Dec 15, 2006

Because I am a soulless self-promoting egomaniac: some poems at mustachioedandMipoesias. Both with pictures of monsters.

Dec 3, 2006

Back from the excellent Simonds/Olin reading to hear that Kari Edwards died this weekend. Terrible news; sleep well, Kari.

Nov 19, 2006

I always wondered why conventional astrology did not address the goose on my head.






Geb



Engaging personality, sensitive, modest, occasionally narcissistic, but can rise above vanity.

Colors: male: violet, female: rose
Compatible Signs:
Set, Horus
Dates:
Feb 12 - Feb 29, Aug 20 - Aug 31

Role: God of the earth
Appearance:
Green-skinned man, with leaves all over his body and a goose on his head. Sometimes he was shown laying on his side under his wife, the sky goddess Nut.
Sacred animals:
goose


What is Your Egyptian Zodiac Sign?
Designed by CyberWarlock of Warlock's Quizzles and Quandaries


Nov 13, 2006

Hey folks,

If you are around Brooklyn on November 17th, please come to the Burning Chair Reading Series in Brooklyn to hear me read from my new chapbook Traceland from Transmission Press; also come hear Julia Cohen and Africa Wayne.

BURNING CHAIR READING SERIES:

Julia Cohen, Mark Lamoureux, & Africa Wayne

The Fall Cafe
307 Smith Street
Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
Friday November 17, 7:30 PM
FREE

Oct 29, 2006


The subject came up again years later, this time in the context of another poet's response to my poems. She wanted to know why they couldn't be considered to be arbitrary arrangements of unrelated lines. This time I used a scientific analogy in my defense. I stated that like a chaotic system that appears random but that in reality is deterministic, obeying known or knowable laws, a poem might appear to be put together randomly and yet be--let's say--the (verbal) residue of a process that obeys laws, whether or not those laws are known to the poet.

Some Thoughts



Some things that my poetry isn't that nobody would say it is:

Minimalist
Funny
Quotidian
"Accessible"
Pastoral
Vernacular

Some things that my poetry isn't that people have said that it is:

Postmodern
Pretentious
L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry
Gibberish
Flarf

Some things that my poetry is that nobody would say it is:

Basically modernist
Devotional
The result of possession by daemons
Sincere
Simple

Some things that my poetry is that people have said that it is:

Neo-classical
Sometimes influenced by Robert Duncan
Sometimes metaphysical
Sometimes concerned exclusively with surface
Rhetorical
The distress signal of a diseased mind
Angry
Political
Polemic
Synesthetic
Prone to frequent misspellings

Oct 27, 2006

So I came up with the idea that Rachel and I were going to be Modernism and Postmodernism for Halloween. Postmodernism is easy, but nobody seems to agree on what Modernism's costume would be (I said an army hat, a stethescope, a copy of Freud's Interpretation of Dreams would do it, but Rachel disagrees.) So how would *you* dress up as Modernism for Halloween?

Oct 20, 2006

Also, went to see The Grudge 2 yesterday, which was a thoroughly forgettable horror film; except for one line that I found to be *hillarious*:

"I have a friend who's really into Folklore, maybe he can help us."

Not sure why I find that so funny, also funny was the fact that said friend was this dishevelled chain-smoking guy with lots of books (the source of the humor probably being that I am into folklore and was once a chain-smoking guy with lots of books, e.g. I quit smoking but I still have lots of books...)

More importantly, in the previews before the film was the preview for the Ghost Rider film starring Nicholas Cage. Over the summer my friend Jon from grammar school told me they were making a Ghost Rider film starring Nicholas Cage and I said "No way, that has to be some kind of urban myth." But I stand corrected and I CAN'T WAIT!
Rachel is away at an archivists' conference, and obviously I miss her. That said, I used the opportunity this evening to indulge in foods that I wouldn't ordinarily make for the two of us because one of us (e.g. Rachel) would not be interested in it. I made Lapsang Souchong Chicken Breast, Brussels Sprouts with Peppers and Sesame Seeds and Black Rice with Roasted Shallots and Walnuts and 7-UP Poundcake for desert. I guess the theme of the dinner is "stuff that tastes funny that you either love or hate, except for the poundacke which is an apalling brick of cholesterol and, well, soda. Everything was delicious except for the Yellowtail Rielsing (bad call on my part, but the liquor store around the corner didn't have Pacific Rim) which was eerily similar to the 7-UP I made the poundcake with... I would have taken a picture of it, but I couldn't find my camera!

Oct 19, 2006


I received my author's copies of Traceland, by the way and they look beautiful. Logan did a fantastic job with the production. I can't wait to see the other Transmission Press projects he will do in the future.

Also received a copy of Alli Warren's Cousins from Gina Myers' Lame House Press (too lazy for links today, folks) which also looks gorgeous. Folks are really upping the ante for the micropress-produced chapbook. Now all we need to do is to get rich people interested in "collecting" them--just like art. They don't have to give a damn about the poetry (they don't give a damn, really, about the art, either), they just have to want to pay us lots of money for them because they are one (or a hundred) of a kind.

Oct 8, 2006




Logan Ryan Smith's TRANSMISSION PRESS (named after one of my favorite Joy Division songs...dance, dance, dance, dance, dance to the radio) has released my Traceland chapbook. Check it out here. I am excited about the nifty red Punch & Judy cover and also the chaps being put out by a kindred soul. The amazing thing about these micropress-produced chapbooks is the time & energy & love that goes into them. So please send Logan $3.50 for a copy, even if you don't like my poems, so he can keep it going. Additionally, the poems in this chap are some of my favorites; so I am pleased as punch (pun, alas, intended) that they've found their way into this chap.




QuizGalaxy!
'What will your obituary say?' at QuizGalaxy.com

Oct 4, 2006

Gots to go to class. Nobody better mention *anything* about Lost until tomorrow night, OK?

Oct 2, 2006



Found this while looking for pictures of the event this weekend. Somehow the fact that FLARF is also an acronym for the Florida Rennaisance Faire seems cosmically appropriate, a piece of Flarf in itself, in fact.
Phrase from a dream: "Like the lightning bolt that came down and shat Camelot."

Oct 1, 2006

Had a great time in Pennsylvania, reading with fellow Dusie folks and the Flarf people. Marci Nelligan, Scott Glassman, Boyd Spahr, Myself and Dana Ward read from our chapbooks from the Dusie project (actually, I'm not 100% certain that Dana's was from his Dusie chap, apologies for my poor memory, but I think it was--regardless it was a beautiful reading.) The two "sets" (e.g. Dusie and Flarf) meshed well, Boyd's "Flarf-y" work from the Dusie project providing an interesting link to what followed. An assortment of Dickinson College students were certainly provided with a glimpse into a pretty diverse section of contemporary poetry. Pennsylvania is certainly a lovely state where I'd like to spend more time someday; I don't often relate to land-locked spaces very much but I enjoy Phildelphia and other parts of Pennsylvania. We were having camera troubles, but hopefully someone else has more cogent photographs of the evening.

Sep 28, 2006

Totally forgot to mention I have a poem up at the most recent Zafusy.

Sep 24, 2006


If anyone happens to be in the Dickinson College area (somewhere in Pennsylvania) next Saturday, come hear the funny Flarf people and then make fun of my depressing poetry. (I myself am, however, suitable for children. Sort of):

Saturday, Sep 30, 2006 - 7:30 PM ]
Event: Poetry, film and music performance
Featuring the Flarf and Dusie Poetry Collectives, Brandon Downing and Alarm Will Sound.
Live Performance
Rubendall Recital Hall, Weiss Center for the Arts

Free

This poetry performance includes readings, film, and music. Flarf readings by Jordan Davis, Katie Degentesh, Drew Gardner, Nada Gordon, Michael Magee, Sharon Mesmer, Rod Smith, Gary Sullivan. Dusie readings by Mackenzie Carignan, Scott Glassman, Mark Lamoureaux, Marcie Nelligan, Boyd Spahr, Dana Ward. Film by Brandon Downing. Multimedia work by Joey Bargsten. Musical accompaniment by Alarm Will Sound. Note: May not be suitable for children.

