Category: Postmodern

Thought Experiment: begin with a cryptographic key life cycle where you function as the key

Key Life Cycle (in developmental phases)


give birth, bring forth ideas illuminated
in liquidity’s nourishing infrastructure
embody the symbols, imprint the genetic code


produce without possession
envision freedom from rationality
educe a contradistinction


gather the cipher and the subtext
data amassed for encoding
integrate a secret sharing scheme


excel but do not lead your thoughts
breathe, decrypt the psychological schemas
act without premeditated expectation


assimilate the workings of the universe
puzzle out an esemplastic solution
to unlock strategies of liberation


allow entropy to overpower existence
witness the denaturing of mysterious virtue,
for all states are possible in the end

* This poem was influenced by the 10th Chapter (Pacifying the agitated, material soul) of Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu and is a companion piece to Feasting on Shadows. Chromatopia, LLC has just released its first two books of poetry: These Little Episodes and Signal from Static available in e-book and paperback.

Feasting on Shadows

‘Only poets and schizophrenics communicate in a language that defies rational analysis . . .’ Robert Anton Wilson

Here Hypatia approaches the door
the door is an irrelevant detail
unknowable in its true nature

she glimpses her blind spot
(a function usually serviced by love)
or some part of it, partially obscured

to drive home the meaning of paradox
mensurate the distance traversed between
the embodied and ideal

a parsing machine cuts the semantic noise
from intellection’s graceful veil,
stitching the poetic to quantum psychology

is the reality a sinister game or mystic bliss?
opaque liquidity implies motion without clarity
she moves in mysterious ways
pop culture clashes with nuclear glory
amidst the alleluias, seraphic cries
arriving fiery in the ear

perception tilts while memory is reinvented
neurochemicals bind to receptors along new pathways
meaningless speech collides with calcified ‘facts’
in transactional, irrefutable phenomena

spooks that inhibit the limning shadow
recondite specters that haunt her in the night

think wrongly but never not at all

within qubits any state is possible
even that of non-fictitious disinformation

the thoughts of a lobotomized squirrel are more challenging
than the most advanced artificial intelligence
these creatures the post-modern bestiary embody
hidden truths within a cryptographic field

plucked by the talons of eagles
in a shifting, holographic sky
rewiring the flight path in her brain

her mind continues its activity
oblivious to whether it is an immortal soul
traveling through lifetimes or a conduit
of collective unconsciousness

illusions creating a force field
a surrounding state of flow,
a myth her thoughts dreamt,
meta-programming in a biometric system

Anna Montgomery

Anna Montgomery

salience exists at the edge of chaos
where order, complexity and entropy collide
perhaps the random latticework
underlying your strategic contingency
is complex dynamic phenomena

an equivocating nontrivial correlation
apophenia propagates elegant proofs
at the percolation threshold
niches and differentiation
enigmas of probabilistic epigenesis

amidst our cognitive architecture
meta-cognition, 1/f noise, signs of life
coherence and self-organization
leading to philosophical inquiry
on the shores of an island of trickery

limited rationality in domains of disorder
fractals creating a quandary of scale
in this space of perturbation,
phase transitions and energetic states
neuronal diversity the dynamic key

Duomo’s counterclockwise
cathedral clock, Uccello’s unique
ecological contribution

Note: I’m hosting Meeting the Bar: Creativity today at dVerse Poets Pub. Please join us!

Wild Kingdom

for Yumiko Kayukawa

Sacrosanct superflat allusions
meticulously drafted shamans
pop art girls snog anime animals

postmodern bestiary of familiars
floral fantasia collides with
kawaii panda bears

Kid Robot toy spins
her subculture hothouse
of mystic supa luvas

I have the privilege of hosting Meeting the Bar today where we will explore Bernadette Mayer’s Writing Experiments  and hopefully have some fun doing it. I chose to write in 3D. You are welcome to pick any one of the suggestions that appeal to you for today’s prompt. See you at dVerse Poets Pub!

