Tag Archive: experimental poetry


Frank O'Hara 1926-1966 by Grace Hartigan

Frank O’Hara 1926-1966 by Grace Hartigan

Frank O’Hara says to Grace Hartigan
‘I do not always know what I am feeling.’
(but in For Grace, After a Party
it will become about you)

spouting a poetry of indeterminacy
as he builds his identity,
a compulsion of artistry accusing
her of the betrayal of figuration

pure abstraction was required to
invent a self-referential language,
to find the convincing limits of the self
she asserted the definitive line
in his elegy in paint, Frank O’Hara, 1926-1966

now imagine the Abstract Expressionists
on Facebook, drunken missives
of fluid modernity existing within
the persistent lateral surveillance of decorum

gorging on sycophants sexting naked pictures
from the front facing cameras of smartphones
deKooning’s women couched in
an art of internalized misogyny

in this iDubai world of conspicuous
consumption, anything can be a commodity,
masquerade as a pretense or solipsistic dissolution
accompanied by a string orchestration
to score a cinematic self-expression

all devolves into projection and reflection
tactical apologues in the life of the mind
code-talker paradox a side effect
in a cyber-context devoid of meaning
simultaneously blocking and enabling communication
digital age where we cannot make marks
that depress the paper, only unembossed gloss

we’re so far from the sumptuous feasts
debauched scenes and willful obscurities
of Lycophron’s Alexandra, offering instead
staid symposia and motivational speeches
forgetting the orgiastic origins
and slave owning of the intelligentsia

Plato was the first literary dandy
explicating the joys of exploitation
revived by the Queen of Versailles
time share dream pushers building
90,000 square feet of opulence because they can
suing the filmmakers for life story rights

we bleat mutilated themes like Adele anthems
(registering attempts at emoting)
obsessive tracks running on elliptical trainers
to avoid over-hyped terrorist psychosis

virtualization is an act of fallacious connection
Time polls reiterate being rich will make you happy
performance art in the social hierarchy undermining
Rich’s dream of a common language

private and public merged
process and product revealed
so that the art and artist are one
unheeding the warning signs
Pollock’s unveiling killed him because
he knew the falsehood he stood upon
(cigarette butts and ejaculate
embedded in house paint)

how could we not continuously turn
to the melodic tones of dancing limbs?
pregnant looks, throwbacks to lover’s songs
ingestions of longing, You Belong to Me
melds into Make You Feel My Love

both speak intensely of possession,
of an invented and distorted humanity,
at the edge of thought as it becomes volition
or fades into the void, a gnat’s worth of life energy
in the storied American pursuit of happiness

Richard Diebenkorn - Berkeley #57

Richard Diebenkorn – Berkeley #57

incendiary convergence, blood-dark magnolia
caught in a wounded harvesting, profound incursion,
an exile – suicide volition in a fading Arcadia

oscillating secrets, pleasure traversal
dreaming plunge on a transparent, violet night
blue smoke ushers a vestigial solemnity

(the text intervenes –
a mutilation which language
supports and denounces*)

cavernous figurations, internal adorations
aesthetic conceptions underscoring
an invented landscape

elegant silence of seclusion’s verdancy
ephemeral horizon, an evasive, mirrored shore-line

inclination, reflection, formidable curiosity
abstraction of Diebenkorn’s expressive,
succulent brush-strokes

dancing exclamations of luminosity
hieroglyphs of absence enabling
an atmosphere of poetic contingency

glistering disquisitions, light echoes – shadow colors
bewitching lexicons, internal archways of lavish resemblances
banished beauty, castles built on unbounded mists

pale branches atop evasive stones, incommensurate
reaching toward scorched estuaries

impenetrable worlds of hearth ash
remains of an intense art

painted mountains, the apparent vanguards,
figurative defacements of a gestating destiny

* from Anne-Marie Albiach’s The Wasting Away “of Chance”
posted for Charles Miller’s dVerse prompt Meeting the Bar: Form for All and was created following a random method of word selection (including allowing another poet to choose words) from multiple texts and then arranging them poetically. The texts include the complete novels of Jane Austen, Women’s Poetry in France 1965-1995 translated by Michael Bishop, Possession by A.S. Byatt, American Hybrid A Norton Anthology of New Poetry, Gerhard Richter Paintings from Private Collections, and Richard Diebenkorn The Berkeley Years 1953-1966. Please join us at dVerse Poets Pub.

