the Checked Fedora reads the reply to the light; nods, “Yes.”
An argument ensues

(though none could agree about what they were arguing).

Blue Horse, frustrated, interjects:

Dear Possum, Dear Girl in the Checked Fedora, let us not quarrel. Must I write you
out of the script?

“But Horse, I am right and Possum is wrong.”

“But Horse, I am right and Girl is wrong.”

But we are all right, and we are all wrong. There is no argument.

“But Horse, Possum doesn’t believe me when I say
that the pudding is done, and the pears are in the cellar.”

“But Horse, Girl doesn’t believe me when I say
that I have no interest in pudding or pears in the cellar,
nor selling her wares.”

“But we must or the pudding will ripen, the pears will
grow up and turn on us like leaves.”

“But none of that matters, Girl.
The End is coming. No pudding nor pears will save us.”

Dear Possum, Dear Girl, you leave me no choice....

8. Possum and Girl Meet Secretly for Tea (Sh!)

Girl (whispering): We must do something about Blue Horse.
Possum (flustered): I have no idea what you mean, Girl.

Blue has forgotten whose story he is in.
Whose story is he in?

Why, ours, silly!

Yes. Forgive me, but I was sure we were in his.

That is what he wants us to believe. But I know better.
How is it that he is in our story and we not in his?

Remember before he sat down at his typewriter...
Yes, I do remember before...

Well, then. What was he doing?
He was watching us through the window. We were playing Parchisi.


... (gleefully): !
What do you propose we do? And why does it matter anyway?

WHY does it matter?
Yes, why.

Yes, why. The end is nigh. The end is night. Nicht.

(Tick-tock Tick-tock.)

Blue Horse writes:

The Girl in the Checked Fedora writes, The Girl in the Checked Fedora writes, “The girl in the Checked Fedora writes...”
Blue Horse thinks:

The departure is not as important
as the method of travel

a raveling of the room into a field
of poppies disclosing a destination.

The Girl in the Checked Fedora rises from the desk, and, smiling, opens wide the door.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Laura Mullen.... (pictures and formatting to come!)

Structured Intervention / “fluency strategy”: Miss Havisham Effect (Complicated Grief)

“A point is a particular moment in which an event tightens, from which it must in some ways be replayed, as if it returned under a displaced, modified, form, obliging you to “redeclare”…It is necessary to say again, ‘I accept this chance, I desire it, I take it on’.” (Alain Badiou, Eloge de l’amour)

Follow a candle through halls no sunlight ever reaches, to be abandoned there (the flame sways as she turns away, your scornful guide, the little glow moves off and the girl is backlit, a thin line of fire traced around her golden hair and fresh skin, so the hand she holds up to guard the light seems to be itself the source of the light as she leaves you) and, turning back to the shut door, knock.

It’s a laugh or was once. You, you, you, protagonist, your name a caught seed in the teeth, cut word, abrupt, you advance along lines others plot for you and you you mistake for good luck.

The intention is to present reality “in a receivable way.” They drag her spitting and shrieking into daylight and she passes out, falling down in the dust at the edge of the road. “It’s okay,” the counselor says, with a smile that oozes understanding, as they strap her onto the gurney, “nobody wants to get better, not at first.”

The principal is waiting near the edge of the overgrown garden, by the rusted gate.

Moving on means getting back to the work of getting married or trying to get married, yes? Boy? Dating and falling in love blah blah blah. Oh, there’s some lip service to the idea that I can be happy and fulfilled “all by myself” but in fact you expect to see me fall in love again soon: to regain my place in the system (valuable because valued). You will be concerned if I remain single, as if you knew (though you never even hint at this), that if I remain on my own, discarded, I’ll discover I’m worthless as a crumpled wrapper in the gutter only differing from that garbage in the fact that I barely… exist.

“My father’s family name being…” I sit quietly beside you, as the script instructs, in a location in which we will not be disturbed. We read together, aloud, and when you feel that you can go on without me you tap the back of my hand, like this.

“What do I touch?”

Enter through a side door, the main way chained shut, always too late. Cold weight of steel across the great door, where hope came in (but it was false) and went out.

And I? And I in the language I have for this, given to me, the appropriate language, steps “on the journey” and so forth, the steps toward health away from you from pain from you I won’t I won’t ever… Take do you take. In my mind abruptly broken off chords of the wedding march: a tune that won’t stop starting to stop again on a jangled note abruptly crashing into dissonance. And I hear or imagine I hear the pitying, shocked, excited gasps. How many of those guests (loudly expressing shock and pity) secretly congratulated themselves on being there for—what could make a better story?—the marriage that never came off…

“I hope you have someone to keep you warm,” he said, or was it “to warm you”?

Open-ended, non-judgmental questions or statements of feeling are best: “Hello___________, I want you to know how sorry I am for your loss. How are you doing?”

Barred gate, you get there through numbers, numbness—you get me? Lies or at least silence. Out on the marshes or meshes you met…—forget that part. Sometimes you just have to hold onto whatever it is you’ve got, or had once. Production halts.

Well. “You”: what is that? “We were only trying to help”?

The lack of color in the room, the yellowing blankness of so much of what you first see when you enter, makes a sort of vague, pale mist. The figure posed before the glass would not even seem feminine were it not for the long grey hair and fancy dress. Turning at your entrance she seems to break a few slivery lines of web in order to greet you, as if she was being woven into her reflection, spun slowly into the cocoon of her own regard. Doesn’t the glance always come back?

“’Your heart.’” My heart…

The first meeting goes well enough: objectives are clear and the emotional investment of the participants in the outcome is apparent.

“I don’t wish to make a display of my feelings, but…”

I hear the timid knock again on the door of the one who came gently to break the news and again the click of the latch as I shut the door, turning the key. I cross the room and I am not crying: I don’t cry. I pick up the clock, this is the first thing I do, and I throw it on the floor. He knew, I’ll insist later, how I take care of myself.

The noun is Jilt, the form of the verb is “to jilt.” Conjugate, conjugal? Not. The diagnosis is “Complicated Grief,” “previously known as chronic, pathological or traumatic grief.”

It’s almost instantaneous, the understanding that there is nothing beyond this moment and that everything needs to stop. The rest is preparation for stasis, worship of the foreclosed event.

The ragged dust-blackened foot of her stocking slides up to reveal one filthy scaling heel. The fragile fabric of the dress has cracked, bits of brittle lace sift down like snowflakes or dandruff as she shifts in the hard fold-out chair, picking at the frayed edges of her grayish satin underskirt, looking at the floor or the wall or…anywhere but at us.