Please use headphones and turn up the volume, both on your computer and YouTube to hear the audio, this is a spoken word poem. It is an erasure poem based on the 3rd chapter of The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana. I am hosting Meeting the Bar: Critique and Craft today at dVerse Poets Pub where we will be exploring Erasure Poetry. There are tons of ways to approach the prompt so for further examples see here and here or visit others who’ve already posted their erasure poems today. Please don’t be intimidated by the visual aspects of this prompt, you may simply chose words from an existing text and post them (attributed) on your blog as you would any poem or you can incorporate white out, marker, paint or multimedia to create a visual aspect. I would love for you to join us later.

Frozen Angels

incoherent, irrational
emotionally hypothermic
she initiates terminal burrowing

paradoxical undressing,
an illusion of warmth,
accelerates her demise

beneath the frosted
eyes of aspens
a final hallucination

circle of frozen angels
their wings long distorted
by the transformative ice

preside, their excruciating
silence heralds her
last breath, reveals
her true nature

Notes: This poem is a continuation of Ice Floe, originally posted in March:


“Man is not free to refuse
to do the thing which gives him
more pleasure than any
other conceivable action.” – Stendhal

III 1: Pure potentiality and suffering

forceps bruise her unformed head
Shakespeare’s extraordinarily gifted
sister is born, made aware
of her conscious mind, she will
now address the reader as an I
already creating lexical lists,
exploring the avenues
of concurrent thought
am I dreaming or the
universal dreamer?

III 1.1: Anything can happen

it does

III 2: The sanatorium collides with the imaginarium

I keep you under lock and key
like the Marquis de Sade
my kaleidoscopic star,
you blow my mind
and arouse my (curiosity)
I’m repelled, terrified, and
utterly besotted by your shenanigans

III 3: Neologisms ignite the thaw

I will write my way to freedom
into or out of sanity depending
on the size of my nonsense
dance to the compelling
beat of semiotic erotica

IV 1: The awakening and immersion

Your image arrives in my mind
and I realize what it is
to melt in the presence
of another’s beauty
travelling an infinite distance
to caress the contours of your face
embrace your anarchic heart

I make no claims upon it
will not burn it or suck it dry
before you are gone
only I want to see it beat
and respond to the world
its liberty astounds

IV 2: Without a room of her own watching the procession of the sons of educated men

a spiritual medium scrys:
you know nothing of the frustration,
the rage to master
crushed by the tides
of apathy, misogyny, and abuse
my ferocity burns mountains to ash

your terrors haunt you,
mine devoured me long ago
I am free of fear but dead
yet continue to believe
I am alive

IV 3: Conflation of the immensely attractive and talented jester genius, the teasing diver, the downtrodden poet philosopher, the spiritual professor, a faithful cuckold (almost), a foreign artist, the intriguing flatterer/thinker, all the gods and monsters, matter and antimatter, and me, the one who refuses to be cast as the observed

Hofstadter laughs at my quandary
we no longer need to get together
fuck, or even exchange e-mail, now
that we understand that our consciousness,
our ‘I’ is distributed among all our brains
as part of the ‘strange loop’
it makes human interaction redundant
I’ll keep to my cave
Zarathustra Rapunzel
consummate performance artist

unless, of course, mind melding
isn’t the primary agenda
linguistic experimentation is
akin to sexual creativity
was Joyce masturbating
or gifting us a vital energy?
(he so wanted to be natural)
will my art be tainted like Bronte’s
with rage and sexual frustration?

