poems

“Dear Stone Magic” published in Futures Trading

futures trading 6.1

The latest issue of online experimental literary journal Futures Trading #6.2 went live yesterday (Jan 6). Another one of those “who’s who” anthologies of the international avant lit underground, this number includes work from Mercedes Lawry, Sanjeev Sethi, Annie Blake, Kyle Hemmings, James Fowler, Stephen Middleton, Mark Young, Christopher Barnes, Joe Balaz, James Kincaid, Glenn Ingersoll, John Marvin, Patrick Theron Erickson, Joel Streicker, Simon Perchik, Donald E. Gasperson, and John Dorroh.

I’m pleased to say one of my poems from the Civilization’s Lost series also made the cut; it’s called “Deer Stone Magic,” revolving around the deer stone pillars of the Mongolian plains. You can read the piece (and the whole issue) here. Be sure to scroll all the way down for the Mad Hatter’s teacup!

fut-trading deer stone

Three Gonch poems published in M58

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Online experimental poetry journal M58 published three of my Gonch poems today: “Nonclaganall Anlachan Clach Galachonag,” “Callanach an Lag Ongana,” and “Onla Onla Callanagan Hoggaach.” You can read them here.

These pieces were composed in “Gonch language” with an alphabet restricted to the letters in the nonsense phrase “all gonch.” With the current breakdown in the semantic values of (American) English, a need has arisen for a new language for future communications. Perhaps Gonch will be that language. Perhaps not.

“Donut Economics” and two other poems published in Unlikely Stories

donut-unlikely stories

Today online literary journal Unlikely Stories published three of my poems: “Donut Economics,” “Squirrel Tag,” and “Looking Out for Birdman.” You can read them here.

I should note that “donut economics” is actually a thing. I took the title from a book by Kate Raworth that I saw where I work. I didn’t actually read the book, as the title was evocative enough for me. But I probably should read it, as it’s apparently a guide to progressive economics, which is one of my concerns in my work: “In Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth, we see that markets are inefficient and growth is not the holy grail . . . there are hard limits to what you can do to the planet”–taken from the blurb for her TedTalk video on YouTube, which you can watch here.

“Paradise in a Pill” and two other poems, plus five asemic letters in Angry Old Man

AOM-5-cover

Angry Old Man is one of the best online journals out there for experimental words and images. AOM issue #5 was just released, filled with great contributions from the international avant garde poetry scene. I’m pleased that several of my works are included: three text poems from my “robot language” series–“Paradise in a Pill,” “This is What We Know,” and “Your Body Is Waiting”–plus five video stills that represent part of an alien asemic alphabet. You can view the images here, and read the poems here

AOM-5-vispo

The texts form part of a new series of experiments inspired by the Facebook AI units that recently developed their own language using English words with different syntax and meaning. The AI units were intended to carry out customer service transactions and negotiations, and the format of their language seems to be a powerful way to confront and manipulate the continuous stream of commercial messages invading our mental space. I’ve written more about this work here.

Each of these three pieces were initiated by phrases contained in spam emails that seemed evocative of something more mysterious or sinister…like something a robot would say when addressing an audience of meatbags.

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“Trailing the Blues” and one other poem published in Rat’s Ass Review

rats ass winter 2018

The Winter 2018 issue of Rat’s Ass Review has just been released, featuring a large assortment of poems on everyday subjects in plain language. The authors are arranged alphabetically, which is the only reason my work sits at the top; two of my poems made the cut: “Trailing the Blues” and “That Was My First Wife.” You can read them here.

I should note that while “Trailing” was based on a real person I saw in a liquor store one day (while adding to my rum collection), “First Wife” is complete fiction; for one thing, I was never in the army.

rats ass win 19 trailing

“You Need a New Heart” published in Avant Appal(achia)

avant-appal-6

Experimental poetry journal Avant Appal(achia)‘s Issue #6 went live today. Nice selection of interesting text and visual work. This one also includes my poem “You Need a New Heart,” one of a series of pieces based on the idea of an imaginary AI transactional language. You can read the piece and the whole issue here.

avan-app-6-new heart

This text forms part of a new series of experiments inspired by the Facebook AI units that recently developed their own language using English words with different syntax and meaning. The AI units were intended to carry out customer service transactions and negotiations, and the format of their language seemed to be a powerful way to confront and manipulate the continuous stream of commercial messages invading our mental space.

These texts represent an attempt to replicate a machine code constructed from an extremely limited vocabulary, often initiated by spam emails. Each piece develops by permutations, repetition, and sound/rhythm. It’s impossible for the human observer to know if the machine is analyzing or tabulating data, performing a calculation, conducting a negotiation, or making a persuasive appeal. Any of these functions is a possibility. In a way, the texts are a form of speculative fiction: looking at a machine narrative pulled from a future where AIs have been released to perform functions on their own. As in the case of the Facebook AIs, these instances show a machine or machines adapting human (English) language for their own ends. The repetition of the key words imitates a transactional language, as if a carnival barker is repeating an appeal to a potential audience. But the end result also reminds me of a magical incantation appealing to a familiar spirit.

“After the Guillotine” text and video poem published in Five-2-One

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Literary journal Five-2-One usually appears in print, but its daily supplement, The Sideshow, appears online. My poem “After the Guillotine” appears there starting today in text and video formats. The video features my reading of the poem, along with an electronic backing score. Warning: grim subject matter may not be appropriate for all audiences! You can view it all here.

guillotine-text-521

“Joyce in Washington” and two other poems published in Outlaw Poetry

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Outlaw Poetry is an online journal comprising a who’s who of outlaw poets. So I’m very pleased to appear in their pages again, this time with three poems: “Joyce in Washington,” “On a Roll,” and “Women’s Work is Never Done.” You can read them here.

The first two pieces are based on real people and events. When I was temping at the USPS headquarters many years ago, Joyce worked there as an administrative assistant. She was a real character, very unique for DC, who I couldn’t resist writing about. One detail that didn’t make the poem was the vibrating pillow she used to sit on to soothe her back.

“On a Roll” is the second of two poems I wrote, more or less transcribing one of my dad’s rants in a New Jersey hotel room after a very long day helping my sister move from her apartment. When he’s on a roll, he’s on a roll.

joyce-outlaw

3 Gonch poems and 5 Gonchlog images published in Word for/Word journal

word for word32

Word for/Word is an online journal of experimental poetry that just released its issue #32. Lots of interesting text and visual poetry to check out. It includes three of my Gonch poems, “Cachallanog Agaal,” “Nagan Halloch Cohl Llonagga,” and “Llaanaganallo Hacla Chagalnach Aglacoa,” as well as five images from the Gonchlog. You can read them here; just click on my name in the far right column on the front page.

The text pieces come from a series of new works using a vocabulary limited to words invented from the nonsense phrase “All Gonch.” It’s an attempt to create a new language, imagining also the culture behind it through the shape and structure of the words, that might arise after the death of the current (American) culture and language.

The images are part of another phase of the Gonch project I call the Gonchlog. In this process, I search through consumer magazines and cut out the five letters of “gonch,” then glue them onto accounting paper. The source, its date of publication, and volume number are noted. The intention is to draw out that key nonsense word from these commercial propaganda vehicles in order to find a way forward.

cahallanog-word4word

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