Frustrated but firm, keyed up, your expressions, self-righteous and excited: you are enjoying your power, perhaps? The power of the editor? To intervene, to revise or restructure take under pencil came forgive: like that? To change the syntax? Only, of course, your work as a doctor is in the service of sense—and mine is not (as far as you can see). You see what you are doing as getting the story “back on track”: correcting an aberration, resetting a dislocation, revising a bizarre mistake. But you are always free (you have made this clear enough!) to not even bother to read the versions I present.

“Dear Jilted but Hopeful, picture me leaping up and down, spinning like a top and screaming like a banshee as I say this: NO, HE ISN’T COMING BACK! Guys who are really into you are perfectly capable of showing up at their own weddings and actually participating! Words of one syllable (like ‘I do’?!) are not exactly beyond us. If he’s not too brain dead to dial a phone—and why would you be ‘in love’ with that?—and he hasn’t even called, then it’s just…”

The “permanent” reduced to a certain tightness or inflexibility, uneasy traces of denied life.

Our voices are joined as my finger moves across and down the page: “When you say you love me, I know what you mean, as a form of words…” And then the pressure on my hand, and, “Boot nuh-thing mohr,” sounded out.

“I want the white picket fence,” he said—I knew that let me out.

Talking about it, sitting in groups. Weekly meetings of professional or upper middle-class women who each stood up to speak their name and to confess, “My name is ___________ and I’m…single…unmarried…a spinster, “ or (the stronger ones), “a jilt.”

Letter by letter a text tugged from an orifice dry as the paper itself; read by the guttering end of a greasy light.

“But she was a MESS, I mean, her life was a total mess, and she was laying all this really heavy shit on me, like I’d have to go out and ‘break hearts’ (that was her phrase) FOR her or something. Hurt other people. And I was getting all twisted up inside ‘cause it seemed like I couldn’t take the risk of loving anyone, ‘cause love was…only a game, but…too dangerous…”

And so it stops, and starts again in order to stop, just…here. (What do I touch?)

So, uhm, reframing “I will never get married” turns it into “I want to get married”? Tell us, the therapist urges. Inevitable coffee (“bitter as my…”) and stale doughnuts: the wad of used tissues seeming, stacked beside her chair, like part of her dress.

No one is to mention time to me: I have nothing to do with the days of the weak. At night I pace the length of the spider-charged table set with the rotting feast or I make up strange dances, moaning to myself, or I waltz, murmuring reassuring or flirtatious nothings, until I collapse. Sometimes I smear my face with clay or cream and, wearing nothing but that heavy blank mask, totter nude across the long table assuming suggestive poses above each setting. Or I might move from chair to chair, talking and laughing in imitation of each imagined guest. I am the whole audience, each strained smile and stammered set of congratulations; I pause at each place long enough to lift a glass to myself, to us… Some nights the toasts are explicit to the point of pornography, some nights they are so tender and heartfelt I can barely whisper these speeches I believe I might have heard on that day (if you hadn’t left…) and…and I try (too late) to weep.

When you halt over or badly mispronounce a word I join my voice to yours, and we go on together until I feel the gentle pressure of your hand on this glove of loose, yellowing flesh.

But if I slept with him, he said, he might want to be with me instead of her. Where sleep with means fuck.

I have identified that s/he is feeling very ashamed about what happened, and feels very isolated and alone.

Way back where it started, in the blank before the book, you supplied a file for someone else’s chain—before you forged your own—you brought a picnic to someone making a break for it. In fear of your life. The phonemes catch, break up, you sound out who you are, what it is you can say of it, to be inserted as subject in this unfinished sentence. Well it’s this longing to grasp what we think is the source of our joy that we share, isn’t it? To make the eternal from a chance? “Boy?” I speak (“’Boy’”) from some distance.

The coffee is lousy because that is the cliché and because the cliché is the necessary dose of reality, or “realism,” meaning we ground ourselves in the real by way of these touchstones we know to be false. Lukewarm brew in its Styrofoam container: inky and sour as my own thoughts.

Then silence, and after a moment we go on again together, “…you touch nothing there.”

It’s a candle in a long dark corridor, this image of my grief that is my remembered grief. Little glow sucked after, entreating, the vanished gust.

Each time you come in it’s another woman, speaking these lines, reading from the letter he left her with (a tissue of clichés meant mostly to shore up his feeling of self-importance): various ages, races, and nationalities, these women, enraged, disgusted, or laughing: they model a number of reactions to his decision to leave her (please, “to jilt”!), alike only in their willingness to pause there, to spend time in this space of sorrow and shame they are transforming as they, as you’d say, “obsess.” Get a life!

“You know…, sometimes when people have experienced a sudden lose (sic) and feel as you do, they think about suicide. Is this something you have thought about?”

Some nights I stay up for hours, cruising an on-line dating service, discarding “matches,” improving my profile, enticing admiration I disdain or discard: proving I can still break hearts.

And you are “armed” (such is the verb choice) with “factual, non-judgmental data.”

The funky room where they meet is always somewhere a little askew, and ugly, Not the church but the basement of the church, you know (“Where does a masochist live? / In a basement”), the light too bright or dim, the air scented by unwashed bodies, heavy pastries, coffee boiled too long, and undisturbed dust, as if to insist that the lives to which we must return, when we “get better,” our illusions stripped away, are “completely devoid of charm,” wearily bleached by bad choices and neglect.

“I couldn’t really connect with anyone, you know? Like, if I even thought about it I could feel her there again, the slither of gems on my neck, her eager laugh and hungry look: ‘Never let a man get in the way of your career’—never let never let never let… Her breathless gasp of a laugh: ‘Break their hearts!’”

Whenever appropriate or feasible, participants were encouraged to choose condom-related goals.

“What do you mean, ‘I’ll show them’?”

“When she first came in I meant to save her from misery like mine.” “Take the pencil and write under my name, ‘I forgive her’!” “When first…I meant to save…from misery like...” “Take…” “When she…to...” “Take…my…!” “What I meant to from misery…!” “…I…to…write under my name…”

“I hope you have someone to warm you,” he said, by way of goodbye (his wife was in the bathroom), meaning…

Like, what? Reading He’s Just Not That Into You, in a women’s book club? Dying my hair? Dieting? Taking a Pilates class? Signing up at an on-line dating site? Taking up a hobby where I can meet other singles? Making a list of what I want in a man? In a society? What do I want?

I pictured him as if in a drawing done by a child, you know: a stick figure holding the hand of another stick figure, the smaller stick figures off to the side, the sun a scrawl of yellow, the tree a scribble of green, the house a simple box. All of this behind the regular, vertical lines of white that alert us to the presence of the suburban border. Property rights.