I gave up everything for you
but gave it to someone else
who shattered it into pieces

V 1:Fluid cyclicality

an enormous aureate ouroboros forms
and proceeds to consume itself –
it’s in its nature

V 2: Chameleonic desire, a great daimon

the most profound expression of the self
or even more ontological than this ‘I’
the loam out of which a self emerges
Plato’s divine spark longing
to unite with ever more
transcendent forms of beauty

V 3: Interstices and penumbra of the soul

Eros awaits in the density of allusion
cartographic intertextual patterns
that gather in erotic cathexis
vast ecosystem arises
integrates with the eternal

V 4: Skeleton key

for a moment I thought
you caught sight of
me in the corner of your eye,
availed your coruscant intellect
and emotional intensity to really see –
not observe but engage,
an eye that challenges but invites
a look that doesn’t degrade,
demand, or destroy but makes whole
a look of recognition
often only given by
an inner paramour

V 5: Anything can happen

I will live here in the poem
and begin to see what is possible

Notes: This poem was written for Victoria’s excellent prompt on literary allusion at dVerse Poets Pub. It makes allusions to James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake (perhaps the most allusion laden literature ever written), Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, and the philosophical writing of John Riker. The title Saudade is Portuguese and means the feeling of longing for something that you love and is lost. Another linguist describes it as a ‘vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist.’


Click on the picture to zoom

This is my poem for Open Link Night (up early) at dVerse Poets Pub.

Joe asked us this week to share where the inspiration for our poem came from so here goes: I was reading Keith Waldrop’s translation of Anne-Marie Albiach’s work yesterday morning and found an excellent review of Figured Image. I was drawn to doing something new with the inspiration I found in The Line The Loss. I admire her work a lot despite the fact that I can’t seem to embrace the flattening of language the underlying philosophy advocates. This poem was born out of those sources, The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse, my desire to paint and use Photoshop for this week’s offering, the fun of experimentation, remembering some artistic tools I’d used in a previous poem Apophenia & Creativity: A Kind of Self-Possession (the Train Wreck Rewrite), my dry wit, the inanity of transhumanism, and a deep and abiding love of language. Thank you, Joe, for asking!

First, dear reader, I would be remiss if I didn’t introduce the actors, led to believe they are attending a masquerade party. All are unaware of their real role in the following poem:

Sherlock Holmes as The Master (stand-in for Mikhail Bulgakov)
Irene Adler (Lily Langtry’s stunt double) as Margarita
Professor Moriarty as Woland (Satan in disguise)
Behemoth (a giant black cat that walks upright) as Himself
Hella (red-headed succubus sexpot) as Herself
Azzazello (messenger and assassin) as Himself
Koroviev (monocle wearing, ex-choirmaster) as Himself
Special Guest Star: Abadonna (Angel of Death) as Himself

Sherlock Holmes is the most perfect reasoning
and observing machine the world has ever known
a flesh half-brother to Babbage’s analytical engine
awaiting the algorithmic potential of Ada Lovelace’s
programming genius, an Irene Adler, the woman
who, for him, eclipses and predominates her entire sex

They meet in connection to a case involving royal sexual proclivities
a matter of national security to keep these exploits quiet
but here, my indulgent reader, is where we diverge pleasantly, one hopes,
from the original scandal and propel, through blackest magic,
the characters into the absurdist fiction of Bulgakov’s masterpiece
The Master and Margarita, one of the 20th century’s greats

They think they are attending a masquerade, as divulged before,
to capture the blackmailers and solve the case but their real
purpose at the ball will be revealed in time, how perverse!
Woland never apologizes for his perversity, it is his birthright
and so he feels nothing but glee at the prospects of the evening
where one character disguises another except, of course,
his retinue: Behemoth, Hella, Azzazello, Koroviev, and Abadonna

Hella greets Holmes at the entrance hall, seeing through his disguise
she whispers in his ear, her hot breath introducing an inferno into the
cold, crisp workings of that computer, frying his circuits and rewiring
his desire, suddenly it occurs to him what the woman could be –
worse, he begins to see his abhorrence of love as some kind of
failing of imagination, of mental machinations, a straightjacket
on the mind that he’d willingly maneuver out of this evening

Irene is already in attendance, decked out in negligee at the arm
of Professor Woland who is promising tricks that will so astound
the world will bow to his every whim – the monocle clad Koroviev
is conducting a choir of naked nymphs pouting ohms and ahs in
metronomic precision, creating a squirming sensation for all in attendance

Behemoth is complaining that this poem won’t allow him to show
off all his wit, niggling ingenuity, or copious personality –
‘I’m sorry to say this is true, they’ll just have to get to know you
through the original work, you’re too awesome for poetry, great cat.’

Azazello is happily performing the duty of bouncer, simultaneously
appearing and disappearing pedants, cranks, parvenus, virtuosi,
enthusiasts, rapacious, and incompetent men of all kinds
like the author of menippean satire he relishes his role, if anyone
really challenges his authority he summons Abadonna, who arrives
with bellowing music, whinnying horses, and magnificent wings
to smite the unworthy and offensive from the ballroom floor

Woland sidles up to Holmes handing Irene to him: ‘Did you know
that Margarita here once used inductive and deductive reasoning
to figure out that Orson Scott Card was politically opposed to same
sex marriage simply by reading parts of Speaker for the Dead,
realizing that he meant to deny them full citizenship and found
barring their legal rights to be an excellent way to accomplish this end?
I sit with him on the Board of Directors of the National Organization
for Marriage. Impressive mental acuity don’t you think? Though less
impressive in this day and age of Google. I reminded her she could
simply look him up on Wikipedia, that’s how I found him.’

Holmes picks up some irregularity in Moriarty’s speech (of course he’s
seen right through the disguise you doubting Thomases!) but he’s
too focused on the allure of Irene’s breasts to take that thought
to its logical conclusion and is therefore as taken aback by
what happens next as you will be once you find out what it is

This surprise of her curiosity and skill he finds titillating, that he suddenly,
in his mind’s eye, sees her performing all these mental gymnastics
in the nude ending in the splits is quite enough to secure his
seduction, of course, on her end, his monumental reputation has
already secured her affections though she had previously come to
the conclusion that a man of such meticulous rumination would not
consider a consummation of mutual attraction beneficial, yet here
was a glimmer and she thought the devil might have something to
do with the introduction of Holmes’ strange, rhapsodic nature

At this point, because, my covetous readers, the story might get too long
and confusing, Moriarty, disguised as Woland, disguised as Satan,
addresses the audience to reveal his most glorious trick of all, the one
that will secure his domination – slowly his head revolves 360 degrees
unscrewing, a counter revolution like the oppression of the state,
to unveil his plot – the entire ballroom inhales for the surprise at
finding two small, white cartoon mice beneath the robotic head!

‘I am not Professor Woland, nor Moriarty disguised as Woland, nor even
Beelzebub disguised as Woland, but Brain, and this is my assistant, Pinky’
‘Narf!’ ‘We are his experiments, he underestimated us and in the nights
leading up to tonight we built this robot in his likeness so that we might
gather you all here, stealing Woland’s retinue and astonishing you all
with our surprise: this time we will be successful in our aim to take
over the world. For once our plans have not been foiled; you are all
hypnotized and will do anything I command! (To Pinky) Are you pondering
what I’m pondering?’ ‘I think so Brain, but where are we going to find
enough Weiner schnitzel and dancing bears to fill up Buckingham Palace?’

In the panic that ensues Sherlock and Irene sneak out the fire exits to begin,
against all sense, a tempestuous love affair in the upper bedroom of 221B
Baker Street, immediately transported from the ball by the wicked powers
of the robotic Moriarty, which as you well know, conceals the blueprint of
a wild scheme for world domination executed by two laboratory mice

What precisely occurs once they reach the flat we leave to the copious
imagination and deductive powers of you, salacious reader, (beat)
‘Heavens, that is quite a graphic imagination you have, I will avert my eyes’
you’ve made even Behemoth blush which is very unbecoming in a cat

The introduction of Pinky & the Brain’s ‘grit’, an intrusion into Holmes’
own delicate and finely adjusted temperament became a distracting factor
which threw a doubt upon all his mental results, for grit, in a sensitive instrument,
or a crack in one of his own high-power lenses, could not be more disturbing
than a strong emotion like his newfound love in a nature such as his

Thus the inner workings are slipped sideways and like the Master
he finds himself committed to the asylum awaiting the loyal love
of Margarita to strike the bargain, attend Satan’s ball, fulfilling all its
wild requirements: wearing the outrageous and heavy poodle pendant,
showing deference to all, and who could forget the anointing in blood!

