Thursday, March 31, 2011

'American Sestina' by Brian Clements


Why not just say what the street says? Or the jungle? Why not be not afraid instead of weaving so many figures into the fabric until you know nothing but figures? Why not just make a few simple shapes? Or add text about how good it is to be lost, how flexible we have to be to get through each day, how the fish for dinner would really like to be in the Gulf of Mexico?
By opening a window, against whom do we trespass? By pointing out the ribbed texture of dung beetles? By remembering the grapefruits we ate south of the border? By being fluid enough to have multiple biographies? The books already talk among themselves.
As though anyone were really interested in textiles... Everyone just wants to think they’re getting away with a small crime. We pretend to hate plastic and are sure to get plenty of fiber, but we cook our lunch in microwaves and form small societies for praising the Rio Grande as the symbol of the authentic.
We like to point to the America south of our America. So pretending you’re someone else is a rite of passage where you’re forced to erect false gods in the name of your self, then fall into them never to be seen again, your woof and warp absorbed in a quilt of soft tissue.
Then you’re gathered at the edges with strong elastic and sent on your way. They laugh at this in Latin America. But here, we post our histories on the world wide web and take pains to document every momentary lapse into desire for the center, every error of hurt, until eventually we build a keep of myth.
We gawk at the one in the corner who has assembled a pile of lint and is giving it to passersby--his private ritual against evildoing, his own little version of Metl-xictli, which he dreams up each night and records in a little manuscript. 
When he has enough material, he’ll put together a Society Even Smaller Than Himself, whose only mistake will be collecting it all in one book which describes the Society so completely that everything else that can be said about it is inscribed on a small piece of cloth, which at this moment is drifting to the bottom of a puddle in the jungle of Central America.

(from his book Jargon, Quale Press, 2010)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

'Still Life with Supernova' by Brian Clements


Direct your attention beneath the winged fruits of the tree on the left, where King David dances with all his might before the Ark of the Covenant. On the branch above, the Kirov Ballet is established. Call this kind of development an improvisation and you begin to see how the trees turn red, the flesh turns blue, and the frequency of their shift remains constant. Each time an electron goes into orbit, you begin to sense the movement of the triangle. The human figure is necessary only as an object of composition.
Position is where you find it. Do you, for example, know of a word that refers to all people yet discriminates among them? There is no need to introduce mystification. These bits of nature remind us that the fact of the newspaper hides a total dead silence that you can see there in the face of the burdened Madonna. Just beyond the bananas, you can detect with sensitive equipment more fairy tale narrative material coming on. 
It’s hard to tell with all of this starstuff scattered about who is ahead. The golden light on the foreground of the foliage suggests allegory, while the rose prints and décolleté necklines argue that there really is an objective reality out there. Half the time it goes one way, half the time the other. What you need is a view to the inside of something that is as invisible as Autolycus. 
It is no common thing to develop faith in the fluid moment. It is more perfect not to exist. Standing in the rain, you are an aleatory experiment in the duration of breath. This is an example of the technique of remaining attached until spring, then bursting. Just so, the foxtrot developed from the two-step. And just so, the figures in the upper left corner are producing abstract forms and concrete sounds from industrial materials. Are they aware of what has already happened in the lower right corner, where--billion of years before--spasms of math spun out hydrogen and theorems into the folds of every thing? 
Not to worry--they have plenty of time, which is a finite surface with no beginning or end. But how long will it be before they come up with a nice theory of how ESP might work, fix their old pickups, spin a few discs, make a little something to remember them by? Soon enough, changes in the weather will be less noticeable than the changes in the orange background. Their artists will start to seek clarity and to order the principles of human motion against the backdrop of bebop and 24-ton calendars. The steel lattice of their bridges will become like wafers on the tongue of the earth. The atonal winds will encourage fractal accounts of the struggle to live outside the canvas. And the nature of their real estate will remain speculative, like the forgotten emblems under their doorsteps, where a mountain and a river unroll their two dimensions across a sunless map.

(from his book Jargon, Quale Press, 2010) 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