Sep 23, 2006

FOUND POEM BY THE US POSTAL SERVICE

Attempted--Not Known
No Such Street
No Such Number
No Receptacle
Deceased
Vacant

Sep 19, 2006

More from Brian Lucas in Thailand:

It's pretty eerie here--streets are quiet; businesses closed and martial law has been declared. The constitution has been revoked as well.

The military has essentially taken over all of Thailand. We aren't sure if this is in protest of the Prime Minister, or just two factions of the armed forces having a fight. We get very limited announcements from the coup leaders: this morning they've ordered all police off the streets, and for them to stay in their stations. Bridges are heavily guarded. Not sure if there will be a standoff between anti and pro forces or not. All newspapers have been suspended--their websites are down. Radio is dead. So far no violence, but it remains to be seen if peace will prevail. No one's certain what to think--military intervention is the last thing Thailand needs. It's a serious step back as the military has a terrible human rights record, and the semblance of democracy that Thailand has enjoyed has been annulled unless there is a quick turnover to a civilian led government.

Luckily the King knows what's going on and is in talks with the military. All of us are depending on him to get us out of this mess.

All cable TV has been shut-down here, but for some reason I'm able to get the BBC so I have a little idea of what's happening.

I have to go out and try to find some food for us--not sure what to expect as everything is shut.

Will keep you posted if things escalate here. US embassy hasn't ordered Americans to evacuate yet. Crossing my fingers things work out here.
This from Brian Lucas in Thailand:

"There's been an overthrow of the government here--things not looking good at all. We're ok and not too close to the action. Tanks are in the streets, no TV or radio. No one's sure what's going on--either the troops are pro-Prime Minster or not. It's not looking good if the military takes over here. No one knows what's going on.

Stay tuned to the BBC who has been having live coverage.

11 pm now."

I hope that Brian and his family (well, and everybody else's family are safe.

Sep 18, 2006

According to my students from last semester (scale of 1 to 5; average of 19 scores):

The instructor holds my interest in class: 3.1

Write-in comments: "He makes me go to sleep."

The instructor communicates in a way I understand: 3.6

The instructor has increased my knowledge of the subject matter: 3.7

The instructor presents course material in an organized manner: 3.6

The instructor encourages students to ask questions and participate in class: 4.1

The instructor treats me with courtesy and respect: 4.6

The instructor is available to me for discussions: 4.3

The instructor keeps me informed about my academic progress: 3.8

The instructor maintains a good class atmosphere for learning: 3.7

Assignments and exams are related to the course content: 4.1

The instructor clearly explains how I will be evaluated in this course: 4.1

Overall, the instructor is an effective teacher: 3.4

Total average 3.8

General write-in comments: "Prof. Lamoureux is a very good teacher. He is always available for his students and makes you feel at ease. However, he can also be boring because he likes poems, documentaries and always speaks [sic.] like he was singing."
Craig Perez Face Time.

Sep 14, 2006

Focus on the positive: you don't want to miss the following:

The Burning Chair Readings

Thibault Raoult, Sandra Simonds & Maureen Thorson

Friday, September 15th, 7:30 PM
@
The Fall Café
307 Smith Street
Between Union & President
Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
F/G to Carroll Street


We don't get to hear Ms. Simons here in the Northeast that often (e.g. ever), so don't miss this chance. I will be there with (hyptohetical, silent) bells on! I have been a fan of Sandra's work for a long time, see my review of her chapbook Steam. Also, Cy Gist Press will be releasing her chapbook The Humble Travelogues of Mr. Ian Worthington. Written from Land and Sea sometime in the Fall/Early Winter of 2006.
Shoulder angel: Dude, chill...

Sep 13, 2006

Bleah, The world is ugly today, and so am I. Is that why I made Face Time a mirror?--the world is merely a reflection of my gnarly old soul.

MOST LIKELY TO

I am not your avenger,
I was never.
Look, there are no lines
on my palms, nor have I pin
to etch them.

I am slamming a door
with 1 hand & with the other,
I am slamming another.

Something sets, a chestnut
husk, between my 2
eyes; terns' wings scissor
turbulence not even
they can see.





But enough of that, it's 11:45 and I've got a class to plan.
Thanks, Jack. As I am often mistaken for a Leprechaun myself, I understand the perils of elfism.

Sep 11, 2006

Phil Crippen's Face Time author (reader?) photo is here. I am posting these to my Flikr account and will update the Cy Gist site sometime this weekend (I have to exhume Rachel's old PC, whose sole role in life is to run Dreamweaver (the PC that is, not Rachel), to do this, I so need a copy of Dreamweaver for OSX).

Sep 9, 2006




Upon seeing Jessica's cover-mirror self-portrait from Face Time, I realized that it would be fun to try and persuade all of the authors from the chap to do the same, and I will link to the photos from the Cy Gist website. It would be cool to get everyone. I suppose if you don't have a digital camera, it would be a pain in the neck, but otherwise...
Hey peeps, it has just come to my attention that I have received orders by way of my PayPal account, that PayPal never informed me of! This is pretty irksome, as I am supposed (and most of the time) do get email confirmation to my email address. The orders I just discovered will go out on Monday, and I will now start checking my actual PayPal account daily to make sure there aren't any orders that PayPal didn't tell me about!

Sep 8, 2006

You guys are going to start thinking that I am making stuff up, but I'm not. In another sleep-related disturbance, last night I woke Rachel up by screaming "Duuuuusssssiiiiiieeeee Chaaaaappppppsssss." Over and over again. When I yell in my sleep I do it in this sort of Vincent Price B-Movie ghost voice. Every time I think of it I start cracking up. I'm not sure if I was dreaming that something was happening to my Dusie Chaps, or that I wanted Dusie Chaps or what. If you happen to be reading this and don't know what "Dusie Chaps" is, it was a project in which 40 poets or so made chapbooks and exchanged them with each other. The electronic versions of said chaps are here. Evidently, they have left an indelble mark on me.

Sep 5, 2006

Limping my way to the Post Office with the contributors' copies--I won't let my sleep-related injury stand in the way of Poetry...

My Name is Luka



Apparently nightmares can, in fact, hurt you. Last night I leapt up out of my sleep and vaulted towards the door to make a hasty exit from the room for some reason or another. Problem was, the door was closed. I hit the door at full speed and velocity (I am fairly large and fairly fast) causing quite a thud and waking me out of my stupor (mostly). Fortunately, nothing seems to be damaged except for one of my toes which is black and painful. I hope it isn't broken, but given that you can't do anything for a broken toe that is kind of a moot point anyway.

Sep 2, 2006

About the best image I could get of the actual Face Time cover is here.

3 New Chapbooks from Cy Gist Press



"Summer's gone, but a lot goes on forever"--Leonard Cohen


Cy Gist Press is happy to announce the release of 3 new chapbooks as we bid summer farewell and stumble into autumn and everything after.

SPECIAL FOR BLOG READERS: Order all 4 recent Cy Gist Press titles for $20 ($5 each, normally $6) and I will throw in a copy of Another Night, the first Cy Gist Press chapbook for free. There are only a few copies of Another Night left, so act fast!






EXERTIONS
by Scott Glassman
(20 pp. Sewn Binding) $6

Scott Glassman's first chapbook offers simultaneously alien and quotidian glosses on the perils of existing alone and with others. Scott's take on the prose poem operates by way of arpeggios of contrapuntal phrases threatening to tear the form apart while giving them surprising rhythmic balance. For ordering and a sample poem go here.