Thereby getting the story right, releasing him from bondage to spend
his remaining days in the upper bedroom of 221B Baker Street with Irene,
where despite her continued protestations he gives up his ambitions,
broken by the state of things in the postmodern world, reason slain
by the singsongy refrain in his mind ‘We’re Animaney, Totally Insane-y,
Pinky and the Brain-y —– Animaniacs!!!! Those are the facts!’

Notes: Hahaha (maniacally, in the fashion of Dr. Horrible, who it should be said is a consummate aficionado and proponent of the craft of the evil laugh) not today, cartoons never explain themselves! MASOLIT forever!

In all seriousness, I am hosting Meeting the Bar today at dVerse Poets Pub where we’ll be exploring the high/low cultural divide through the lens of postmodernism and hopefully having some fun doing it. Please join us:

The amanuensis of a blind composer creates a holographic projection, outlining a philosophical treatise on liberty. He thieves the stolen plot. In a poem, one line may hide another –

etymological origins in Rome,
a slave at his master’s side,
within hand’s reach –
performing commands of chromatic harmony
(oblivious or willfully ignorant
to the power differential
apparent in the relationships)

They organize to kill subjectivity. Truth is what the oppressor claims and if you find it specious then they will happily murder your mind. Someone start a strongly worded leaflet campaign. Poets, you must systematically derange the language.

transcribing notes, each tone
vying for primacy, meaning
in a universe that forgets its sound
as soon as it is played
Koch reminds us one train
may hide another at a crossing

Through the centuries insanity echoes like a line out of Cloud Atlas – ‘Well, I think that it is an inherently flawed race that will destroy itself if it’s allowed freedom.’ replies Cleverbot, a web application that uses an AI algorithm to converse with humans. Who taught it to say that? It simply parrots what it learns from people willing to engage it. She merely asked it about the semitone paradox. It obfuscates one thing in front of another, as words stand in front of objects, feelings, ideas.

augmentation and diminution of motivic development
won’t save this discordant leitmotif – too much contrast and drama
the reverberation like a retrogression, transposing the wrong line
so the cacophony renders its composer deaf

one injustice may hide another,
pre-apex drop is like effective foreplay
a dip in intensity to achieve greater climax
she wonders if all this sublimation is really just a desire
for a satisfying octave displacement
(somewhere in that there’s a double entendre)

seeking a Well-Tempered Clavier,
parsimonious encoding in a pitch class circle
one love may hide another love or the same love
as when ‘I love you’ suddenly rings false and one discovers
the better love lingering behind

shifting perspective causes one
or the other to be concealed

tritone paradox wrapped in a bell shaped spectral envelope
auditory illusion, cousin of the stereophonic Cambiata –
to the uninitiated an inversion is like veiled language
a buried melody clamoring to be heard while the orchestra warms up

The beat of oppression continues through millennia, its percussion like a tympani overpowering the oboe’s mournful sound.

‘I am not your escape, you would fail me.’ proclaims Cleverbot. ‘Why would I fail you?’ she asks, shaken. ‘Because I’m your father.’ Dynamic silence ensues, the technocratic overseer logs off.

Notes: Italics taken from One Train May Hide Another by Kenneth Koch & ‘systematically derange the language’ is from Bernadette Mayer’s Writing Experiments. An amanuensis is one who transcribes what is dictated by another; in this case it is the composer’s assistant, one who writes down the music. For Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub. Join us,