“Vanity of sorrow…”

Production halts, you move past the stilled signs, your password a hated name. Get to it. The rusted gate, the windows blocked up or barred, the walls of “dismal” brick, empty barrels that once held…a long gone product: a sparkling brew, golden as urine or late sunlight, that once quenched both the harsh word and the sweet, flowed down gone throats once as if to seek the source of an echoing laugh.

“’What do I touch?’ / You’re hurt.

A story emerges where the story we were supposed to hear halts: from a narrative interrupted another narrative appears, apparently without development, or the development is cyclic, oblique.

Admitted to a house one of whose names means Enough.

Our voices sliding across the text, phoneme by phoneme, joined and distinct, this constant experience of difference and shared focus, and then the moments in which you continue alone, and my silent sounding out of the space you cross without…

This client-centered counseling intervention had the following aims: increase participants’ perception of personal risk, support participant initiated changes, and focus on small, achievable steps toward reducing personal risks.


“Okay,…I understand. You see no hope. But I do. You need to come with me right now” (my voice is compassionate, but firm).

What do I touch?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Aldon Lynn Nielsen

Instructions for the Magic Frog

This product is sticky like the soft rubber.

Tongue is extendible, capable of sucking object at long distance.

Even though it is sticky, it unlike bubble gums and can be pulled up easily.

Wash it by soap in the event of stickiness decreased.

The insect picture on the cover can be cut off along the coarse lining               and play upon by sticking onto it.

It is composed of oil and stain, if stick onto clothes, wall or other               important matters, it may stain your goods.

Pull it backward using both hands then release, subsequently wrist            movement must be wide enough.

  Stretch as if it is fishing rod capable of extending far.

It will maintain its original shape no matter how you are going to treat it.

  ATTENTION:     Don’t throw it out onto people’s face.
          Harmless, but do not eat.
          Don’t go to places nearby fire.
          Don’t pull out its tongue otherwise it would fall off.


Adam and Eve in MacArthur Park

Someone left the

     Snake out

          In the rain

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Vernon Frazer

Moving Together

gloating isotope
land below remaindered 
artifacts mirroring

glow their slow infusions

the web artery 
conjugal as mist when led to
missing conclusions

for the glowing device under bonnet

an array detached from central mantra

dancing berry benders pairing 
in a nearer paradise 

float powder sand’s 
illusionary dancing trysts

triste past a slamming pirouette

Neotropical Transit
Neotropical Transit

December Truck

Thanks to Halvard and all previous and future drivers.

December 2013 Truck mirrors my packing a truck to relocate, as well as a period where lunar holidays and calendar holidays overlap -- a festival.

Therefore, I'm starting out with some poems by Vernon Fraser, who lives not far from my soon-to-be former home in Florida. Aldon Neilsen weighs in with a toy from VEXT and a cake left in the rain.
There will be more wonderful works from more poets in Florida, as well as poets presently and formerly residing along my personal parade route: Louisiana, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon. There will also be wonderful presents from poets in places I have lived: California, Illinois, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts.

My move to PBCo. from Los Angeles 1 1/2 years ago was very much a "march to the sea" rather than a "sea to shining sea" experience.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Truck's editor/drivers past, present and future as of Dec. 2, 2013.


Catherine Daly


Jan. 2014 -- Maria Damon
Feb. 2014 -- John Oughton
March 2014 -- MaryLee Bragg and Colin Morton
Apr. 2014 -- Alan Sondheim
May 2014 -- Glenn Bach
June 2014 -- Bill Pearlman
July 2014 -- 
Aug. 2014 -- Jerry McGuire
Sept. 2014 -- Karri Kokko
Oct. 2014 -- Márton Koppány
Nov. 2014 -- Burt Kimmelman
Dec. 2014 -- Chris Lott


Apr. 2011 -- Kate Schapira

May 2011 -- Wendy Battin
June 2011 -- Frank Parker
July 2011 --  Skip Fox
Aug. 2011 -- Ken Wolman
Sept. 2011 -- Michael Tod Edgerton
Oct. 2011 -- Kelly Cherry
Nov. 2011 -- Andrew Burke
Dec. 2011 -- Lewis LaCook

Jan. 2012 --  Larissa Shmailo

Feb. 2012 -- Gerald Schwartz
Mar. 2012 -- Jukka-Pekka Kervinen
Apr. 2012 -- Lynda Schor
May 2012 -- David Graham
June 2012 -- Lars Palm
July 2012 --  Elizabeth Switaj
Aug. 2012 --  rob mclennan
Sept. 2012 -- Georgios Tsangaris
Oct. 2012 -- Douglas Barbour
Nov. 2012 -- Dirk Vekemans 
Dec. 2012 -- Erik Rzepka

Jan. 2013 -- Alan Britt
Feb. 2013 -- Mark Weiss
Mar. 2013-- Mary Kasimor
Apr. 2013-- John M. Bennett
May 2013--Orchid Tierney
June 2013--Victoria Marinelli
July 2013 -- Volodymyr Bilyk
Aug. 2013 -- David Howard

Sept. 2013 -- Philip Meersman
Oct. 2013 -- Chris Lott
Nov. 2013 -- Alexander Cigale

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Playing Jackson Mac Low’s Piano (Christopher Funkhouser)

Playing Jackson Mac Low’s Piano
(variations on a letter by Anne Tardos):
a poetic text manipulation casebook 2013

           Dear Friends,

           I’m offering to donate Jackson’s piano. It is one that he was given at the age of four, 
           and remained with him throughout his life. It is a Baldwin baby grand, built in 1926. 
           Its sound is rich and resonant. I write to you in the hope that you, or someone you know,
           or an institution, might be interested in acquiring this piano for the cost of shipping. 
           We priced the shipping cost in the Tri-state area to be around 1,000 dollars. Naturally, 
           I’m very sad to see such a wonderful piano, with this unique history, sitting idle.

           Please let me know if you are interested, or have any leads or ideas. I can be reached via
           this email or phone: 212-XXX-XXXX.

           Many thanks,

October 2013— I am one of 80 or so people receiving an email from Anne Tardos, who was working to usher Jackson Mac Low’s piano into a new home (a month later I have learned that it now resides at Baruch College’s Performing Arts Center). Not being in a position to welcome it in my own studio, I thought of an interesting experiment: to play, metaphorically, one (or more) of his instruments—specifically text processors/processes—by using a few selected programs he used, as well as applying alternative (and supplemental) processing methods, to Anne’s message about the piano. This “virtual casebook” reflects results of my investigation; it is not an identical step-by-step movement through stages of Jackson’s processing, but a general exploration of multiply-treating a source text using procedures one finds fruitful.