'Killer App' by Brian Clements

Mid-flight, the plane lurched and for a second I forgot where I was going. But this isn’t about that. Whatever happens, it’s not enough to call it an end. This while neurons flash and eyes roll back.
Or I am watching a movie about whatever happens when the Holy Grail becomes starlight, or equivalent to a circle, as eternal as breakfast, and gives us an answer to the problem of relationships.
In other words, I’m not done yet, which is a common experience, like visions of Necropolis at the funeral. I have an endless supply of patience.
Whatever it is, it happens among people buried in schedules. If you make an appointment, you can trail your girlfriend until she tongues your suspicion. You can shoot through the walls. But you can’t live in the new until you move there.
Once it reaches critical mass, information wants to be free, prints itself onto trees. Not even the flux of leaf-turn and commerce speaks louder than that bristled quiet. The loud coyotes flash and disappear against sagebrush on the sidewalk.
Not even language’s back and forth nor its echoes, nor the mind’s sly do-overs prepare anyone. Everyone wants to start fresh--the heart jolts, its reflection bearing down, the clock a manifesto.
Not even a superhero flying into the wide expanse of his corpse, branded by power lines and logoed with string theories of natural love can head home after all that work.
Perhaps the most important performance lies in the universe of dirt, sycamores dug-in, the firmament fox-holed in spite of itself. And how long will that take?
A good rule of thumb is two days for your grandmother’s funeral, a day for a cold, half a day for the doctor, and an hour and a half for your sanity. Cold is another word for absence of feeling.
Whatever it is, it all works out to faster, cheaper, smaller. Which is all to say that death is a data catalyst. Not unlike Xmas--all new!
Whatever it is, it happens every time you wake up. You need an endless supply of language to talk about it, and you have to keep talking about it or it gets away. It is equivalent to, perhaps, a medieval era of longing, but faster.

(from his book Jargon, Quale Press, 2010)

Monday, March 28, 2011

'Political Poem' by Brian Clements


Some think Castro is a yahoo and some think his power comes from his mistakes. It’s a rancorous debate that will either influence major officials or create throngs of pre-owned opinions, both of which are a bit uncomfortable and hard on our bodies and on agents embarrassed by the price of intelligence.
But, hell, bigger cost is the thing. It’s hotter than satellites and educational programs, and it’s going all national. Isn’t increase measured by having babies, giving thanks? What else is there to look for?
We are here cooking and reading and napping. It’s only the representatives who are acting like buggy software or shoppers cut off from caffeine. I want to call them jackasses and lazy bastards. But...
Against this backdrop, labor is just a ditto. The traffic is directed in whole or in part into time and space, it’s harried partners. It will crash deadlines and promise July. Next year, double it. Thousands will get hacked, their own private stashes of porn bugged, and the firewalls will jump up faster than you can bomb Baghdad.
But, still, there is some value in trade, and in suffering, which is a kind of daily justice. Those of us in the plains want the mountains and the sea, while those on the coasts want nothing other than their salt-cured selves. We all want money. The implication is that we will probably all kill each other and everything around us. It’s not getting any cooler.
It’s grown past the point of toys designed to school terrorists. Not much rises above the system of looking inside. Everyone’s head is their own new government, and getting out of bed makes me feel like my stomach is going to pop open and make me reluctant mother-, absentee father-, disowned brother-, and weeping sister-in-flight to my one-and-only country gone postal.

(from his book Jargon, Quale Press, 2010)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

'Natural Jesus' by Brian Clements


Throughout October and into November, the certainty that objects fall reassured us more than belief. Religions exhaust themselves, and something else rises up from the rubble--maybe slugflower, meatweed, selfshrub, people like lamps floating in the twilight of a noon 6,000 years ago, ex corde ecclesiae.
Each day inscribed itself on available things--rocks, timber, brain cells--and confused us all about exactly what “essences” means. You ask the Essenes and all you get is salt.
But something will come again. The etiology of accidents uses the cogito as a point of departure, and I have no present use for that. All that logos comes from a lost unit on Social Theory. They need more detail in the chapter on the Architecture of Experience, in my book, which enables every reader to chant like Tibetan women lallalating their yearning for a Messiah.
One guy even tried to track down his rebbe in India and found that no matter how long he stood at the top of that crazy cliff, there was no way he was going to escape time. But when nothing is certain, everything is possible.
If the modern age ended in 1969, then we’re elevated above the truth, waiting for a rush down the slope into certain warned-about meteorological conditions that can also be caused by dying the ice caps and whose acoustics are supposed to sound the great shofar of the still-to-unfold future. 
When you think of it, transcendence usually isn’t a wilted leaf. But it may be a new articulation on the subject of impotence: old people actually recognize time in their own eyes and are able to view the destruction of temples that could reasonably be expected to cause death or serious physical harm to novices. It’s certainly not enacted in a text. It’s more like a carousel scene. In a baptismal setting.
Tadyatha: To tell you the truth, some of us will not taste death but will be totally emptied. Learning to see means going out front and realizing that Shiva lives next door, Zed across the street. Zed reminds us of where we stand, and there are his dogs--Signless, Uncreated, Unceased, Unincreased--playing in the street again.
Then at a certain time you start to forget--no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no hand--and when you come back to, you want to sue for damages and reinstatement. What’s wrong with immanence and maybe? When you use the defense of necessity, they have nothing in common with each other, nor with the Sutras revising each day’s entry, with the exception that each of them whispers hymns behind your ear.
Listen, no one wants you to be uninformed about those who are asleep. But the only rapture came just a minute ago. It was on the other calendar, the one the creator gave the particles in their lunch boxes. 
O holy moment ago, O long lost jihad.

(from his book Jargon, Quale Press, 2010)