a foot over
coyote shit –
>From: Poetryetc provides a venue for a dialogue relating to poetry and
>poetics [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of KENT JOHNSON
>Sent: Friday, June 14, 2002 4:16 PM
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: 16 poems for Speech Project
>Recently he has spoken in writing
>on the listserv Poetics: “If you encounter
>a terrorist on a plane, you don’t politely
>request that he return to his seat, you
>pull out a .45 and you shoot him.”
>History is unstoppable in its teleological
>drive to unity: Pop culture merges
>with the Humanities; the Talk Show merges
>with Talk Poetry. And huge decompressed
>machines fall, like ideologemes, out of the air.
>Jackson Mac Low
>Once I was on a panel entitled
>"Buddhism and American Poetry"
>at Poet's House. Armand Schwerner
>held forth for a long time on the
>shikirichi, and Anne Waldman
>shouted sutras with a massive
>intensity. I remember that
>Jackson Mac Low didn't say
>very much, nor did he move very
>much, really. But at the end
>of the evening he shook my hand
>and said, "Nice to have met you."
>“No, no, no,” growled the Roshi, when I
>called him on the phone to ask that he write
>an essay for a book I was editing.
>“The last thing I’m going to do is write an
>essay on the relationship between Zen and
>poetry. I mean, what makes you think either
>one even exists, for fuck’s sake? I mean,
>give me a break. Goodbye.” Click.
>Around Christmas, I sent him a musical
>e-card, with the following classical paragram:
>pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo.
>“I didn’t realize, Kent Johnson,” he wrote
>back, “that you composed not just in
>Japanese, but also in Italian!”
>And so I answered, “In fact, I don’t, Tan Lin.
>The line’s by Letallicus, misattributed to Catullus,
> and it’s in Latin!”
>Dale Smith looks like a young
>Robert Wagner. Once, I said to
>him, “Compared to astronomers
>or molecular physicists, we poets
>are nothing.” He typed back, “Yes,
>that’s very true. But we’ve made
>our choices, it’s too late to go back,
>and now we just have to go for
>all the marbles.”
>Great balls of fire! Full of fur and noise,
>rolling up my chest and then my mouth
>is full of great balls of fire! And I'm laughing
>so hard, and he screams at me, "Ice storm
>tree!" which makes me laugh even harder,
>though he is absolutely serious, he screams,
>"Myth chariot fucker!" and then I'm laughing
>so hard I almost bite it off, just as he screams,
>"Bite your face off yeah!" and his eyes roll back
>and it's what the Ancients always told us, and we
>disappear together, despite me, into some kind
>Wow, I said, that has a lot of energy in it.
>Yes, said Ron Padgett, I wrote it for
>John Crowe Ransom, my former lover.
>He is a young experimental poet.
>One time he wrote to me:
>“In the end, or tonight, I am not
>sure whether to eat you with a fork
>or spoon. My reaction has been a
>mixture of disgust and praise.”
>To paraphrase Su T’ung Po, may
>Geoffrey Gatza rise, without impediment
>or effort, to the highest offices.
>"Indeed, I am dying, but I am here to say
>that his poems are miniature theaters,"
>said a boy on fire, standing on a paper
>stage. BRAVO! BRAVO! cried the poet-pilot
>in a little plane, dark blue against a
>dark-blue night sky. VIVA DELAUNAY!
>Years ago, concluding a brief essay, Andrei Codrescu quipped:
>“One must be able to picture the bodies of Helen Vendler and
>Marjorie Perloff, mortally grappling in a mud wrestling pit.”
>As Cicero says, in the Tusculan Disputations,
>“Anakreon’s poetic works are entirely erotic.”
>I’ve been seeing his stunning photograph
>for years now in APR, the one where
>his head is leaning on his hand and his
>burning cigarette (which he is holding
>in the hand upon which his head is leaning) seems
>stuck into his skull like one of those plant-food
>sticks that help your geraniums grow. And I always
>want to wave my arms and yell, really loud:
>“Watch out Peter Gizzi, you young and handsome
>minstrel, watch out—don’t be like Michael
>Jackson and let your hair catch on fire!”
>He is a very gifted youngish poet and critic.
>His name makes me think of that physics
>question in my fifth grade science book:
>"If Galileo climbs to the top of the University
>bell tower and drops a ten lb. bag of feathers
>and a ten lb. bag of stones at exactly the
>same time, which will hit the ground first?"
>Hmm... Probably Perelman before Bob.
>Bill Luoma is a poet and minor league baseball player.
>In an essay, he says that the idea of disrupting the male
>gaze through particular grammatical and syntactical
>strategies has outlived its usefulness. Then, foul ball,
>he says that if a man is going to write about a woman’s
>vagina, he should foreground strong verbs, as does
>Eileen Myles, and not predicate nouns, as does
>Andre Breton. Then, foul ball, he draws a picture of a
>phallic-looking space ship getting sucked into a vagina-
>looking black hole, where the space ship is The Poet
>and the black hole is Culture. Then, strike three, he says
>that when he strikes out, the catcher sometimes says,
>“Does your pussy hurt today?” And that's how his essay ends.
>When I had him come to read in Freeport, oh,
>five or six years back, we drank a bunch of beers
>at Tony’s Oyster Tap. On the last night we ever
>spoke, he suddenly and coolly said, “You know,
>Kent, the Japanese are polite. But if Yasusada
>had been Navajo or Sioux, you would have had
>two or three long-braided dudes waiting on your
>stoop.” I lit a cigarette, blew a ring, looked at the
>legendary man, and said (watching him straighten
>in surprise where he sat), “You know, Gary, I, too,
>am polite. But here’re two words that would pop to mind
>in such an event, and you can put them under your hat:
>Baseball, and Bat.”
>Ray Di Palma
>In the letters page of Lingua Franca,
>Ray Di Palma had an argument with
>Bruce Andrews and Charles Bernstein
>over who came up with the idea for
>the equals signs. Di Palma said it was he
>who did; Andrews and Bernstein said it
>was they who did. Each tacitly accused
>the other of intellectual theft and the
>wilfull revision of literary history. One thing
>is certain: Somewhere, a naughty, naughty
>Author is L=Y=I=N=G.
>A man is beating a dead horse in his living room. “I’m going to
>beat the shit out of you,”
>he screams, beating it, repeatedly, with an implement. The years
>go by. Literary magazines rise and fall. The horse shrinks down
>to a mummified chalk. All the furniture in the room goes out of
>fashion. “I’m going to beat the shit out of you,” screams the man.
>“I’m going to beat the fucking living shit out of you, you
>That she was at the beach, all wet with oil,
>pulling her hair and screaming as I died there on the
>sand, inside the darkening ecliptic of a dune buggy’s
>shadow, in a circle of fading, martini-breathed friends,
>*was a miracle out of the movies*, the projection of a pearl
>repeating through time, or an image of Orion, my name like
>echoing phenomena, or a phenomenon echoing, as it were,
>appearing to unfold and stream like a string of dashed sentences
>back into my gaping mouth, my mouth trying to say something I
>can’t now remember, and I don’t think I ever shall, not for the
>death of me. I know that to go out this way is in bad taste,
>especially right after lunch, and especially after all these short,
>witty epigrams by Kent Johnson, a poet I much admire, as does
>Jimmy, and as will John and Kenneth, in their own time. And I
>know that it makes little sense to die here with Leslie Scalapino
>shouting down at me to Get up, because I’m the one who’s
>to say that, after all. But fun is fun, I’ve had my share, and reality
>returns, like Orion, in this poem.