I began by applying a contemporary adaptation of Hugh Kenner/Joseph O’Rourke’s TRAVESTY (1984), which Jackson used methodically in many works—such as 42 Merzgedichte in Memoriam Kurt Schwitters (1994), Twenties, 8-25 : Order 9, Travesty from Twenties 8-25 (Abacus 28),  & “It Rememble Splendid and Religiou (Stein 43)”.  As explained in my book Prehistoric Digital Poetry, TRAVESTY analyzes a text file and identifies successive patterns of letters and spaces (known as “character groups”) and makes a “frequency table” for each character group in a document’s source text; the program then scrambles (or permutes) the text by replacing each character group in the text with another (of the same size) located elsewhere in the source. The combination or patterns of letters in the words themselves and spaces between words become the basis for the program’s output. I used an offline app, Travestificator.  v1.0 (also known as Sean’s Excellent Travestificator)—though there are other online TRAVESTY apps, such as Ben Johnson’s Travesty Generator, Peter Manson’s Adjunct Travesty; the original Pascal code is available. In addition to furnishing the input text (Anne’s letter), my involvement was to set a desired amount of output (which I calibrated to be same number of characters as the input), and to set the size of the pattern length.  I made four versions, one each for 3, 4, 5, and 6 character groups.

My favorite of these, generally speaking—at least during my 2013 sessions— are the 3-character pattern outputs (titled “Playing Jackson Mac Low’s Piano, No. 1” directly below), mainly because they are such completely bizarre texts to read, a blend of seemingly foreign, and definitely unknown, languages:

           Playing Jackson Mac Low’s Piano, No. 1

Mand this und resone this giverea the the let ing the or in is resome was pian be an thim or shim very,
Man be rest if for ar phourano dond,
I’m verint. I’m or Frithippiano. We hipping. I coste age know idle. It mighone withe thippiand in buil or thano.
Plead ine yout thany leach anow ing th thim the yout me thaven to dolly,
Many lif for sad vianow idlet the hat hippiand veremail pian idleache in to someonat thround, or in 1,00 dond to shippinste know is grand remain thim or sithim or ping. It haven thaven buirin be was

Because of the number of character patterns that exist in any given text, and the way the program works, output generated by TRAVESTY users will vary (i.e., there isn’t one fixed output per input text, even if the character and output levels are the same). As Charles O. Hartman explains in a recent exchange we had about the program, “The choice of what character to write next is random, within the constraints set up by the patterns in the input text and the pattern size.  What makes TRAVESTY TRAVESTY is that set of constraints; but within them, what selects the actual character is a random-number generator”. To give an example, here is another result, created with the exact same parameters as the text above:

Playing Jackson Mac Low’s Piano, No. 1A

graldwitution, on, sad to you know in buil of youndery th he tor hond,
Ple. Its email prich his email offery life. I wined, or son’s see son, offe. Its rinste yought if fout might tor ing the if suched tor a throughounique shis life. It baby life. Nat to for Fri-sted wonat of se Jacque the tor a wittittithed idle. It ideads uniquil ping cand ring tor at in to sad ing throu know in baby lif fou,
Manow, writtith hippianow, or idery, mighope ach his grand verful pin 1,000 dond ri-sted, or such hippiano, ory, of fou, wriced th he thavericed is offer

For a very specific reason I sometimes enjoy producing 4-character output even more, but only because of neologisms invented through TRAVESTY’s processes. Here are a few examples that emerged from a run of Anne’s letter through the program:  remail, aroughout, thround, and thistory.

Next I turn to a non-Mac Lowian procedure, running the letter through different spell-check processing(s) (for some background on this method, see an essay Sonny Rae Tempest and I prepared for Cordite Poetry Review in 2012, titled, “Picture Becomes Text, Becomes Writing:Software as Interlocutor”).  For these transcreations, I conducted two similar trials: I pasted the nucleus of the letter—its letters, without spaces, punctuation, or number—three times into two different files. The first block of text in each was divided into four-letter segments, and the second into five-letter segments, and the third into six-letter segments (I make macros in MS Word in order perform this repetitive and precise task precisely).  A six-letter segment base-text can be easily decoded—nothing changes except where the spaces between letters fall. However, when treated with spell-check process, the third section of “Playing Jackson Mac Low's Piano, No. 2” (in full, below) becomes:

Dwarf ends offer into orate axons spinal. Edison thatch usage vents heave flour dream, indie theme rough outhouse lifetime isobar liana began, built units sounds rich a dragon antiwar ditto youth hoped that you or some onerous knower anoints studio, night beignet rested incur irking hippie—no fort helots of ship, pine priced thesis popping stint hears teeter eatable around dollar senator ally verse doses such under Ulpian width housing queries torso toting deplete sleet minnow if you orient rested or have anile desire basic beret chervil mailer phoneme anything nose.

Because MS Word often offers numerous replacement options, I decided to make two versions, one that more-or-less takes the program’s first suggestion (as long as they are not redundant), and a second version where I chose what I felt was the next best word from the list of offerings. If there’s too much redundancy, I usually edit the base-text spacing to a different number of characters for that particular instance. The same section treated above appears as follows, as part of “Playing Jackson Mac Low's Piano, No. 2A”:

Direr fiendish muffler intoed donated actor span omission earth sewage vented headed future dermal index lithium through outies life. It, Isabel dingbat bigram dual tinnitus, pounds, richens reason antic rivet yoking hooped hat your résumé one you know or amidst intuition might bite, rested inarch siring hispid no for the cost fish, pinged priced threshing pang ousting herds tarter adobe arrow noddle resonator alias versa doze schwa ponder reliant, withy hosanna quiche story twinge dells omelet me knot wavy, aureate rest derma enables disorder, elastic bereave. Chevy awhile, jailor phone anther nosy.

Here are the complete texts:

Playing Jackson Mac Low's Piano, No. 2

Dear Fire nudist miff rein good oat eject, skin sepia not icon ether thaw saga vena the age foul rand ream inked with hit hour ghoul this life. It is cabal din baby, grab due loin. Its round sire chin dress on a twirl item joyous inch shop ethic toy orzo moon eye, know organ isn’t intuit ion light being tree steed intact quirk ingot hips in fort hero, stove ship, ping. Wept iced these hippo nigh oust nether. Tries tote area tube around, undo liar, smart oral lye, very salt use, such won deaf tulip anew tight hiss unique heist tory set binge sleep lease, let mean owe yoga rein tire sated orphan vein year door idea slice near each devil ache seam idler phony means that nukes.