CARACAS NOTEBOOK
by Guillermo Parra
(20 pp. Saddle-Stapled with Linen binding, B&W photographs) $6

Guillermo Parra's lyric paen to the city and the dramatically changing face of Venezuela at the beginning of this century is rife with exile and nostalgia. These are poems from between--between languages, cultures, identities and forms. Sparse, objectivist-inspired poems are mingled with direct but enigmatic prose reminiscent, to my mind, of W.G. Sebald. Like Sebald, these poems are homesick for a point of origin which may or may not have ever existed. With black and white photographs of Caracas by Isabel Parra. For ordering and a sample poem go here.




(Please note image is a reproduction of the mirrored cover which cannot be reproduced on the computer screen)

FACE TIME
(22 pp. Sewn Binding, B&W photographs, mirrored cover) $6

What do Paris Hilton, Al Pacino, Hilda Doolittle, Charlize Theron, Marcello Mastroianni and a quivering, self-eviscerated blob have in common? Find out in FACE TIME, an anthology of poets responding to stills from films. Featuring work by:

Joe Hall
Craig Perez
Noah Falck
Phil Crippen
Matina L. Stamatakis
Francois Luong
Brian Lucas
Nicole Mauro
Jessica Smith
G.L. Ford
Mark Lamoureux
Christina Strong
Michael Carr
Sandra Simonds
John Mulrooney
Brenda Iijima
and Christopher Rizzo.

To order and for a sample poem and image go here.

Aug 27, 2006

Melancholia's Tremulous Dreadlocks keeps to its decidedly un-saturnine biweekly publication schedule, releasing Issue Three right on time. I am excited to see many faces (literally) old and new whose work I admire in there. And, also there's me and some of my poems for Francesca Woodman--this is a nice format because you can see the poems side-by-side with the images.

Aug 23, 2006

She Hath Risen



Jam-packed new issue of Eileen T.'s review webzine Galatea Resurrects, featuring a reprint of my review of Sandra Simonds' Steam here, and a kind review of my Film Poems chapbook (which has turned 21 in chapbook years, buy it some drinks!) here. How does she do it? No matter where you look in the poetry world, there is Eileen--she's like the 10th muse or something...

Aug 19, 2006

:D :D :D :X ROTFLMAO @ HIH pwns STC.

Aug 17, 2006



OK, I am a geek; I freely admit it. Now that I am 34 years old, I don't have to worry about being hip anymore. That said, has anyone out there played the Xbox game "Dreamfall: The Longest Journey?" A completely amazing game, and the bizarre, depressing cliff-hanger ending actually choked me up a little. Seriously. Pretty stupid, but true. Has anyone else played this game? I am dying to discuss it with someone.

(Before you guys start mocking me, I'd just like to point out that the game boasts some of the following: a library in a giant tree run by ghosts obsessed with amassing every book ever written, a race of religious fundamentalists who are building the Tower of Babel, a main character who is a former art student, humor involving elevators and a stuffed pet robot gorilla played by the same voice actor as the teddy bear in "AI." (I also got choked up about the teddy bear in "AI.") What more do you need?)

Aug 15, 2006

It looks like alongside Face Time Cy Gist Press will be releasing Caracas Notebook by Guillermo Parra and Exertions by Scott Glassman. I am excited to be publishing both of these chapbooks; work that I have been bugging people to publish for a long time; but, as they say, if you want something done right. Then I will probably have to take a break from Cy Gist until the winter when I will probably release another anthology and 2 more chapbooks, by women this time (they are both already in the works--so please don't send me chapbook manuscripts right now unless you're prepared to wait until next summer).

Aug 14, 2006

Congrats to my old pal Catherine Meng on being published by Apostrophe Books Congrats to the other people who were selected as well, but I haven't eaten Barbeque with them.

Aug 7, 2006

Some interesting names in the first issue of Drag City's literary magazine (Courtesy of Jordan D.). But the world needs Bill Callahan's poetry about as much as it needs a new Smog record. Rock stars get to be poets when poets get to have groupies (I'm thinking of my single associates here, and not myself. Though I am willing to be Eleni Sikelianos's platonic groupie) or, like, get paid lots of money for gigs. One man's indie rock is another man's Hades (wink, nudge, mon ami!...) But then again I have been listening more or less exlusively to Eurotrash techno and modern composers since 2003 or so.
Please look at the art on this blog from Lebanon. This conflict occupies a very precarious position in my life; but I cannot deviate from my fundamental belief that war is wrong, always. An eye for an eye for an arm for a leg for a heart continues until there is no body and no soul left. Violence is a crime against God, whoever and whatever your God is.

Aug 5, 2006

It looks like I have been meme-tagged by Francois. I'll answer the questions unironically, despite the urge one always has to answer lists of quesions ironically.

1. A book that changed my life? Life seems to change more or less on its own, but one book which had significant impact upon my poetics was Ange Mlinko's Matinees, which somehow clued me in to the fact that it actually was possible to write with the diction and register I wanted to write in and still be taken seriously. The contemporary impulse is generally to push towards sparseness and brevity, whereas the voices in my head were lush and discursive. Reading Matinees pointed me in the direction that I had for a long time wanted, but was reluctant to travel in. Ironically enough, I read this book before I met Bill Corbett or any of the other characters who populate its pages and would later become important people in my personal pantheon. It seems weird to answer this kind of question with a book essentially written by someone more or less of one's own generation. But ultimately we learn more from our peers than we often let on.

2. A book I've read more than once? Any given poetry book that I enjoy I read umpteen times, so I'll answer this with a novel: Paul Auster's In the Country of Last Things.

3. What is a book I'd want with me on a desert island? A Complete Shakespeare. Boring, but true.

4. What is a book that made me giddy? I find Proust's In Search of Lost Time to be really funny. Particularly Volume One.

5. What is a book that has made me sad? Eleni Sikelianos' The Book of Jon. Father-angst pushes my buttons pretty easily.

6. What is a book I wish had been written? I don't really understand this question. What is a book that wasn't written that I wish had been written? There's no answer to that question since the pool of answers is more or less infinite. Or maybe it means something that got started but not finished (e.g. how was Spicer's detective novel supposed to end?) I guess I could say Gerard Manley Hopkins' juvenilia. When he became a Jesuit, he burned everything he had written prior to that point. I'd like to be able to see Hopkins' secular poems.

7. A book I wish had never been written? None. Even Mein Kampf is useful as a document of what can make a person truly evil. Though I guess maybe whatever books Oppenheimer wrote (though the man himself lamented his creation pretty intensely), or whatever book tells you how to build a nuclear missle.

8. What is a book I'm currently reading? It was my summer project to try and get through all of In Search of Lost Time, but there is no way that is going to happen. I just finished Volume II and now I am taking a break. Presently I am rereading Sebald's The Emigrants because I am teaching it next semester. Poetry-perfect-bound-book-wise (simply to narrow the field down a little) I need to check out Elizabeth Treadwell's Cornstarch Figurine that Susana sent me and also I wanted to reread Mina Loy's The Lost Lunar Baedecker because there is a reading this weekend commemorating her work, but I seem to have somehow misplaced (e.g. lent and never got back) my copy of that book.

9. One book I've been meaning to read? See Proust project above. I also really need to read D&G's A Thousand Plateaus but that is also something else that is not going to happen this summer.

As far as tagging goes, I never like to do that in case the person tagged is really busy or something and doesn't actually want to do the meme but feels like they need to so they don't offend me. So, if you are reading this and want to answer the questions, consider yourself tagged by me.

Aug 4, 2006

My links seem to be blinking now. I just downloaded Firefox 1.5, so perhaps they have been blinking all along but my browser did not support...um...blinking. If the blinking bothers you, just open and close your eyes rapidly when you look at my blog and you shouldn't notice any difference.

