2000–2001 Readings and Talks

Harryette Mullen and John Taggart

Mullen and TaggartSeptember 19, 2000

Social Lyric, Acoustic Forms
Reading: 8:00 PM | Copley Formal Lounge

[Kills bugs dead.]

Kills bugs dead. Redundancy is syntactical overkill. A pin-prick of peace at the end of the tunnel of a nightmare night in a roach motel. Their noise infects the dream. In black kitchens they foul the food, walk on our bodies as we sleep over oceans of pirate flags. Skull and crossbones, they crunch like candy. When we die they will eat us, unless we kill them first. Invest in better mousetraps. Take no prisoners on board ship, to rock the boat, to violate our beds with pestilence. We dream the dream of extirpation. Wipe out a species, with God at our side. Annihilate the insects. Sterilize the filthy vermin.

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from Slow Song for Mark Rothko

1
To breathe and stretch one’s arms again
to breathe through the mouth to breathe to
breathe through the mouth to utter in
the most quiet way not to whisper not to whisper
to breathe through the mouth in the most quiet way to
breathe to sing to breathe to sing to breathe
to sing the most quiet way.

To sing to light the most quiet light in darkness
radiantia radiantia
singing light in darkness.

To sing as the host sings in his house.

Continue reading at thing.net

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Keith and Rosmarie Waldrop

WaldropOctober 10, 2000

Poetic Collaborations
Reading: 8:00 PM | Copley Formal Lounge

 

 


Herr Stimmung on Transparency

To those of a certain temperament, there is nothing worse than the
thought of something hidden, secret, withheld from their knowing—
especially if they suspect that another knows about it and has even,
perhaps, connived at keeping it concealed.

    D. H. Lawrence seems to have been irritated no end by the thought
that people were having sex and not telling him.

    Freud too.

    —Ah but then Freud arranged it so that everyone had to tell.

    His psychoanalysis lights up the depths, makes our tangled web
transparent, to the point where I can see all the way down to It.

    And the process moves outward in increasing rings:

    The Master analyses his disciples. Who thereby—transparent
now—become masters and, in turn, take on others, patients or
disciples, to analyse.

    So that eventually there are no secrets.

    Except, of course, those of the first Master, the Self-Analysed.

    Which is to say, the only private One, sole Unrevealed. Opaque
center of His universal panopticon.

    While we see only His words, His daughter, His cigar.

    Poor Lawrence.


Read more about Keith Waldrop


Representation

I have no conscience because I
always chew my pencil. Can we say
white paper
with black lines on it
is like a human body? This question
not to be decided by pointing
at a tree nor yet by a description
of simple pleasures.

Smell of retrieval. Led to expect the wrong
answer. An arsenal without purpose
but why yes please.
There is no touching the black box.
The tree not pointed at lives
in your bringing up the subject
and leaves space for need, falling.

The white ground. The waning heat.
I’d like
to say the history of the world.
Or that grammar
milks essence into propositions
of human kindness.

The difficulty here’s not true or false
but that the picture’s in the foreground
and its sense back where the gestures link
so closely to the bone
the words
give notice.
The application is not easy.

Read more about Rosmarie Waldrop

 


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Robert Creeley

Robert CreeleyNovember 14, 2000

Talking Shop with Creeley
Reading: 8:00 PM | Copley Formal Lounge

 

 


Credo

Creo que si … I believe
it will rain
tomorrow
… I believe
the son of a bitch

is going into the river
I believe All men are
created equal
—By your
leave a leafy

shelter over the exposed
person—I’m a
believer
creature
of habit but without

out there a void of
pattern older
older the broken
pieces no longer

salvageable bits
but incommensurate
chips yet must
get it back together.

In God we
trust
emptiness privilege
will not not perish
perish from this earth

In particular echo
of inside pushes
at edges all these years
collapse in slow motion.

The will to believe,
the will to be good,
the will to want
a way out—

Humanness, like
you, man. Us—pun
for once beyond reflective
mirror of brightening prospect?

I believe what it was
was a hope it could be
somehow what it was
and would so continue.

A plank to walk out on,
fair enough. Jump! said the pirate.
Believe me if all
those endearing young charms

Here, as opposed to there,
even in confusions there seems
still a comfort,
still a faith.

I’d as lief
not leave, not
go away, not
not believe.

I believe in belief …
All said, whatever I can think of
comes from there,
goes there.

As it gets now impossible
to say, it’s your hand
I hold to, still
your hand.


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Susan Howe

Susan HoweFebruary 15, 2000

Manuscripts and Books: What’s Lost in Transcription
Reading: 8:00 PM | Copley Formal Lounge

 

 


from Chanting at the Crystal Sea

11
I built a house
that faced the east
I never ventured west
for fear of murder.

Eternity dawned.

Solitary watcher
of what rose
and set
I saw only
a Golgotha
of corpses.

12
Experience teaches
the savage revenge
an enemy always takes
on forerunners
who follow.

You were a little army
of unarmed children—
A newborn infant
sat in the hollow
of my pillow.

Continue reading at The Poetry Foundation

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Bernadette Mayer and Lorenzo Thomas

Mayer and ThomasApril 24, 2001
Reading: 8:00 PM | Copley Formal Lounge

 

 

 


HELEN HYPATIA BAILEY BAYLY

besides not being from ancient troy
helen bailey hails from australia
her middle name is hypatia, her mother
thought if her first name was helen
her 2nd had to be the greek mathematician
stoned by st. cyril whom she pissed off
so helen hypatia bailey met a nice man
named brian bayly & they became the brains
of troy, he taught geology at RPI
& she astronomy lecturing probably on halley’s
comet till he & she, now a helen of troy
retired to a farm near this here troy
that i, the writer, am near to too
in australia, women were relegated to
kinder, küche & kirche (children, kitchen
& church) but when I met helen bailey bayly
she was carrying a sign that said: troy
back on track, we met in front of the burden
ironworks, once powered by the world’s biggest
waterwheel where workers made horseshoes
& bells & stoves & fences around aeries
d’you think one of the baileys played the ukulele?
now though RPI’s president receives
the highest salary in the country, troy’s
proctor’s, owned by RPI, is to be razed
depriving trojans of their heritage again
& poor troy becomes poorer perhaps the poorest?
not something to drink a troy cocktail* to!

*campari, lime, soda, also called a joe brainard


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The Leopard

The eyeballs on her behind are like fire
Leaping and annoying
The space they just passed
Just like fire would do

The ground have no mouth to complain
And the girl is not braver herself

She is beautiful in her spotted
Leopard ensemble. Heartless so

To keep her fashionalbe in New York
Leopards are dying

Crude comments flutter around her
At lunchtime. She sure look good
She remembers nine banishing speeches

More powerful than this is the seam
Of the leotard under her clothing

Her tail in the leotard is never still
The seam!
She feels it too familiar on her leg
As some crumb says something suggestive

The leopard embracing around her
Is too chic to leap and strike

Her thoughts fall back to last semester’s karate

Underneath, the leotard crouches up on her thigh
It is waiting for its terrible moment!

Read more about Lorenzo Thomas


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