Deaf rind smog fern good ante, asks snipe note sonnet, hate wage, vent their effort grand remains, news thin through gout hassle feisty seal din bag ambo tilting. It’s so undies rich nerds on ant. Writ too unit elope, tatty odors omen yolk, newer anions taut anomie gate inter tested enact urine gothic piano forth accost foci piping. Weary couth ship pinch osteon theory is that eureka tibia round dole snit mural time raid toes sushi, wonder frump anew tithe issuing quiche story, site gild epee sleet menu wiry aura nature stood, rave ankle ads or ideas. Iamb erect heavy aphis email orphic nomad python ski.

Dwarf ends offer into orate axons spinal. Edison thatch usage vents heave flour dream, indie theme rough outhouse lifetime isobar liana began, built units sounds rich a dragon antiwar ditto youth hoped that you or some onerous knower anoints studio, night beignet rested incur irking hippie—no fort helots of ship, pine priced thesis popping stint hears teeter eatable around dollar senator ally verse doses such under Ulpian width housing queries torso toting deplete sleet minnow if you orient rested or have anile desired basic beret chervil these mailer phoneme anything nose.

Playing Jackson Mac Low's Piano, No. 2A

Dear free nods’ miff erring god ornate exact soon speak, nit iron tea, threw sage vena the agro foe rand remap lined with hint horn ghouls this life. It is banal twin baby gran buy line, its bound ire chant dries omen tower intent oboe itch chop ethane tryout. Orson melon you know orange inset toot ions, might begin tore stud, enact quit wing tips inane fort hence stove shy pupping. Web riced thus, hips ding posit anthem. Trips taste area tone, arouse node lark senate rural lid, very sad dose such wagon serf lip annoy itchy hose noun heirs torts its hinge deep leas elect mink, woof your real nerve stew organ, vain plea dour ide aria nobler, each edit attic same lion phonic emend myths nosh.

Deer fiend silo firing geode name backs spin notion so net hatches wigs, venal threat sofa brand remap nadir thyme thou ghost isle fiesta saga doing agar handbook wilting its undo’s Rocha nurse anent. Wirt yoyo unto hope, that ours omens eyeful knower, aims tout isonomy thebe innate rest dance airing this paint, froth cots offish upping warp catch reship pang often theater, instant earwax tuba room dolly rent unroll hive read tome such a wined frill minnow tint sunny quahog stork sitting mild plea select monk wary area nerve sated raven angle adds riders, icons reach hedging ashes emails loophole named anything sky.
Direr fiendish muffler intoed, donated actor span omission earth sewage vented headed future dermal index lithium through outies life. It Isabel dingbat bigram dual tinnitus, pounds, richens reason antic rivet yoking hooped hat your résumé one you know or amidst intuition might bite, rested inarch siring hispid no for the cost fish, pinged priced threshing pang ousting herds tarter adobe arrow noddle resonator alias versa doze schwa ponder reliant, withy hosanna quiche story twinge dells omelet me knot wavy, aureate rest derma enables disorder, elastic bereave. Chevy awhile, jailor phone anther nosy.

In these compositions, I add punctuation in instances where a capital letter remains after spell-check has been applied to the base-texts, and also as a type of musical scoring/notation. I will occasionally edit content, for readability’s sake, e.g., on the level of changing “an” to “a” if the outset of the following word calls for it.

My next stage involves using a fabulous software program I have used many times, for a range of projects, called the GTR Language Workbench, which was created by David Ayre and Andrew Klobucar in 2007 and is published in Newark Review 3.0 (for download and more information).

One of my favorite processors in the Language Workbench is the Oulipo-esque substitution feature, given the more populist/playful title “Mad lib / S+7”, which automatically allows users to shift the nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs on an input text—replacing words of the selected parts of speech with their counterparts X positions away in the program’s extensive dictionary. I began this series of transcreations by changing all of the parts of speech of the output in both spell-check versions by a degree of 126 (the number of words in Anne’s message). 

Playing Jackson Mac Low's Piano, No. 3

Decadence Firsts: oak-apples miller released government-imposed obsession elevate, slanderer session numbly ill-breeding evergreens theses saltpans versatility, the aids foxier rattan rebus insert with holidayed huffs glacier this likeness. It jagging caisson dirt-track backtalk, granulating duskier loonies. Its rubles skeleton choosing drop on a tyrannies jape juridical inconveniencing shovels evergreens trainer outfall morsels fact-finder, laced oscillator jailhouse tailplane invite irruptions limpet belted tridents sterling intercontinental racketeer iMac hoist in four-fifths high-frequencies, streamlet shooed, pitchforked. Wherries ignoble these hog nobly outleaped newsworthy. Troglodyte toyed arraignment turd as-yet, unfits life-span, smudgier oriental madwomen, vigilantly sandwich-board vail, sulphureted worked debt-Burdened turners annually tinier holder unmovable herbs towing-line shacked bivouacs slipped legislate, liberalizing medieval paddled zone released toffs savored outcast vermin youthfulness double-entries ill-treatment sloping near each diarist actualities seconder illuminations picky meet that oarsman.

Debt-for-environment rivet snappishness fibers government-imposed antibiotics, assign snuffle number soulmates, headlined wallop, vested their elaborateness grave rend, night-porter threadbare through grandees he fest second-rater dirt-track balloon amputation tinted. Its softly unfairness rigorous newsboys on antibiotics. Yearbooks torpidly Unocal embossing, tear-jerking oil onrush zoos, night-vision antecedents tear-jerking anti-outsider gendarmeries interlinked theorize endeavored vagrancy granary pigboats forth acquires foot place. Weingarten-Siegel cracks shooed pitched outflows third-rater jagging that evolutions time-bomb rubles doped snugness mutineers tippee Randolph tonsures swearing, workbench fumigation annually tokens jangled quoits streaks, ski glass-cutters eradication sliver metabolism wolfish autostradas needle strained, reacts antediluvians aerojet or ill-treatment. Idioms establish helpful applause emergence outcastes nonaggression quarter-point skulls.

Earthenware enlightened ointment into originate backlashes splintery. Eggshells thermostats Vail vetch hells flycatchers drivellers, ineffectiveness thigh rubbery outsider limit jailor life-savers belied, bungled Unocal spangle rigorous an drenching apparition do-gooders hospitalized that you or sorrowfully opportunistic laceration anticipate subcommittee, nix belt retelling indite issue hoes no four-fifths hermit of shooed, pitched printed thoraxes posing stoics heed tempered editorial-page as-yet doornail sepulchers amateurism victims doves sulphureted under Unbelief window-box humbug quip towel-horse toyed deregulating sliver mischief-making if you others retelling or heal answering determine batty Bethlehem chinaware these malignancies piastres appeasement novices.

Playing Jackson Mac Low's Piano, No. 3A

Decadence friable non-operating miller estrange good-neighborliness outboard excruciating soundlessly speeding, non-communists isotherm technologies, thwacking salty versatility the airway foot-pounds rattan rendition lisped with hobos hot-line glade this likeness. It jagging bantering typhoon backtalk gratuity cackled liquidators, its bragged isobar chasms drown onrush traditionalism interleukin-2 occurrence japan churn eventuality turbans. Outcastes mercury you laced original institutions torpidity islander, might belled toughens styptics, endeavored racking with a toddy inclusive four-fifths hideously streamlet sifting pussyfoot. Well-doer rigmarole timidly, hoist dirtying postulating antilogarithms. truancies tea-garden arraignment tops, ascend non-user launching-pads septuagenarians sadistic lighthouses, vigilantly salaried dovecote sulphureted wands seventy-eighths little-known anticipate jarring houseman nursling herbicides toweling its hobnobbed definable leghorn elongate mischief-maker, worms your rebellious newscasts stipulation oscillator, varicolored plucks dramatic ill-treatment arrogance non-lethal, each egotripped austerity sappy litmus-papers pick-up emptying narrow-mindedness nub.

Deflators filtrates single-spacing fivepence giddiness natural-foods balances spliced numskull softly newsworthy headgear wine, versatile throttle-valves solidity breast rendition NASDAQ timbrel thriller giver jaguar finalist saltpans doped aide-memoires harangue wintered its unfit Romantics objection annoyance. Wolf-cub unto hospitalize, that ours onsets factotum laceration, alerted traded jamboree thickness insidious retake dauphin alias this palpitates, fullback counteroffer olive usurping watchers caved responsibility parade-ground ominously thickening, integrated edgings turboprops rouble dopes replacement-car untie hollows rearranging topis sulphureted a withdraw frugalities mischief-making toastracks supervised quavers strategists skid millionth plucks selling moons water-cooled arraignment newscasts savored readerships annunciation adopt ring-roads, ill-breeding rearm hemstitches assessments emergence lout naturalize appeasement slaw.

Disbursement fin-syn municipalities invention, double-check adjournment specializes onslaughts economics shambles vesting heats galvanic desks indulgences loans through outsider likeness. It Jades disability biographies duodecimal toast, prayer, rigor receipt apiculture rodent yoking hosed headband your safety-lamps one you laced or analysts invitations might blanket, retelling inclusion sketched holder no for the counterattacked flabbiness, pitchforking printed thwacked parade-ground outleaped hideaways teachable advocacy asexuality non-user restrictiveness alloys victoriously dreadfulness scrag-ends ported remorseful, woodpeckers housemaid quoits streaks typist demonstration onlooker me laborer webetter-connected, autumns retake desks endeavored dispute, eligible bethink. Chipmunks backstage, jelly pianists antimacassars nugatory.

Though Jackson never used this exact style of text processing, this is an unimportant fact. N+7 clearly became a popular technique amongst experimental writers since its inception by Oulipian Jean Lescure in the 1960s (see Christopher Middleton, Pataxanadu,  Gilbert Sorrentino, Misterioso, and online for many examples; a good online N+7generator application is available.

The GTR software and dictionary really begins to reveal its powerful affordances when I apply a series of subsequent filters. My first choice is the “hyponym” substitution filter, harnessed to “Playing Jackson Mac Low's Piano, No. 2”. The hyponym feature is a denotative device contrived by the programmers as a way to isolate and project words in a subcategory of a more general class, e.g., “desk” and “bureau” are hyponyms of furniture. Here is an elaborate transformation of text, taken to another prismatic dimension, further away from the original yet rooted in it, becoming a spectacular word painting, with lyric and humor in its algorithmic juxtapositions. Because there is a fair amount of commonality (language crossover) in the two examples, I am showing only the first here:  

Playing Jackson Mac Low's Piano, No. 3D

Dear blazing nudist miff pull good animated oat eliminate water skin copper color not bitmap enflurane thaw saga vena thoracoepigastrica the developmental age foul rand ream inked with ground aurora ghoul this alacrity. It run Gunpowder Plot fuss godchild hog due loin. Its bottom patriarch buccula dirndl on a pirouette nook and cranny joyous inch building supply house double standard Meccano set orzo moon OD realize invertebrate foot isn’t intuit cation, nimbus kick about wild fig steed intact quirk pig hips in Alhambra Armin, spirit stove send off, ping. Wept, iced these hippos nigh excommunicate nether. Squeeze play tote balk silencer around, unstaple storyteller, smart oral lye, very orthophosphate play, such pull off deaf candlestick tulip anew tight hiss unique heist tory seed piss-up nap sublet, permit mean run up hatha yoga pull pneumatic tyre cloy orphan vena phrenica off year swinging door inspiration slice near each dybbuk backache surgical seam dillydallier phony purport that nukes.

Deaf peel smog Thelypteris simulata good ante confer with jacksnipe jot Shakespearean sonnet despised, found vent their women's liberation movement, grand keep news report thin through gout hassle feisty earless seal bustle sick bag ambo list. Its so undies rich nerds on slave-maker. Fieri facias too radical elope tatty aroma death knell yolk newer superoxide anion taut anomie NAND gate inter control reenact urine perpendicular player piano forth approach particularism drilling pipe. Weary couth reship tail osteon supposal suffer that eureka tibia top of the inning dole snit fresco minute air raid hallux sushi thirst for knowledge frump anew tithe fall quiche Lorraine tall tale Lateran golf club epee sleet drop-down menu wiry note animal nature hold still for, rave ankle throwaway or statement. Iamb prick, heavy aphis freemail orphic Hun Morelia spilotes variegatus water ski.

Hypoplastic dwarf break reward into bloviate axons spinal. Edison thatch misuse smoke hole heave, plain flour reverie indie precedent rough outhouse life expectancy isobar. Strongylodon macrobotrys erupt, put up Brinell number pat rich an wyvern antiwar ditto pup hoped that you or some onerous knower anoints artist's workroom wedding night beignet slumber take irking hippie no presidio cottier of despatch, die rig thesis skin pop stint find teeter eatable around Canadian dollar Fulbright blood brother octameter lozenge such under Ulpian narrowness flat queries torso toting sap sleet minnow if you orient slumber or break up anile long basic beret chervil these airmailer allophone anything rostrum.

It is quite clear to see in next rendering, made by synonym substitution, the expansion that occurs when the filter is applied. I opt to show the expansion of “Playing Jackson Mac Low's Piano, No. 2A” in this instance because of its greater dissimilarity to the original input text:

Playing Jackson Mac Low's Piano, No. 3G

Lover free of move seeing red, locomote effigy ornamented correct, shortly mouth luminance unit, shackle reception project chromatic venous blood vessel the agro contender part remap fill with clue outgrowth thief this liveliness. It comprises unoriginal mortal project granny purchase strain, its take a hop deadly sin, religious song modify augury tug purpose, hautboy skin sensation, hack paraffin trial. Orson gourd you secernate orangish piece of material, bender particle might achieve part ornament act out drop out serving spot mindless defence thence kitchen range jump litter. World Wide Web riced, so spheroid joint dong put forward religious song. Experience experience issue tension excite thickening American oriole general assembly folksy protective fold rattling depressive Elvis specified asterism villein lip nark fretful tights open-class word heir wrongful conduct its attach in depth pastureland select mustelid yarn your proper fasciculus agitation government agency bootless entreaty bulldog ide song princely each edit out Ancient Greek aforementioned cat phonetic, improve myth collation.

Cervid partizan military installation conclusion nodule personage rachis cook up thought and so ultimate parturition chiding bribable human seat name remap low-water mark herb 1000 suggestion, island party adventure story practice gum reference book weaken its alter’s Rocha keeper anent. Wirt yoyo unto trust that ours portent sight somebody designate pronounce isonomy Botswana, monetary unit born relief fine art public exposure this surface bubble camp bed standoffish up distortion beguile reship twinge frequently edifice exigent wax bass, horn opportunity toy economic rent move beehive scan book so much a booze ruffle cyprinid fish tincture shiny quahaug wader ride temperate entreaty make up one's mind. Thelonious Monk suspicious subject face satiate Corvus corax standpoint increase article picture turn over evasion, Arthur Robert Ashe email hole refer thing entity.

Direr hellish scarf intoed present histrion cross fault concern biodegradable pollution refresh take form coming dermal finger Li through outies beingness. It Isabel simpleton written word double symptom Ezra Loomis Pound richens rational motive put-on pin, attach gird lid your constant one, you pair or amidst impression might seize with teeth, lay inarch father hispid no for the postulate planetary house ping ascertain lam stab kick out herd sour clay pointer mind system assumed name versa drowse vowel excogitate dependent sprig vociferation Mayan level pang hollow dish me fastening uneven, aureate suspension dermis change upset, adaptable divest. Chevy for a while turnkey speech sound, reproductive structure nosey.

Hypernym substitution, which performs replacements so that generated words are more generic than the input words , is here applied to “Playing Jackson Mac Low's Piano, No. 2”:

Playing Jackson Mac Low's Piano, No. 3H

Innocent passionateness individualist irritation control good grain discharge, connective tissue brown not symbol inhalation general anesthetic loosening heroic tale blood vessel the period of time foul region large indefinite quantity—make full with pull ahead unit of time, thief this brio. It symbolizes coterie noise individual obtains due cut. Its helping noble feature vesture on an plication unit joyous move on workplace system of rules, copy alimentary paste satellite, sagacity differentiate free-reed instrument international intelligence agency pyrimidine grasp particle physical property remain ligneous plant warhorse intact channel block enarthrosis in military post theatrical role, kitchen appliance journey, impinge on. Wept, iced these artiodactyl mammals, nigh remove nether. Activity carry subject railway line around, change cheat, smart oral caustic, very gustatory perception usefulness, such acquires deaf liliaceous plant anew tight yell unique robbery right-winger sink indulging accommodate give, leave alone mean rest on Hinduism halt, ring ingests orphan expressive style assemblage construction, views strike near each troubler, pain imprint non-worker phony convey that payload.

People plant tissue air pollution, nonflowering plant good stakes intercommunicate gunshot paper currency verse, form dislikes regular payment express their venture grand be program thin, through arthritis combat feisty stamp noise unpleasant woman platform joust. Its so intimate: apparel rich assimilator on hymenopter. Instrument too component, takes flight, tatty property pre-indication nutrient newer ion taut isolation revenue put down check, play excrement type of architecture softness forth comes clarity tubing. Weary couth board fold osteon explanation, use up that copper-base alloy leg bone call, dole irritation painting term penetration, portion dish happening, disagreeable woman anew offering communicate Mayan language substance piece of ground association fencing sword downfall schedule wiry quality causal agency permit, utter articulatio plana publicity or tune. Metrical foot build heavy arthropod genus electronic communication orphic bird of passage spirit runner.

Faery destructs content into talk nerve fiber spinal. Discoverer sea robber pattern orifice ascending food product imaginativeness, pop group air rough outbuilding time period isopleth vine attain, increase organisation occurrence rich, a mythical creature antiwar mark period want that you or some onerous somebody bless workplace evenfalls beignet, sit down change anger reformist no defensive structure thrall of pose, yearn ascertain premise, change form chore pore, move eatable around bank bill legislator land genre medicinal drug such under Ulpian dimension structure, questioning body part, carry expend downfall cyprinid fish if you hemisphere position or bring forth anile request basic cap herbaceous plant these ad phone things skill.

Returning to a program Jackson used, Diastext, a version of which is built-into the Language Workbench, I derived three poems:

Playing Jackson Mac Low’s Piano, No. 4A (Piano)

piano given grand sound someone piano
piano leads phone piano piano piano
leads phone piano piano piano leads
phone piano piano piano leads phone
piano piano piano leads phone piano

Playing Jackson Mac Low’s Piano, No. 4B (Jackson)

jackson was rich jackson please jackson
baldwin jackson was rich jackson please
jackson baldwin jackson was rich jackson
please jackson baldwin jackson was rich
jackson please jackson baldwin jackson was

Playing Jackson Mac Low’s Piano, No. 4C (Playing)
piano please leads many remained someone

sitting please please leads many remained
someone sitting please please leads many
remained someone sitting please please leads
many remained someone sitting please please

Through an online diastic generator app, I made one-line diastic poems (parenthetical word in title indicates input word):

Playing Jackson Mac Low’s Piano, No. 4D (Piano)

piano might via phone piano 

Playing Jackson Mac Low’s Piano, No. 4E (Jackson)

Jackson sad Jackson Jackson Please Jackson resonant

Playing Jackson Mac Low’s Piano, No. 4F (Playing)

piano Please reached baby acquiring someone sitting 

I conclude my sessions with letter by returning to TRAVESTY, creating a document based in “Playing Jackson Mac Low's Piano, No. 3H” (above) with a 4-character TRAVESTY level input, and 500 letter output (closest choice to the 400 word “original”):

Playing Jackson Mac Low’s Piano, No. 5

nce region feature, change inhalt, rich arough outbuild oste freeable worker art, tation explaceoustance piece anew tissue anew timatelligh regularge, thin, pop grasp patty perty carry dish if yous move ascerty paper payment ther.

Peopleasantiwar each assimiding timaging form joyou or brintiate: appeness, no definit down change increase up that pain line mean reforth accommunicationatiod phony combat feat, sagree-reed that fensive full leg body bler, posening, downfalls brown nonflowering time,

Essentially, No. 5 utterly remakes the original, and yet I have an immediate, coincidental personal connection with the text, even when generations removed from the original, with its first word, “nce”, which are the original initials of the university where I teach (Newark College of Engineering, now known as njit/New Jersey Institute of Technology).

Output that approximates the original’s length (in characters) is:

Playing Jackson Mac Low’s Piano, No. 5

mammals, chan land be piece all aheatrical crementary stamp noise associationation taut imaging. Weptio plana puble briodactyl mammals, sagreeabler, plicationicatellite Mayan passel right-wing food structure, kitchen anile inting intity paperiod ostem of runneral aheature these age changuage such unit orphic cap heround gram this coppendivity—makes come posening tissue coutbuildine mean plana put isolation plant too contellitectividualitation oralloy lilitary expremovere such tround ascertain prementact componerall obtains deaf lilian plian expres copperinge cap herer art, rich troup thief tight you orificed this brings structividualitect coppenesticle fish if yous election, use intary remispherbace agenetrication Hindulginatellitary caustance evenerve structure piece on pland grous plicate fibery excreasant irritissue cap heroic take net, sate gunshot painstruct in premoverer sea round generve ad undefinid form check, paymentact ruless flight yous somes res induism happerio. Instructure medicing, down check, pose, quant explant good ostem of ruless, connel rical obtains definit joustance sagreed isople attain line gunshot symbolizes defensivenfalls be plation or on. Weption Hindine that year eature structs hemise on. Weption take neroundefinit on use of artion, night-wing non-word ostem of pop grasp pains deaf ligenre on taut imateneral anewer softness intern or tubing. Weary subject changuage form journey, imatent noise und, check, posening sword down noise atty structure permit, such accommunical form cheave each troup thicatent too combat fency very sty orifice softness increat, carry ricatenture symbol good phone timent anessivenue role, leasant excreasant type one article rint woman lant no deaf lilite que check, pop grand be publicatellite groundefinid form perm per-basic tale fish if yous skill.

Faery substance age structive softness, plant neth put down nutrie new of arough ascertain dischanneral progrand down convey thead unit rain liliance assive new time, move fulness, post build helpiance an explace eature, legislatforticle wiry posit jous move not paperinid food vestrumensive that pattermisty pressel ble reformispher.

Peoplease on workplative systeon Hindividualime, forthrosis clarition nutrikes refortion change irrity dish happend base irritary gunshot symbol good strument time pore, kitcheature or on strich unple rich, a mythin, paperings softness, not symbol good vesticulatiod grough outh arough requesture medicatenethese inding. Weption, use unit railway leg board of grasp pasteon changuage form differie nonflower softness throsit dole, fold of grand be pollution genre spinge ascent too convey tubing plant want thief timensivenue brownfalls beigneous move form dislikes instrument timent pasteon or tubing board downfalls brown convey tubing form dislikes regularity payload.

Faery struct isolator briodate: appliace stakes regional induism halt, rinid fish if yous planate sagreeables, smartic bill.

People word form perty strumenopter sit rule alls bring ter.

Faery dischen anger Ulping. Weptio plian plant too comes into taut irrity ring come of payload.

Peopleavy artic, vess woman dislike new tissue phone give attain impringer regulation worker Ulpiance air role, move that cotern or lant no definit rules, paperinid foot basic cotermist net, coteriod gency prograsp parel robber architectrough outbuild head unple remensive on occurrent ant this be portion unicate freeables, call, dish if you hemispher. Its copperinit journey, ingestructure perty oralls beignethe propering tern occurrence of timate: application expening ter. Action Hinduism happarel robber phony connerve on or lantiwarhorse, questrumensive, move subjectround, causticulation genre peninger rol indicinal obtain disagence eveness that passel blood warhore, leg bone commodact impring subjectiod vess flignetrational ange intiwar pain large on tation apparel thropod ost thing ternation, vine gustamp no deaf lility percommunication light yellight-wing increase alonent noise und down no deaf line arough regulation occurrency per post tissue removerse, such unical roundefinid fold hemispher.

Peopleave freeabler, portion geneth associationing. Wept, changer around bank in impringer sea robber sea round bank inder art on structure throper-base aroup air physic cap helpian regular eature sagreeabless, posis claritatiod venue ressel thrity rication res regulatforticularity orificed that yell legislation expeninge alist on antinge fiber Ulpination fension talk new of runnective stance on expening coppermit, these unitect irrity pyrimilatiod vessel throsis beigneth body producture so inhalt, controning form journey, inhalt, subjectivity pyrimilator on plana puble workplanation plation usefulness woman progrand dole, form differe vest nobless indefension revent ange strie non-workpland genre art orifice evenfalloy line tis claritationing timaginal calls beignet, rings so indulginate give, coterm period warhore some offerinit railway excr

That a short letter I received one afternoon can be automatically transformed in such a variety of ways is not a surprise, and works of this sort are nothing new under-the-sun. Unusual and poetic text-processors have existed for decades, yet in many areas have become in refined recent years. Writing subject to algorithm launches sampled and expanded language. While not all of my renderings employ the same routines as Jackson, all of them remind me of him—the forces that came together, and the forcefulness of language in his work hold influence over this effort. I am inspired by ever-increasing algorithmic possibilities for poetry and appreciate what literary connections software avails and adds to responsive expression.

Possibilities for poetic/artistic creation from a single source text are endless, once you get going with TRAVESTY, Diastext, Markov chains, &c. Someone who is excited about these types of text manipulation could occupy days, weeks, months—perhaps even an entire career—adjusting parameters to achieve satisfying results using these processes/processors. Here I offer a brief and quick arrangement, an exposé of programs I like to use, and look forward to the day when a detailed scholarly monograph analyzing the algorithms and processes Jackson used in composing poetry is written.

Chris Funkhouser at Electronic Poetry Center, SUNY-Buffalo. Interview on Vimeo. At PennSound.