Jul 25, 2006

It's probably evident from the poems below that I've been feeling a little depressed lately (in part due to the general pain of my fair Astoria and the general madness of the world right now), but reading through the blogs this evening, I've serendipitously come across any number of kind things people have been saying about my work, which most certainly cheers me up a bit! Thanks for the kind words, everyone; though I am pretty undeserving, I haven't done much besides post poems and Cy Gist propaganda on here for a long time. I am done teaching in August, so hopefully will have a chance to blog a little bit more and turn my attention to talking about the enormous pile of deserving work that I have amassed over the past few months. I try to get the word out about great work through my role as Reviews Editor for Boog City, but that doesn't extend much further than the borders of Manhattan. I should see about posting some of those reviews from past issues of the paper since they are not at this point available to people.
On the horizon, it's the enormous Dusie mothership come to bring us all home.

Jul 23, 2006

Spectre in 100 words or less.


stopping of time. Eyes
LOVE AMOEBA

for blood tungsten for eyes

thirsty sun o'er aluminum

teflon heart murmurs

summer wind,
of red &
blue xmas lights,
arms.
trees
sky.
time-travel

No love,
of sound of God of sound.
ML.

ML.

for ghosts' eyes
android heart
hands smoke
& reattach my arms
Time aboard
of water

PARCHED DREAM

seven names
green eyes
face cracking
cold air prints
grey tongue
Love is a blue, blue doughnut,
SMALL HANDS

piercing a poison eye
of spiked eyes
bearing the names
You names
Write your name. the light's finger points at clouds.

falling.
shapes. (Wind-


Jul 21, 2006

ASTROMETRY ORGANON in 100 words or less. Utilizing MSWord's "Auto Summarize" feature. I think I may have found a new addiction.


horses?

of sun.
light forms,

light from
& lit glyphs

the sun

of dawn sky

Water is my eye,
water,
winter. sleeps.

Sun wolf, ocean blade
the River Fjord the River Gold the river
with the world's blue eye gazing

swimming horses
fall.)

heart, speak no sound
dark stone,
sun queen
light bulb. dark
my mouth
names
black spark

River giraffes
tree. second sun
Thick red star
arms. that river that water
all light, bright ghost's
eyes,

drum sounds,
Peacock Star
The horse
horse part flower & flower part man
mind

a mouth
mouths

skin, tongue arrow-
swim in white light.

Jul 15, 2006



I have finished the new Cy Gist Press website. Here you will find information about the press, including the new call for submissions. Folks with links, if you could please update them when you get a chance, that would be great.

Jul 14, 2006

Speaking of sexy, I bet "In keeping with primitivism, the characters in this particular genre do suggest some kind of infantile fertility cult with their distorted features and the nausea of their appointed task of achieving coitus after overcoming ludicrous obstacles" sounds a lot sexier in Italian.
Courtesy of Jessica, because I am such a Grecophile:

You scored as Calliope. You are Calliope, the muse of epic poetry. You like writing, gold, and reading super long books. You are usually quite intuitive and reserved.

Calliope

69%

Euterpe

63%

Urania

63%

Terpischore

56%

Polyhymnia

44%

Clio

38%

Melpomene

38%

Erato

31%

Thalia

31%

Which of the Greek Muses are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Jul 12, 2006

Fearsome writer's block this summer. The longest amount of time without a poem, I think, in my adult life. Hopefully the field remains fallow for some kind of singular crop. It is alarming, but a sense also of waiting, patience. What silence is for. Maybe it's Proust's fault, though I am reading poetry also. Things on the tip of my tongue. Perhaps soon. Perhaps not.

Jul 10, 2006

OK, the weather people have been predicting thunderstorms for about a week, but so far not a single rumble. What gives? Isn't there enough Negative Orgone Energy in NYC or something?

Jul 4, 2006

To-Read Pile

How I Spent My Summer Vacation





To-Read Pile, originally uploaded by mark_lamoureux.

My "To-Read" pile.

Jul 2, 2006

In order to raise funds for upcoming Cy Gist projects, I am selling copies of the first Cy Gist publication, Another Night by me, and also copies of my Dusie chapbook exchange chap, Night Season, for $5 each. There is a limited supply of each, so if you are interested get them while they are hot, and grey. You can buy them using the handy PayPal buttons below.



Another Night
by Mark Lamoureux

For a review of the chap by the inimitable Maureen Thorson, go here.



Night Season
by Mark Lamoureux

*Whew* added:

The Blind Chatelaine's Poker Poetics (Eileen Tabios redux)
Both Both(John Sakkis)
Do Gummi Bears Dream of Rubber Passion Fruit? (Logan Ryan Smith)
Dusie reviews
Hyacinth Losers (Matthew Henriksen)
Ida's Foodie Leas (Joel Sloman)
Inverse Poetry Series
Micawberesque (Susana Gardner)
My Maserati (Jon Leon)
P-Ramblings (William Allegrezza)
Reading Revival 2 (Michael Farrell)
Soluble Census (Tom Beckett)
Stoning the Devil (Adam Field)
Voices in Utter Dark (Francois Luong)
Windrag

Jun 30, 2006

I am loathe to get all commercial, and I can't do a link because it is a flash site, but on the Converse website you can order custom Chuck Taylors, Jack Purcells, etc. and select the color of every single part of the shoe. Down to the rubber on the soles. Having spent many hours as a youth scouring the Northeast for just the right pair of Chucks, such technology would have been seen as totally, like Star Trek. For you designy types, I can't quite explain the amazing-ness of designing your very own custom pair of Jack Purcells. I wish I could do a link. Warning, though, you will blow 2 hours and $65 bucks if you go there...
Am hoping the next couple of days to get to a sorely needed blogroll update. I wish Blogger would author a tool like the Yahoo Address Book updates that would pull URLs from the comments fields, sitemeter, etc. All you'd need to do is reprogram one of those freaking spam robots that mine the comments fields...

Jun 27, 2006

I'm having nicotine withdrawal and I can't sleep

OR

Lamoureux nee Bergotte

"Bergotte is what I call a flute-player: one must admit that he plays very agreeably, although with a great deal of mannerism, of affectation. But when all is said, there's no more to it than that, and that is not much. Nowhere does one find in his flaccid works what one might call structure. No action--or very little--but above all no range. His books fail at the foundation, or rather they have no foundation at all. At a time like the present, when the ever-increasing complexity of life leaves one scarcely a moment for reading, when the map of Europe has undergone radical alterations and is on the eve, perhaps, of undergoing more drastic still, when so many new and threatening problems are arising on every side, you will allow me to suggest that one is entitled to ask that a writer should be something more than a clever fellow who lulls us into forgetting, amid otiose and byzantine discussions of the merits of pure form, that we may be overwhelmed at any moment by a double tide of barbarians, those from without and those from within our borders. I am aware that this is to blaspheme the sacrosanct school of what these gentlemen term 'Art for Art's sake,' but at this period of history there are tasks more urgent than the manipulation of words in a harmonious manner. I don't deny that Bergotte's manner can be quite seductive at times, but taken as a whole, it is all very precious, very thin, and altogether lacking in virility. I can now understand more easily, when I bear in mind your altogether excessive regard for Bergotte, the few lines that you showed me just now, which it would be ungracious of me not to overlook, since you yourself told me in all simplicity that they were merely a childish scribble...For every sin there is forgiveness, and especially for the sins of youth. After all, others as well as yourself have such sins on their conscience, and you are not the only one who has believed himself a poet in his idle moments. But one can see in what you showed me the unfortunate influence of Bergotte. You will not, of course, be surprised when I say that it had none of his qualities, since he is a past-master in the art--entirely superficial by the by--of handling a certain style of which, at your age, you cannot have acquired even the rudiments. But already there is the same fault, that nonsense of stringing together fine-sounding words and only afterwards troubling about what they mean. That is putting the cart before the horse. Even in Bergotte's books, all those Chinese puzzles of form, all those subtleties of a deliquescent mandarin seem to me to be quite futile. Given a few fireworks let off prettily enough by an author, and up goes the shout of masterpiece. Masterpieces are not so common as all that! Bergotte cannot place to his credit--does not carry in his baggage, if I may use the expression--a single novel that is at all lofty in its conception, one of those books which one keeps in a special corner of one's library. I cannot think of one such in the whole of his work. But that does not mean that, in his case, the work is not infinitely superior to the author. Ah! there's a man who justifies the wit who insisted that one ought never to know an author except through his books. It would be impossible to imagine an individual who corresponded less to his--more pretentious, more pompous, more ill-bred. Vulgar at times, at others talking like a book, and not even like one of his own, but like a boring book, which his, to them justice are not--such is your Bergotte. He has the most confused and convoluted mind, what our forebears called sesquipedalian, and he makes the things that he says even more unpleasing by the manner in which he says them."

M. de Norpois on the imaginary poet M. Bergotte in Vol. 2 of In Search of Lost Time, Marcel Proust.

Jun 20, 2006

Just when you thought blogging was, like, so 2003, here comes Joel Sloman to reanimate our collective cadaver.

Jun 19, 2006

Back from the Tieger/Hyman wedding. I have a poem up at Zafusy from Astrometry Organon. Work continues on putting the book together, so hopefully it will indeed be available in late 2006.

Jun 9, 2006

Commodore Silliman offers some tough love for My Spaceship.

Jun 2, 2006





I am happy to announce the release of Cy Gist Press Chapbook #2, My Spaceship. My Spaceship is an anthology of visual and ekphrastic poetry based on science-fiction images. Featuring work by:

Christopher Rizzo
Garth Graeper
Catherine Meng
Steven Roberts
Suzanne Nixon
Maureen Thorson
Michael Carr
Erica Kaufman
K. Lorraine Graham
Noah Falck
Stacy Szymaszek
Eileen Tabios
Josephh Bienvenu
Shafer Hall
William Corbett
Jill Magi
Jess Mynes
Ginger Hoffman
Tom Beckett
Scott Glassman
Jon Leon
Nathan Pritts

My Spaceship is available for trade, or for a $6 donation to Cy Gist Press. (44pp. hand-sewn, B&W illustrations)


May 30, 2006

Hey folks, I know I said I'd return to regular blogging after the semester ended, but I am still busy working on cranking out My Spaceship. Does anyone know how long it takes to fold and sew 100 chapbooks? That's right, a long freaking time. I should be done within the next couple of days.

Had a swell time in Boston, catching up with everyone there. Then a fantastic reading at St. Mark's by Lara Glenum and Aase Berg. If you aren't familiar with Action Books, you should be.

May 16, 2006

Dearest Boston,

The Plough & Stars Poetry Series

featuring
Joyelle McSweeney & Mark Lamoureux

Sunday, May 21, 5:30 pm

We are pleased to announce the third event in the Plough & Stars Poetry Series, to be held on Sunday, May 21, 5:30 pm at The Plough & Stars, 912 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, near the Central Square stop on the Red Line. http://www.ploughandstars.com

Joyelle McSweeney is the author of The Red Bird and The Commandrine and Other Poems, both from Fence. She teaches at the University of Alabama and writes regular reviews for the Constant Critic. She recently co-founded Action Books (www.actionbooks.org), a new poetry and translation press.

Mark Lamoureux is a poet, critic and translator who lives in Astoria, NY. His work has appeared in numerous publications, both in print and online. He is an associate editor for Fulcrum Annual. He is the author of three chapbooks: City/Temple (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2003), 29 Cheeseburgers (Pressed Wafer, 2004) and Film Poems (Katalanche Press, 2005). His first full-length collection, Astrometry Organon is due out from Spuyten Duyvil/Meeting Eyes Bindery in the winter of 2006.

For more info contact:

John Mulrooney - jmulroon2002@yahoo.com
Michael Carr - cancelaspirin@gmail.com

Sincerely,
Yr Prodigal Son

May 11, 2006

The following is a piece I wrote for a class I had this semester on the memoir genre. I am thinking about expanding it into a full-on "ekphrastic memoir" at some later date, perhaps this summer, incorporating some of the stuff I've already written about video games, etc. The level of candor in this piece is a little beyond what I ordinarily exhibit on the blog, however, I am pretty happy with the piece so I will post it here.


ON BECOMING HUMAN



Sometime around my father's 45th year, he began seeing his childhood sweetheart. The problem was that he also had a wife and a child at the time. But the strength of those old memories that were once so dear to him and had been forgotten for so long was so great that they split his life in two. I watched my father and my soon-to-be stepmother travel a gauntlet of embarrassing nostalgia: they listened constantly to Buddy Holly and Patsy Cline records, watched nothing but old films from the 50's or films which dealt with 50's culture like The Big Chill and Back to the Future. The anthem of their relationship became the film Somewhere in Time, in which the protagonist wills himself into the past to woo an actress from a photograph with whom he is obsessed. They frequented those restaurants and stores around Connecticut that had remained relatively unchanged since the 50's. To a 12-year-old whose family existed in the present and had been disrupted, this behavior was beyond disgusting.

In my 34th year (the age my father was when I was born), I realize that my father's vault into his job, his factory, and his marriage at a relatively young age, his drastic abandonment of childish things had estranged him so much from that childhood universe (however fraught with uncertainty and difficulty as it may have been) that his return to the same could only be drastic and violent. And this is what happened, upon reading that his childhood sweetheart was in town for the funeral of her father. These memories of the past had slept within him for so long, unacknowledged, that their return could only have life-rending consequences.

It is perhaps for this reason that over the years I have obsessively maintained a conduit to the mythology of my childhood, periodically revisiting childhood texts (both literary and popular) and have filled the sacred site of my creativity, my office, with objects from that time. This practice, while not, as I perceive it, especially uncommon among adults, can be viewed with some derision by those most enthusiastically preoccupied with "being an adult," and I might add, those who seem most prone to world-shattering midlife crises.

My home office is littered with boxes of un-built model-kits, some of which I possessed as a child, and some of which I merely wished to possess. Their built prototypes, which occupied those long, dull summer vacations spent alone in an isolated house in the suburbs while my single working mother was at work have long since vanished. I have been amassing the kits for years, alongside assorted literature concerning fine-scale modeling with the intent, apparently, of reconstructing the kits with an aplomb that I did not possess as a child. This task, however, is relegated to some indeterminate time-future when "I have some extra time." I cannot honestly speculate when this time may occur. At present they seem to offer some kind of reassurance that someday I will have that kind of leisure, as I did as a child. Perhaps they represent some kind of urge to rebuild, literally and figuratively, my childhood years as an adult.

In a similar fashion, I have, over the years, been amassing what amounts to a journal of my thoughts concerning comic-book characters who were important to me as a child, and who served as models for aspects of my own character and the character of others in my life. My intent in this piece is to give voice to some of these texts and to give form to the amorphous project begun long ago, as well as to offer some thoughts on its persistence.

Seven years ago I wrote:

It really comes as no surprise to me that this summer of 1999 finds me turning an eye to the trappings of my younger days. Recently, my roommate Aaron and I found ourselves driving to the exciting suburb of Somerville, barely able to find our way with the butterflies in our stomachs and the hairs on our necks standing at attention. We were going to see the new Star Wars movie. Fear not, dear reader, enough attention is being paid to the pantheon of Lucasfilm that I will not subject you to any more musings on Darth Vader and company. I mention this only insofar as on the drive home, Aaron and I began talking about the fact that for the first time in our lives an icon from our youth was being truly re-visited, with the requisite attention by the media to a long-ago "time past." Events of our childhood were being discussed as "history." People our own age were bringing their own small children to be initiated into the cult of their youth. Grown men (myself included) were buying toys and telling stories, digging up anecdotes from their past. I found myself actually saying to someone, "when I was your age..."

It is important for us to remember the things that shaped us. As a writer these things are important to me, and as an "ordinary human," too. It is important to realize that, however old we are, we're still just kids on many levels. Accepting this is part of "growing up," part of being "made whole."

Thus I began a meditation on the comic-book characters of my childhood. What strikes me now about these paragraphs is my dichotomization of "writer" and "ordinary human," and the relevance of that dichotomy in thinking about my analysis of my empathy toward those characters who were decidedly not "ordinary humans." Another obsessive part of me deems the present an appropriate time for the exhumation of this narrative given that this past summer George Lucas released the final act of his 20-year film cycle, bringing to a close the sweep of a narrative whose cultural force I do not need to explain here. Additionally, the third film about Marvel Comics' X-Men, who figure prominently in my meditation, is due out this summer. Perhaps 2006 is a logical interval to fix my own thoughts on the subject in time.

DAS UNHEIMLICHE: THE UNCANNY X-MEN

I was a sickly kid, or rather I was a nervous, excitable kid prone to fits of hypochondria and throwing up in the morning from the sheer anxiety of facing another day of frustration and torment at school. My hypochondria is an inherited trait, and consequently, I spent a lot of time being rushed to the pediatrician by my mother. The pediatrician did his best to prescribe doses of flat Coke and Jell-O water and general relaxation.

Down the street from Dr. Horton's office was a convenience store that sold comic books. Whenever I was in the midst of these episodes, my mother would buy me comic books to read as I "convalesced," as well as plenty of junk food, which I, miraculously, seemed to have no problem keeping down. I spent lots of time in the screened-in porch beside my house immersed in the fantastic stories of the X-Men and others as an alternative to school. At least I wasn't watching television.




I remember going to the dictionary one day during one of my sanctioned truancies to finally look up the word "uncanny." I remember skimming through the heavy, grown-up book and being filled with the same wonder as when I was following the lives of my favorite demi-humans. Stan Lee's sports-announcer alliteration and near-malapropisms continually sent me to the great tome to figure out what he was saying.

In my 1999 musings on the X-Men I focused primarily on their catalyzation of my interest in words and the oblique enhancement of my vocabulary comic books provided, and my knowledge of mythology, since mythological figures frequently appeared within their pages. While these are important facts, what interests me at present are the forces whereby I found myself in the screen-porch reading the X-Men, listening to the sound of the gypsy moths munching on the trees in the yard and eating peanut-butter filled Hostess cakes instead of being in school, and my particular interest in these particular characters, as opposed to the more popular (at the time, at least) ones like Spiderman and Superman.

Serendipitously, I need not go much further than my favorite super-team's appropriate epithet, "The Uncanny X-Men." The German word unheimlich, traditionally translated as "uncanny" in English has, as its root, the home. The uncanny pertains to the notion that there is something "not right" in "the home." It is the estranged familiar.

Indeed, at this time my familiar world was beginning to become strange. To this day, it is unclear to me during which year, specifically, my father began his affair with my stepmother, but reverse conjecture places it in the vicinity of 1984, when, in sixth grade, it was revealed to me that my father had a mistress and would be leaving the house. The affair had been going on for a number of years at that point, putting its genesis around the time (4th and 5th grade) that I began my screen porch sojourns with the Uncanny X-men.

I can recall an amorphous sense of anxiety pervading those years, inspired by numerous behind-closed-doors whispering sessions between my mother and father, the occasion for which was never revealed to me at the time. I began to dream that my mother was pregnant with a kind of demon-child who would usurp my place in the family structure (I was an only child). This anxiety inspired in me a predilection for nervous eating, and I began to put on weight, making me the brunt of cruel jokes and remarks in the classroom. Also, due to the conditions at home, I was no longer permitted to have classmates over to the house and I began to drift away from my peers. Years later, my mother would inform me that the community was well aware of my father's behavior well in advance of my own knowledge of it. Tolland, Connecticut was a small town and people were talking, but not to me. All of this perpetuated a general air of unease and secrecy--uncaniness, unease about the home.

The X-Men were a team of superheroes whose powers were derived genetically. They were "mutants" and suffered, continually, the scorn of those ordinary humans who their adventures and conflicts with all kinds of foes (some of them other "bad" mutants) were aimed at protecting. They were a team of "freaks," and consequently spoke to my own feelings of freakishness and isolation. Here was company where the brainy fat kid with a philandering father could feel at home. One was a Russian who could turn his body into living metal, whose girlfriend was a pretty Jewish girl who could turn her body intangible (her name was Ariel!). One was a Canadian with regenerative powers and claws that extended from his knuckles. One was an African woman with pupil-less eyes who could control the weather. One was a man whose eyes emitted destructive beans of energy unless shielded by special sunglasses. Their leader was a telepathic man in a wheelchair. And one was a feral German with blue fur and a tail who could teleport from one place to another. He was the most freakish of all, and my favorite.

THE DEMON-PRIEST: NIGHTCRAWLER



The X-Men were gods to me and Nightcrawler was the head of the pantheon. The few friends I had idolized Spiderman, the wiseguy, the Hulk, the brute-of-few words, and Iron Man, the playboy. My heart was with Nightcrawler, the freak. I took comfort in his sinister appearance that hid a kind heart and a quick wit. There are many people in the world with much more terrible things wrong with them than I perceived were wrong with me at the time, however, I can honestly say at that age I was not much to look at. I was a chubby kid with gangly arms and legs, an unseemly shock of bright red hair and sickly pale complexion. I also had fangs. Due to the fact that we had no money for an orthodontist, my canines were crowded out of the rest of my teeth, taking up residence about a half-an-inch higher than the others, in precisely the position where one found fangs on vampires, and Nightcrawler as well. The total package made me the brunt of countless childhood tortures. We've all been through them, but they hit me pretty hard because I had tangible evidence upon which to base my own feelings of being "deformed." Notably, I was "deformed" in a manner similar to my hero, who was also powerful, smart and moral, and his fellow X-Men loved him. He even had a girlfriend. I can remember fantasizing about Nightcrawler teleporting in to beat the snot out of the neighborhood bullies, my tormentors, placing a three-fingered hand on my shoulder and stating, "We sure showed them, mein freund. Come and live with us, we will teach you to defend yourself, we won't mock your hideous appearance, after all, we are so alike, you and I."

I had not thought of my snaggle-tooth for years until going through my files for pieces about Nightcrawler. It is relevant to note that my feelings of freakishness did not necessarily subside with the end of puberty and a growth-spurt that transformed my pudgy-gangliness to tall-and-awkwardness. Throughout my twenties, my dental woes caused me considerable consternation. My bad teeth required frequent and expensive intervention by the dentist in order to keep them from falling out of my mouth. At his time, such treatments were often beyond my modest means, and I endured any number of periods of pain, discomfort and frustration, which resulted in an obsession over the cosmetic peculiarities of my mouth. These were a source of constant anxiety during my dating years, an icon by which I dredged up deep-rooted feelings of Otherness and deformity. As friends were getting married and making money hand-over-fist during the Internet boom, my relative poverty and single-ness caused me no shortage of alarm. The Fat Kid had become the Starving Writer and the Depressive, which did not take me so far away from my archetypal hero, Nightcrawler.



These feelings of Otherness would manifest themselves severely during bouts of then-untreated depression. At these times, I would still find solace in the stories about my old friend. At the time, though, I had glossed over what, to my present mind, is one of the most compelling aspects of his character. Nightcrawler was deeply religious. In the context of the comic book, it was posited that the persecution he suffered at the hands of religious mobs in rural Germany caused him to seek refuge in a church, whereby he became acquainted with the Holy Spirit, which was capable of loving even him in his hideousness. If Lucifer was a fallen angel, Nightcrawler was his foil--the elevated demon. (In one story, it is Nightcrawler's faith in the cross that allows a particularly tenacious vampire to be defeated, the traditional cross-and-stake method of vampire removal being powerless in the hands of his teammates who did not believe in the power of the image.)

Being, at 34, an agnostic-bordering-on-belief, I begin to wonder why this particular aspect of the character escaped me for so many years. The simple message put forward by the comics was that religion was a balm to Nightcrawler's feelings of aloneness and Otherness. I am left to wonder why, in the deepest recesses of my depression, it never dawned upon me to seek transcendence by way of belief in something beyond myself and my pain--a compassion that touches every being no matter how abject and alone they are. Despite my leanings toward the spiritual, true belief is inhibited by my general cynicism and my materialism, and a disdain for the negative effects of religion upon our world. These negative effects are a phenomenon the comic book itself saw fit to address--in the image at the beginning of this section from the graphic novel God Loves, Man Kills, in which a fundamentalist preacher calls for the extinction of the mutants singles out the most faithful of the X-Men, Nightcrawler, to ridicule. Throughout the course of this adventure, Nightcrawler's goodwill and faith do not desert him. There may still be something to learn from my blue-furred friend.

It should come as no surprise that, given his numerous extraordinary qualities, Nightcrawler also found for himself a love interest during the course of the narrative. Nightcrawler's girlfriend, Amanda Sefton, was an airline stewardess who would later be given powers of her own and join him in his fantastic exploits. Being the paramour of my adolescent hero, one would might have expected me to have grown attached to the character's love interest as well, but I found myself with little to no interest in Nightcrawler's steady. She seemed far too ordinary and uninteresting. In fact, I found myself resenting the fact that the writers of the comic did not provide my favorite character with a more suitable companion. This was likely due to the fact that the recipient of my adolescent amorous fantasies was to be found elsewhere...



GOOD GIRLS GONE BAD: DARK PHOENIX



My mother never really recovered from her divorce. Withdrawn and passive to begin with, I watched her go from reticent, to sullen, to despairing. Being forced to join the workforce after 20 or so years, she had little in the way of marketable job skills, and still less in the way of self-esteem and confidence to talk her way through the situation. Beginning as a temporary, she began her professional career as an administrative assistant, routinely taken advantage of, abused and generally mistreated by a series of private-sector petty dictators. During this time she suffered from severe depression coupled with anxiety, culminating in anxiety attacks which she believed to be cardiac arrest. During these attacks she would implore her 12-year-old son to call 9-1-1. Which I invariably did following vain attempts to convince her that perhaps it was something else that was wrong. The ambulance would come, and I would spend a number of days at the neighbor's house. She would return from these hospital visits dazed and demoralized. To this day, I do not understand why her problems were not correctly diagnosed and treated. These experiences, which the doctors dismissed as "all in her head," eroded what little was left of her self-esteem. She was not only desperate, but she also believed herself to be crazy.

Just as her many years as a housewife did not prepare her for the workforce, they also did not prepare her for life as a single woman, or a single mother. Throughout her life, periods of partnerlessness longer than a month or two have left my mother paralyzed by fear. Her solution to this problem is to attach herself to whichever available male in her life is in a situation enabling him to attempt to be in a relationship with her. The net result of this has been a series of affairs with individuals about whom my grandfather would euphemistically state, "She could do better for herself."

Several months following the divorce, my mother began dating a man who worked in the electronics department of the garment-machinery firm for which she was working. This man referred to himself (and requested that others refer to him also) as Big Al. Said moniker was by no means ironic, as Big Al weighed in at around 300 pounds. He was about 10 years my mother's senior and possessed of a nebulous past filled with details which no-one, not even my mother was able to corroborate. Big Al was of American Indian descent, had at one time been a bodybuilder and professional wrestler, had been a ball-turret gunner in World War II, had borderline psychic abilities and had once fended off an entire mob of angry black men (Big Al used the term "Porch Monkeys" to refer to them) with a crowbar. (In regard to these facts my grandfather would state, somewhat less euphemistically, "That fat bastard is full of shit.") Whatever the real truths about his past were, the facts of his present were indisputable: he was racist, sexist, homophobic, jingoistic, ham-fisted and brutal. I've mentioned that he hated African Americans; he also hated cripples ("Useless People"), men with beards ("Fuzzy Faced Assholes"), people who had gone to college ("BS stands for 'bullshit' and PhD stands for 'piled high and deep'") and the French ("They fight with their feet and fuck with their mouths.") He also had not much use for my mother's strange and precocious son, the one person who stood between his sole ownership of his incredible good fortune, my mother.

Big Al's antagonism of me stopped short of physical abuse, but during the years of their relationship I found myself wishing that my mother would realize take a good look Big Al and his ignorant hatred and look to find herself a more suitable companion, given that she is an open, accepting and intelligent person. However, the wound in her soul that was the cause of her psychological woes seemingly prevented her from realizing the absurdity in her choice of mates and incapable of standing up for me in the face of Big Al's wrath. A wrath which I increasingly found myself the brunt of as I began to get older and began to question my sexuality, became interested in Communism, the occult and punk rock. I was on my way to becoming a more or less garden-variety teenage intellectual and rebel, a character who had no place in Big Al's little world and elicited in him a particularly intense rage and scorn. It is also relevant to note that my burgeoning rebelliousness inspired a similar reaction in my own father, as well as my peers in school. I was alone. My mother's lack of participation in the increasingly unhealthy dynamic between Big Al and I, and her general predilection towards becoming a victim inspired in me a slight (although only slight) resentment, and, more intensely, an obsession with brazen, troubled and rebellious girls and women, women who were, sacredly, Nothing Whatsoever Like My Mother.





One can see the prototype of said inclination in my youthful fascination with another of the characters from the X-Men: Jean Grey, who would become the Dark Phoenix. Being at the time a medium concerned primarily with the whims and fantasies of adolescent and teenage boys, the comics industry of the 1980s can hardly be seen to have been a bastion of feminism. With its provision of ample bosoms, skin-tight costumes and its agonistic storylines it was not much of an antithesis to the worldview of Big Al, my father and others. However, perhaps as a symptom of the mainstream incorporation of 3rd wave feminism, women in comic books in the 1980s were beginning to experience a certain kind of transformation. While not emancipated from the ubiquitous skin-tight unitards and minidresses, the female characters in comics in the 1980s were beginning to emerge from their marginal roles as the girlfriends of the likes of Superman and Spiderman, and a little later the fey heroines of the 70's: "Invisible Girl," "The Wasp" and the earliest incarnation of Jean Grey, "Marvel Girl." The female comic book characters of the 80's were granted world-shattering superpowers and bellicose attitudes along with their idealized physical forms.

Marvel Girl was the love-interest of Cyclops, the hierarchical and pedantic leader of the X-Men. Her early abilities and appearance were the staples of silver-age comics heroines, mind-reading and telekinetic abilities paired with a yellow domino mask and a green minidress. The storyline that resulted her becoming the Dark Phoenix character involved the transformation of Marvel Girl into a sinister and omniscient being who tries to kill all of her friends (she reserved a particular rage for her former boyfriend) and eventually must be destroyed due to her threat to the entire fabric of the space-time continuum. Additionally, she was finally given a costume with pants.



Despite my love of the X-Men themselves, I could not help but to harbor a slight desire that Dark Phoenix would actually win their epic battle. Most likely because I subconsciously wished that my mother would undergo a similar transformation and do away with her own erstwhile companion. I was also fascinated with Dark Phoenix's stylized dialogue and the particular sympathy and interest that the writers showed for their villain. She was my first encounter with the literary anti-hero. As I wrote in 1998:

Around the same time as my musings on my disfiguredness I also found myself in the midst of a moral and spiritual crisis. Just as I could detect in myself the stirrings of self-worth and compassion, I also was beginning to realize my own potential for anger and bitterness. A constellation of lifelong morbid fascinations were in the pangs of birth.

And so Jean Grey aka Phoenix aka Dark Phoenix became the poster girl for my own moral dilemmas. What I was doing in the basement and the shower felt somehow wrong to me, but at the same time it felt quite good. Jean Grey was evidently turning into a villain, but at the same time she was becoming more and more attractive to my 12-year-old sensibilities. She was evil, but she was beautiful and powerful, seeming to remain the same person, but different somehow. My conundrum both intrigued and disgusted me. I was obviously a bad person if I still felt something in me stirring at the notion of Dark Phoenix when quite obviously she was going to eat the universe and her friends too. Yes, my first Bad Girl crush was on a comic book character. Laugh if you want, but I would later find myself drawn to the same archetype ad infinitum. Dark Phoenix was my introduction to sinister hedonism and to people with a chip on their shoulders, more often than not, a large one.