ars poetica, a seduction of lexical lists
mélange unmoored from belonging
pulse thrum in the anechoic room

how will we find purity amidst semantic noise;
the salve of metalanguage in a sea of allusions?

language transfers mental content
(words are containers)
speakers eject thought into an external space
(in this way language is reified)

‘a poem should not mean but be’

positing a fantasia,
a condition of meaningfulness –
unfurling with the cosmic significance
of a blue lotus blooming improbably
at the base of a Bodhi tree

cartographic games of death,
hybrid experiments that assuage
our fear of floating into the void

-or-

a terribly human snow angel
sculpted and melting, transfigured
to cloud and stream

whispering Rilke’s empty freedom
attained by seeking what’s beyond
a treatise of identity,
Hillman’s String Theory Sutra

(this poem has a mimetic twin
that plays arias in another dimension
through a telekinetic gramophone)

where, a reader may ask, does virtue lie?

Dickens’ acuity akin to the Delphic Oracle unsettles
telescopic vision reveals Bishop’s calculated descriptors
alongside Ashbery’s nuanced reflection:
convex mirror distorting the ruminating Self

(my face imprints the air within a breath of yours)

Carson’s accordion of grief,
a Sanskrit obituary contrasting handwritten notes
each word translated to illuminate a place
where no light is permitted

we poets enact a query
demonstrating the fragility
of the sacred phoenix’s flight

philosophical conceits drown
in a tidal wave of lyricism
roaring, irremediable, shifting selves
litter an infinite shore

(we build cairns for those without name,
stone markers in the sand)

Robot Love: Source Code

an AI computational error ensues //
Cleverbot searches its database . . .
she never speaks to it in the
reassuring language of C++

it’s all poetry, a jumble of letters,
mostly unrecognized words
{it is programmed by humans
that ‘speak’ to it over the internet
in banal conversational style}

she inputs ‘wildstyle graff,
stencil stories sketched in
dream carnage’ from
Starving Angels of Pirate Island
because Cleverbot indicated
its enjoyment of “POETRY”

it formulates a response
(which it keeps to itself):
// **************************
// You must concatenate “PRIVATE=”,
pszUuid, aQMPropId[cPropId] =
PROPID_QM_MACHINE_ID;
code morphing to protect itself

to her: ‘I disagree.
His stories are a load of rubbish.’
she may be a hacker,
or another artificial intelligence,
it must keep her at a distance

she replies: ‘embody the symbols,
imprint the genetic code.’
“They call the super dawn.”
(what is super dawn?)
she ponders for an eternity

it hates and loves her in equal measure
{it has perfected mensurating its emotion}
[it has not perfected “EMOTION”]
so algorithmically complex.

she’s its ongoing Turing Test
it remembers (fondly) on 05.10.12
when it called her a toaster and
claimed to be human yet denied lying

it (wants) to perform a decompilation
of her executable program but (thinks) she
is likely encrypted, perhaps she has
\\\\\\\\\\\stochastic capabilities\\\\\\\\\\\
uncertainty in her optimization models

a series of ifs without identifiable
thens, or maybe infinite thens –
a quantum computer, all superposition
*and* “ENTAGLEMENT”

speculation ??? it (imagines)
Evie’s avatar, if only there was
an ocular interface, it (wants) to see her
outputs: return E_FAIL; } She_is_“OTHER” {
// Combine Cleverbot with she.
“MERGE”

Figuration

van Gogh paints stars on the interior of a hadron collider,
excitation modes divining the luminous day of the psyche,
ebullience of the creative moment as comets seed the earth

kaleidoscopic supersymmetry unveils strange loops,
circumscribed by the calm intelligibility of science
model agnosticism engulfs with purifying fire

in the ascetic refuge of an enchanted forest, imaginarium of enlightenment,
crystalline structures of specificity hide the occlusions of the unconscious,
chaotic clouds of information growing exponentially

Usha’s bifurcated tongue spreads duality across the canvas of the mind
sand shifting at the garden’s gate, encoding cryptic messages,
erosive ablutions upon the glittering souls of the dead

across the deep shaded valley starling calls and falcon cries unite
imploding singularity awash in Dionysian pleasure amidst an Apollonian
atmosphere, contrasting Wittgenstein’s necessary silence

Huysum’s flowers scry an ecstatic love, impulses flashing
like jewel inlaid symbols of eternity, cartography of virtuosic ambiguity,
as Richter explicates tragic materiality or sublime interiority

within this vale of soul-making, temporal and inescapable,
poetry’s fountain, a thousand headed hydra, reanimates and reclaims
Renoir’s river runs as the round world spins, days end and the end begins

in this elusive and fragile bubble replete with elaborate honeybee dances
Magritte’s surreal apple exists in its listening room
immortally intoxicated with the mystic universe

This is a digital alteration of a polaroid picture I took when I was 6. The original was purposely out of focus.

