Friday, June 18, 2010

Raucously Immoderate Blacklisted Fungal Oryx-Horn Tootles

Today is PLAY DAY. A rare moment between gigs, where I decide to cocoon it like beckham and hike the pristine Alps of all my undiscovered countries, where I regurgitate my true colors in the same way Alexander von Humboldt's pomeranian throw-pillow spits mysterious lyrics about Bulgarian bait shops. It's just like blogging from a shed in the Hudson Valley, except that now all its unlocked additional premium features are going live in real time. It's like Christmas in the Azores. It's all about getting old and bloated like 1975 Elvis and not being hot anymore. It's all about dispensing supplements rather than accepting nurturance.

Part One (for Jeff Beebe)

This one sat on the top of my stack the longest. Mir hinted that it was because the dragon-riding elf (sylph? succubus?) wasn't wearing pants, but I hadn't even noticed that fact until she did. I was happy the poet and publisher had such verisimilitudinous cojones to get all the fonts and stripes just right, and then I went all chaotic neutral on it:

As with my 18 and 19 year-old students, I had spacing issues with the poems on the inside, because Sakkis uses a lot of triple and quadruple-spacing for his 17-poem sequence. Even so, his lines, so spare, soi disant, are still funny. Teaser lines from "Gelatinous Cube": "when walking into the room/make sure to poke it with a stick/or you may end up/disgested/or maimed/with a Crip walk/like Charles Manson". For completed joke purposes, I include here the cover of the very module me and D&D pals Mir, Jaye and Atira tried to play last saturday:

As you can see, as much thought and energy went into the cover of Gary Gygax as went into the poems. Nonetheless, nostalgia and neuralgia points are awarded for making it to the top of the dogpile!!!

Part Two (for the Vandercook Snobs)

I begin to understand why visual appeal and design virtuosity make for successful book fair visits. My next offering comes from the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. The person at their table took the time to explain the amazingly complex process by which the book was made, and which I promptly forgot. I think lithography, post-raised reverse impressions and passes, and some fair amount of rubbing were used to create the drifting, cloud-like tenuousness of this cover. While the book-as-object itself sent me into a trance with its tactile, gentle feeling and modesty, the poems inside Museum Armor took me 3 to 4 readings before their chiseled subtexts bubbled forth like a clear spring of Helicon water.

Part Three (for the IO poetry journal)

This next piece is a postcard. I just picked it up off a table. I don't know if I was nice enough to talk to the person sitting at the table. My memory is vain, fickle, selective and basically crunk.

Apparently, this rare postcard (#18 of 30) is supposed to be treated in some way, given "extra-illustration" so it can appear in a chapbook. But I'm going to use it to send a request for poems to somebody named "Rootdrinker" who is also a Charles Olson fanatic. My apologies to Elsbeth. I was trying to think what a "rootdrinker" was or is, and then I decided he or she or it is a "beer drinker". Plus the book I get for sending the card to "drinker" has a poem by Hoa Nguyen in it.

Part Four (for Alice Cone)

This part is much more serious than Parts One to Three. One of the best conversations I had at the Chapbook Festival was with Alan Holder. He gave me what I think was his only copy of his book Mourning Sequence. It had some kind of oil stain radiating from the center. I left it in an unduly moist place in my house, and it was further damaged. It was published by Finishing Line Press, where my dear friend Alice published her book Shatter Blossom. I knew this was a halfway pay-to-play publishing concern, so I could see how much care was given to the text and cover by the poet himself.

A poem by Alan Holder:


Now that you are gone,
I must see for both of us
see leaves gallantly hanging on,
turned to gold by November's alchemy.

Now that you are gone,
I must hear for both of us,
hear the stately descending notes
at the start of the Largo in Handel's Xerxes.

Now that you are gone,
I must taste for both of us,
spoonful after spoonful of chocolate
almond ice cream, our favorite.

Now that you are gone,
I must smell and touch for both of us,
but since it is you I would smell, you I would touch,
what scent can I seek, what trace with these fingertips?

Part Five (for Gabrielle Bouliane)

At the end of the Chapbook Festival, a kind man at the next table gave me this book, a memoir, and it really impressed me, both in how it came into my possession, and by its completely unique narrative. I don't know if it's a sub-genre, but I'd never read a memoir by an artist/illustrator living in NYC who was into sado-masochism. I suppose I never looked very hard to find one. I appreciated the straightforward tone and the sometimes unintentionally ridiculous situations the author found herself in, but above all I came to admire the strength she showed in surviving horrible living conditions, scam artists, piecemeal and underpaid employment, and the two biggest municipal disasters of the aughts: the 9/11 attacks and hurricane Katrina.

Go Marrus!!

Come back around for Parts 6 to One Kajillion!


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