That the 'voice of the poet' is essentially an argument.


That "the heart of poetry is fatigue" is a model proposition.

That "the heart of poetry is fatigue" must be false for this generation.


That the 'voice' of the poet comes to terms with the principles of the surface: superposition, original horizontality, lateral continuity.

Two Early Inventions

  • Groundlings and mandarins
  • Hatchlings from the high blue hat


That the poem will not suffer its camouflage.


That regardless its antic disclosures, poetry proposes with the velocity of a science.

"The origin of shells in high places."

Or, as Julia Lupton suggested, negative anthropology could be an account of culture where you subtract human beings. Think of all the artifacts that are not produced by human civilization, like beehives and seashells and things like that. Those could be the objects of a negative anthropology.

     ––Aaron Kunin, "Banish the World"


Regardless of the theoretical subtraction, does this still import a priori a rather optimistic theory of the human?

Where architecture and mechanism retain value as a shadow of some essential human work of event planning –– or, say, there is still self-flattery in the plastic spirit and autogenous stones of Kircher and Spinoza.

But more interesting: how the negative anthropologist does taxonomy, which may also be a way of studying religion in this modulo universe. Imagine some clever student beginning to rattle that cage––!

"Which is greater, the umbrella or the face?"

This Is Our Power

We can scramble the lost.


Dogs are beacons for the fantasist –– never reducible to mere appetite and exchange.

A purely transactional relationship with a dog is a draining curse.


'Sustainability' suggests permeable defenses, occulted valor and melancholy.

It's like the final opiate light ebbing in Altman's McCabe & Mrs Miller.

Mere Words

That minority is the life of poetry, and also its cruelty. We know this, while holding to the curse.

It can't possibly be an epithet –– but an essence.


That within the poem a coming to terms may also mean a refusal to concede.


That the poem may not observe through decorum.

Seven Words into Part One of Thomas Browne's Christian Morals

The word "funambulatory."

Like a silver thread through a laughing key.


That at the back of the thought that the poet is defeated by description there is a theory of labor.

One After Three After Racine

The fitness of an argument is its grimmer muscle.

One shouldn't come to argue for boundedness, as though for responsibility, unless to come for that laughter at stumbling over its tripwires.

Three After Racine

Honor, without honey, is a mere malady.

After honey is honor, and then malapropism.

Honor is too fit, yet sweet after the honey of an argument.


A thin, crimped stuff –– occasional friendship.

Toward a Ruderal Sublime

Rooted out –– what remains is to our delight.

Emerson, on Depletion

Our moods do not believe in each other.

The Prior Artist

If I feel anything, it's apart from the precedent.


You're always young on this cracker earth. Quit angling for the impenetrable precedent. The point is to be thankful for the ducts.

Domains & Intents: 7

Ludwig in the manic phase: "Visual space has essentially no owner."

And that's exactly what I want to know -- what essentially has an owner.

  • This ruthless space without attribution.
  • This "disputed language."
  • As if one, a prior art.

All Good Poems Are in a Suitcase...

...on a baggage rack, on a train, in an anecdote by Hitchcock about the Scottish Highlands.

Julian Assange listens to the story, but refuses to point to the suitcase.

He's keeping a low cover, twisting his drink tickets between his fingers as if they were plot coupons in a story vehicle about narrative progress. He thinks if he can crack the suitcase, he'll have bought himself a new life.

All good poems are effectively autobiographies of the macguffin.


A friend's status message always reads: "warm & mandatory."

And I always think, this must be the father's voice.


That the world is replete, and repetition merely a spoken word.


That the difference between the poem and the program is the expected return.


That the difference between the poem and the program is the field of argument.


Fog delay. It sounds like a weapon, but so does childhood in a certain context.

Radio Narration on South Africa

"We are giving you this mobile phone so you can be honest about your lives."

Elsewhere, Adorno speaks of a "language without soil."


The no-no bird, the turning of the crank. It squeaks, I speak.

And the character of seniority? Described by the ratio of leisure and complaint.


"Son" is small, and "small" is a picture of how we care for the small thing.

We all need a massive background.

Paraphrasing Spicer

That the problem with Red Rock Canyon is that its name is Red Rock Canyon.

What could be meant by 'disputed language'?

What they called for then -- when there were names, and not these promiscuous groves.

The Defiant Ones

Cara Williams suffers the eternal present:

"All my life I've been waitin' to get away from here. From the mud gumbo and the loneliness."

Elsewhere, Adorno speaks of a "language without soil."


All this concern for containment, when the smell of a biscuit lifts every roof.


From the inside out, he learns each day that an apple is not a pomegranate.

To bear fruit, he thinks it inside out.


Late summer, slow chauffeur, bed hovering, night so reluctant to put me down.

Value and Disclosure

"The cost of defensive publication can be zero, like a conference paper."

The Black Swan Tool

Or, the problem of the black swan tool.

Black swan, signifying a statistical exception that falsifies or repudiates a dominant worldview.

Swan tool, used by recovery servicemen to 'break into' a vehicle, often to free occupants without agency (eg, a child or a pet) from imprisonment.

The poem as black swan tool attempts to engineer an exception, an egress from 'the literature' –– from the literary economy or marketplace –– yet simultaneously also attempts to break into the vehicle of literary history, or the conceit of a bounded discipline and its progress.

Where aspirant poets desire to invent, but refuse or are impatient with the poem, the tool is the poetic community, or the movement.

The problem leads frequently to defensive publication –– and the vector of poetry is away from publication.


That poetry is endlessly establishing conditions for fair use.


That for the poet witness is never incomplete.


That against the literature the poet is an expert witness.


That the literature is inconsistent.


That poetry is forensics, and the field under its scrutiny not Literature, but "the literature".


If one can never concede the defeat of one's own knowledge, one can never be a humorist.

If one can never be a humorist, one can never be perfect.


The world is replete, yet there is no end to fiction.

U.S. Bonds

In absence of the prerecording, the risk is who might hear.

I want to holler but the town's too small.


That poetry is not here to make these axioms cohere.


That poetry is a wilderness prior to philosophy.


That the poem is the garden of the propositional.


That the prototypes of poetry
(the heart, the thing, the idea, spring and/or the rose)
are not evidence of its misapplication.

On the Partisan & Propositionality

Char, Leaves of Hypnos: "Brighten the imagination of those who stammer instead of speaking, who blush the moment they assert something. These are steadfast partisans."

Foundations of Stuttering: [on "utterances having low propositional substance"] Many sources have reported that no stuttering occurs in recitative speaking at various assemblages, such as in certain church rituals. In effect, such performance is choral speaking. Stutter is also said to not be evident in even solo performances of, for instance, the Lord's Prayer, or the Pledge of Allegiance. Regarding this latter group of examples, it should be clear that the propositional value of such expressions is minimal, and that rehearsal and practice must play a crucial role.

* * *

Proposing that the partisan has no need of speech.

Domains & Intents: 6

  • Propositionality.
  • Portability.

Stevens, the lighthouse.

"We must endure our thoughts all night, until
The bright obvious stands motionless in cold."


Behind the "incalculable balances", the cruelty of the parent's corrections. Against the improvisations of the child, he bestows a degenerative gift: personhood.


Masanobu Kuno sat down and hand-wrote the lines:

"Do not envy the fathers of others."

"I can't be your horse to ride, but you two be good friends."

"Please be an unbeatable person like your father and avenge my death."

No line from there to here, no line to steer the fingertip across the face, no line to stay the instruction.

13 Lines on Smallness, from Lucretius

How small can anything be? We know of creatures
So tiny they would seem to disappear
If they were less than half their present size.
How big do you suppose their livers are?
Their hearts? The pupils of their eyes? Their toes?
Pretty minute, you must admit. Well, then,
What about things like those atomic motes
That form the elements of mind and spirit?
Diminutive, to say the least. Nor can we
Find with our finger tips the cause of smell
That clings there from the touch of marigold,
Centaury, heal-all, wormwood, southernwood.
So images move beyond our powers of sight.


The father proves nothing by immobility. To join to the occasion, he must follow, and follow, and follow, and follow.


At twenty months, the son is the gladdest usher.