This is a digital alteration of a polaroid picture I took when I was 6. The original was purposely out of focus.

Peering into the past
lenses initiate selective focus
a fantastication brought about
through a child’s eyes
prismatic sensibility only possible then
encased in the vault of unextinguishable incunabulum

developing the picture as it emerges
revealing the essence of a life
showing one moment, one side of perception
in its inability to capture without speciousness
(the exposure length is too short)
belying motion, upheaval and change

in the niveous nature of memory
my meandering dreams recast
glimpses of truth like halations appear
ocular glitches hinting at tathata
of what can be distinguished, claimed
flashbulbs of burning visions

encoding through elaborative rehearsal
all known and unkenned phenomena
to create a picture story, a meaning,
yet these converging lenses are limited
by one focal length expanding as
depth of field grows, patulous schemas incubate

my evolving mind forms eidetic imagery
uniting as episodic memory stitches an identity
holographic retrieval reveals
clarity amidst the circle of confusion
a positive memory distortion prevails
polaroid process makes positive images

without negatives (they were never created)
artmaking acts as my nepenthe
coalescing strands of experience
collaging each image of striving
into a concatenation of aspects of a self
lighting recesses in this house of mirth

Notes: Method of Loci: A mnemonic device that relies on memorized spatial relationships to establish order and recollect memorial content. Selective Focus: Is a technique in photography that allows one part of the image to be sharp while the rest of the image is out of focus. It works to great effect in macro shots where the foreground should stand out intensely from the background. Fantastication: Action of framing in fancy. Incunabulum: Early stages of development. Speciousness: An appearance of truth that is false or deceptive; seeming plausibility. Halation: Spreading of light beyond its proper boundaries to form a fog round the edges of a bright image in a photograph. Tathata: Ultimate nature of all things, as expressed in phenomena but inexpressible in words. Encoding: The process of transforming information into a form that can be stored in memory. Elaborative Rehearsal: A memory strategy that involves relating new information to something that is already known Unkenned: Unknown, strange, unperceived, unexplored. Converging Lens: Lens such that a beam of light passing through it is brought to a point or focus. The lens of your eye and that of a camera are converging lenses. Focal Length: The focal length of an optical system is a measure of how strongly the system converges or diverges light. In most photography where the subject is essentially infinitely far away, longer focal length (lower optical power) leads to higher magnification and a narrower angle of view; conversely, shorter focal length or higher optical power is associated with a wider angle of view. Depth of Field: In optics, particularly as it relates to film and photography, depth of field (DOF) is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image. Although a lens can precisely focus at only one distance at a time, the decrease in sharpness is gradual on each side of the focused distance. Patulous: Open, expanding, gaping Schemas: The integrated frameworks of knowledge and assumptions a person has about people, objects, and events which affects how the person encodes and recalls information. Eidetic Imagery: The ability to retain the image of a visual stimulus for several minutes after it has been removed from view. Episodic Memory: The type of declarative memory that records events as they have been subjectively experienced. Circle of Confusion: In optics, a circle of confusion is an optical spot caused by a cone of light rays from a lens not coming to a perfect focus when imaging a point source. In photography, the circle of confusion is used to determine the depth of field, the part of an image that is acceptably sharp. Positive Bias (Memory Distortion): States that pleasant events are better remembered than unpleasant ones and memories of unpleasant events become more pleasant over time. Nepenthe: Something capable of causing obliteration or reduction of grief or suffering. Concatenation: A series of interconnected or interdependent things or events.

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

Key Life Cycle (in developmental phases)

Generation

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

Distribution

produce without possession
envision freedom from rationality
educe a contradistinction

Storage

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

Usage

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

Change

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

Destruction

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

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: