I published this poem with Scapegoat Review not this spring but last. It was one of my first Operating System poems, which I already thought of in terms of being another form of autobiomythography (read past poem to learn a bit more about what these are). It feels a bit sparse now. Jabby & rabbit-punching, parrying, until the end, when I let the character breathe a bit more. All poems start with language as the breath breathing life into the line. Later, when the lines begin breathing on their own, when the words in kinesis work off each other, a friction like sex, you must allow them to function according to their own building rhythms, much like any organism. Here in the end I give the character some space & let him speak largely vs describing himself as in the beginning in ways that box in & encapsulate him, building his spirit as he builds his own form, moving from I to social We to I again, which is the true grasping of individuality, and perchance in this instance, humility.
Wall Street Confidential
I gave up Nancy my wife for the private and inauspicious love of a komodo dragon. I gave up my vegan roots for Xanax, FOX, Ugandan beef. I traded Pabst Blue for Blue Tooth, my nipple ring for a ranch in Naples. I learned everything has a price, especially money. I gave up money. That is, I gave up paper. I gave up the cause for the good fight. I gave up tax reform for motion sickness, welfare justice for the military-industrial complex. I encouraged bootstraps. I still fry my own bologna. I once sold very very high. I shorted LEH to EKG as you tore through ARMs like RPGs. I was finding Sensex not so nifty so I fabricated futures, hedged my bets. I huddled, negotiated, undercut my mentors, missed a catch, caught a block and punted, wept openly and showered with the team. We agreed it was a job for nobler men. We agreed it was a job for cannibals. We ushered each other dripping through the corridors, patenting our bruises. We were our parents’ helioscopic somethings, peripherally viewed; a poorly inked Woodstock woodcut, the tambourine and the sound of the tambourine snapping. Sometimes I still blush when people ask for directions. Sometimes I still worry to think.
This past September the poet Matt Shears & I exchanged emails regarding his work & my own, & I’m going to excerpt a piece here, written by me, as I think it describes, not fully but with a good thrust, a bit of how I see the creation of my own artforms (extending even beyond poetry).
TL;DR: Language informs character first, then character language, & off they run together to get hitched.
“(These poems of yours) mirror my own in ways, as I’ve found the delineation of narrative & multiple voices engaged in various modes of speech a titillating enterprise. My own poems, autobiomythographies, as I call them, are little more than character studies, the character being language itself, often intensely lyrical & flimsy reality-wise, out of which I grow speakers. I dip less into the prophetic or ecstatic, though I’m opposed to neither, & find your use the language associated with such unraveling of unconscious surprising & fun. Masks and grotesques, of the commedia dell’arte variety, are pretty much my bread & butter; they’re unlimited in their ability to enchant a reader because they’re expected to be surprising, unconventional, malleable, etc, & so you can explore their understated elements without the fear of offending or boring the reader. I love a good non sequitur, too, especially those whose natural response, although seemingly irreverent & out of place, is to frame a gap in thought a reader might not otherwise be capable of making herself; that leap from known to unknown and back done right can feel like riding the fast humps of roller coaster. Your work traffics in games, incantations, evocations, which brought together under one roof, this book, works in its entirety because the pleasure is contained throughout & leaves the reader wanting more.”
These words don’t explain what’s happening in Eg*OS, precisely, but they do show what’s been on my mind when I begin to drawn conclusions and connections between the Operating Systems poems as a project.
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