In the background of the visual field, the child is a charged object. To fix one's attention to him is to fall away from much of the world.


To understand Char's sense of acquiescence, one must understand what he chose to sentinel: the sovereignty of the child.

Longfellow's Visitors

"A German woman, with a strong accent, called to talk to him about 'The Building of the Ship,' which she was planning to read in public, and which she called 'The Lunch of the Sheep.'"


That poetry is thankfully mistaken.


That poetry is essentially hostile to invention.


Home is the compose key.


Reducibly yours.

That the inevitable parental subsidy to the child is chiefly a grammar.

Ætiology of the Snark

Niche is my curse.
Curse is my niche.


Save for grammar, young thing, I have nothing of which to remind you.


Young thing, I have nothing to remind you of.


That the "human spirit" is too well-furnished to be crowded into the future.

That the quotation marks are evidence of this.

Line by Elias Canetti

What can be told without great impudence?


The father is a holdover. Tall, neutral angel, frequently lapsing into the human.


That poetry stages the struggle to assert an ontology.


That the mien of poetry is eligibility.


"No not now."

A mere alveolar ridge between immanence and withholding.


We say 'blue sky' as if it were a staple. Not circumambient –– an ecstatic fragment.

But a boy in the sleeve of a song points high on cue.  Blue, blue, blue! it's a musical accompaniment.


The father thinks of the son saying to the father:

Any joy is adequate, 'parting hero'.

Momentarily –– the future is accommodationist.

Line by Steve Malmude

Any joy is adequate, 'parting hero'.

More Manners

"Those who like their discourses what used to be called 'marrowy' (ie, denunciatory of the opposition) will seek vainly for what they want in Browne."

Peeping Mot p.5

Where is the entire interview? What is a mistaken belief?

Like at mid-evening, when it's impossible to conceive of a solitary failure, and unmarketability is an accommodating landlord.

"Chain of title." "Talent agreements."

Failure and marketability, interviewed, mistaken for brothers.


Always the soft boys.
Always the arts.
Always the grapevines.
Always the hirelings.

Publication is not origin.

Peradventurer's Concordance, Book of Genesis

  • 18:24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city 
  • 18:28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous
  • 18:29 and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found
  • 18:30 I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found
  • 18:31 unto the LORD: Peradventure there shall be twenty found 
  • 18:32 speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found
  • 24:5 said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing
  • 24:39 unto my master, Peradventure the woman will not follow
  • 27:12 My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem
  • 31:31 for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force
  • 32:20 will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me
  • 38:11 be grown: for he said, Lest peradventure he die also
  • 42:4 for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him
  • 43:12 again in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight
  • 44:34 with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come
  • 50:15 dead, they said, J–– will peradventure hate us, and will 


No breeze necessary for the child's mind to lean forward.


The happy son throughout the day, in the forecastles of description: "yellow", "purple", "blue".  He pardons me my task-making, bursting into his tropical outlets, to refresh the elemental world with the digressions of a visual intelligence.

I don't mind that he comes first. As with Olson: "There is no strict personal order / for my inheritance."


Before pitiless animals, it grew larger and larger, the Exhibition on a string.

Like moralizing to a child, there is no preparation for this –– this dislocation. I'm in the same boat, in the outer ring of the innocent section.

Peeping Mot p.4

The Ministry of Information and the "waste product" –– anachronistic, both.

The Conceptual Poet and the Hiring Committee

  • Invests in genre limits, provided one can violate them.
  • Somewhat underdelivers, often dancing around the encounter.
  • Tendency to pleonasm, though clearly wants to charm. Hints of personals ad in the LRB.
  • Open to traveling for panel appearances.
  • Seeks to individuate. Cites collectives as evidence of curatorial abilities.
  • Claims not to know who Laurie Anderson is.
  • Hyperlinks to allegory (the most repeatable and literary of devices) as evidence of invention.
  • Is flexible, underspecifying the 'movement' as necessary, hesitant to commit to self-description should the next conference demand another.
  • May read too many back issues of October –– envious of painting's egress.
  • Good at market research, though strangely views literature as emerging market.
  • Skeptically references something called "Flarf". (HC - No one knows what this is.)
  • Provides consistent consumer reporting on previously used theoretical apparatus.
  • Definitely willing to travel for panel appearances.
  • Possible hire.

Peeping Mot p.3

Bargaining at the counter, the avant-gardist tackles the convoys of scholarship to concoct a personal best -- the 'only one of its kind'.


The terror of an empty box when the adult aspect charms it with an emotion. The comfort of an 'empty' room when its inventories are ready collaborators.

It's animation that's the problem –– this space that fills so easily, into which, soft boy, we have brought you so many strangers.


He's delighted, and we want that.

He fails to describe the world in the canonical way, and we want that.

Such even prospects.


Parenting, not to be confused with curatorship –– it teaches asymmetrically.

Like Bell's palsy, the face one places before the child loses its nerve at random, fails to manage, and –– self-limiting –– reacts to seizure with blind attention.


In a world of black and white dogs, dirty is indeed the funniest word.

And the kiddos know it!

Domains & Intents: 5

  • Difficult subjects.
  • Plain language.
  • Promises.

Ashbery's Birthday

Because life is short
We must remember to keep asking it the same question

   ––"The New Spirit", Three Poems



That word breaks my heart.

Peeping Mot p.2

A lie is a virgin pipe to an expensive future.

Escape Artists

––That poetry is vulnerable to invention
––That invention can proxy for egress
––That poetry can prepare an exception

They think that's what it is:
   the black swan tool.


That poetry does not care for us in a timely way.


That poetry is open to faithless arguments.

Domains & Intents: 4

  • The limitations, or collective punishments, of invention.
  • The foundlings of enterprise.
  • Henry Vaughan's invocation of a "dirty intelligence."
  • The idea of the vernacular; a vernacular of ideas.
  • What I will choose to love, and what I will choose to know.

Untoward Arguments

Poetry can be made propositional, not to make
a better poetry, and not to marry novelty
to decency or progress, but to argue a life

that remainders nothing short of poetry, an act
of breaking in, and to our own callow house.

To argue a life made not mean by synopsis
but frank and more wild by a typical result.


What's that?

What's this thing?

In the youngest vocabularies, the sound at the root is a response to the prompt.

Where does this token go when the agreed-upon words crowd it out?


Personae are among the lesser gifts to be auditioned in early childhood.


"Bees can remember human faces, but only if they are tricked into thinking that we are strange flowers."

––Harpers Findings, 7.20.10


"A content affirmation exercise."

Somewhere between irony and forbearance, Steven Farmer turns the perfect phrase to describe the persistent value arbitration within contemporary poetry.

Such valence for this literature that refuses to initialize its variables.


To small life, the child is ambassadorial, with hiyas to a field mouse, as though to extend the sure courtesies one cheerfully renews in a bounded society.

On Revisionism: 3

As our case is not new
Let it ring false

To learn, in something like real time,
the exigencies of potential life.


That poetry is open to strong propositions.


That poetry is a controlled vocabulary for what fails to come to market.


What don't I know that I could not say?

What don't I know that I would not say?

Epigram to Preface a Collection, after Stevens.

Back to the minimum patriarch, a garble among hash marks.

Alive as anything.

Domains & Intents: 3

The poem and the publication.

Science and populism.

On Revisionism: 2

Plagiarism is a moral disinclination. One declines to revert the career.

On Revisionism: 1

Between plagiarism and repetition, there is no substantial relation.


That poetry remains a broad permission.


That poetry is a commitment to food access.

Observations in Books

"One sits and is carried into the remote unknown. How well-off I am, really!"

––R Walser, The Little Berliner

Peeping Mot p.1

No return from the war by doing puzzles. The puzzle is coming home.

I am confident
I am ashamed.

Domains & Intents: 2

What publishing and poetry have in common, fundamentally?

No clue. 

It's like a forced marriage of mathematics and cantaloupe.

Domains & Intents: 1

Of interest in poetry:
  • Forensics.
  • Unbounded propositions.
  • Renovation.
  • Priorities.


That the derivative work mounts a constitutive defense.

That it will not live as a pejorative.


That poetry is vulnerable to invention.