Luckily, as I grew older I would realize that intellectual and sexual liberation in a person could exist without a concurrent desire to destroy themselves and the universe, perhaps predicated by my own determination that the universe and I might be worthy of continued existence. My conception of an ideal partner mellowed from sociopathic to merely independent. Such early fetishizations are difficult to dispel, however and even in my adult life, in my mind's eye I still find myself in a planet-shattering embrace with Dark Phoenix and the similarly dark aspects of my own character.

MY ROBOT BODY: ROM THE SPACEKNIGHT



Another character to whom I attached particular importance as a child was ROM the Spaceknight. ROM began first as an electronic toy (one of the first of its kind) and shortly thereafter a comic book was written for the purpose of marketing the toy. As a very young child, I loved the toy and had in my possession issues of the comic book, which I did not completely follow or understand. Interest in the comic book far outstripped the toy--the comic series would continue for another 10 years or so, and I would revisit it later on, at the same time I was reading the X-Men in the screen porch.

The story of ROM concerned an alien prince who had given up his humanity to become a cybernetic hero in order to save his race from the clutches of shape-shifting monsters called the Dire Wraiths. These monsters found their way to Earth, where they were able to assume the countenance of ordinary humans. ROM made his way to earth in hot pursuit and there fell in love with a human woman named Brandy Clark, and subsequently began to wonder if giving up his human body to become a cyborg killing machine had really been such a great idea. The majority of the run of the comic presented ROM and Brandy's complex relationship amid the backdrop of ROM being periodically called upon the save the human race from the hidden menace of the Dire Wraiths.

The reasons for my interest in the book should be apparent. Here was another misunderstood hero fighting against covert and sinister forces who could assume the form of one's neighbors or, say, one's parents. As the sorrow that befell me due to the divorce and my subsequent home life began to take its toll, I became more sullen and withdrawn, and something in ROM's robotic character and his inability to rectify his rage and despair with his more tender feelings appealed to me. The character's missing mouth must have spoken to my own difficulties in expressing what was going on inside of me.

Following the initial news of my parents' imminent parting of ways, I stopped speaking for six months or so. Which isn't to say I entered into a monk-like vow of silence: I would converse enough to, say, ask for money to buy comic books, but I simply ceased to share my thoughts, emotions or anything else with my parents, friends or even pets. I entered into a silent psychic rapport with my toys, video games and comics. I felt my own armored shell begin to develop and I felt a sense of great frustration as my ability to communicate with others rapidly diminishing. Of course, there was no Brandy Clark involved, but my feeling of isolation from those I loved reached a similar desperate pitch.

I would later on find my own voice again through the process of writing poetry, but in my intimate and personal life, a certain lack of ability to communicate properly would continue to haunt me. As would the feeling of being armored, having steeled myself against a hurtful world and in doing so lost some capacity to experience love and joy. My ability to feel positive emotions had become somehow damaged. Also, the potential monster that lurked behind my friends, lovers and associates was, for many years, still quite palpably real.

I would eventually learn that this anhedonia was a symptom of severe depression, which I would treat on-and-off with various medications, either self-administered in the form of alcohol, or under the care of a psychiatrist. None of these ever really to dispelled my feelings of being trapped in a body that wasn't mine that had lost its ability to feel. Additionally, my vocation as a poet would put up a barrier between myself and "normal people" that I found hard to dispel, as well as alienating me from what was left of my family, my father in particular.

My detachment and lack of emotiveness continued to trouble me in my intimate relationships and my friendships, until, during my late 20's my depression landed me in the psychiatric ward of St. Elizabeth's hospital in Brookline, Massachusetts, following a particularly egregious period of despair, drinking and isolation following the dissolution of a relationship with yet another Dark Phoenix. My time in the hospital, with a roommate who had been so severely brain-damaged in a car accident that he could neither read nor write, and would begin each day by asking me what my name was as would have forgotten it since the day before, began to change my perception of myself as an irreparably damaged freak. Being amongst a population of more severely damaged individuals did not, however, diminish my empathization with or compassion for those who find themselves on the periphery of what our society deems "normal." Likewise, these icons of Otherness I describe here are never far from my thoughts, neither are the denizens of the ward at St. Elizabeth's.

Even with my depression at last successfully treated with the right mix of pyschopharmaceuticals, I still find myself contending with the ghost of ROM's robot armor, given that my emotional and erotic responses remain somewhat truncated, as side effects of my medication. Thus I am released from my universe-consuming despair, but still do not find myself in complete possession of my body. (One might see me as a kind of chemical cyborg, the functions of my brain augmented by technology, albeit microscopic compounds as opposed to a robotic suit of armor.) However, at present I find these to be merely hindrances and not outright obstacles to having the kind of life that my childhood heroes coveted.

Likewise, I find there is no shortage of people who have had similar experiences with depression and medication who can relate to the events of my life. In the comic, ROM finally finds a kind of happiness when his human girlfriend is given a similar robot body. Despite the obvious limitations of such a relationship, perhaps he finally felt, to some degree, less alone--as I do, both in the presence of my real-life (and non-robotic) girlfriend and peers, as well as when I return to the pages of those texts that were such a comfort to me in my youth.

May 2, 2006

Up to my eyebrows in end-of-semester stuff and other projects. More soon!

Apr 23, 2006

Today's post brought to you by the letter W.

'W' Gets Its Own Place in Swedish Language

Winnie must be happy...






Which reminds me of the sign I made for the marches preceding the Iraq Invasion "War starts w/ W and must end now" that nobody seemed to be able to make that much sense of. Note to self: linguistic archness and policital outrage do not necessarily mix. I thought it was clever, though.




(A beardless and paunchless version of myself... That is Bill Corbett's mug in the interstice between the sign and my face.)

Apr 22, 2006

042206

No matter who you are
or what you do,

the big black pigeon
will come for you.




(Inspired by a badass pigeon that landed on my air conditioner today. Sort of a poor man's raven...)

Maybe I should just write doggerel for the rest of April...

Apr 19, 2006

041906

Blind on the boulevard that points
at the setting sun, barren

silhouettes appoach, noisy
vectors of rush hour. Bound

upstream, light ignites
the screaming rails.

Fatuous spring, running late
unconcerned.

Empty car's bombast, a thudding
door, a long tag along

the fence to Queensboro:
SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSME

Brazen S: ride with me
all the way to Union Square.

Apr 14, 2006

041506

Note to self:

Next time take month of April off of work.

Apr 13, 2006

Trying to regain some semblance of a schedule for the Boog City reviews. If you have a chapbook (or book book for that matter) that you want reviewed in Boog City, send it my way. I am going to try and get the next few months or so planned out so I don't have to keep bugging my gracious reviewers for stuff at the last minute. If you want to write a review, also let me know!
041206

This is for when the last
face sprouts from the aurora
tree, you children out
of time who skate the white
line of the Dead Sea. There
christened by a magnet
in a lead bottle. Say fire
or water. Say broke or
broken. The sheet of time-
past blown far along the floodplain.
The weird children by whom
I'm led, far past the alluvial
forest, past the withered
foundation & the broken churn.
A dome rises from the middle
distance, a door in the rocks
I saw & still see. Never speak
of it; how I was alone.
How those spirits were mine.
I am a spelunker.
There are voices, I don't hear
them. There are figures
in the crux of sight, I cannot
see them. Little by little
the copse of pines is razed,
I will not walk there.
I am tired like a bird.
I eat the word never, walking
until walking becomes me.

Apr 11, 2006

Apr 10, 2006

041006

ANHEDONIA
II.

In a net of antigens, or else
creaky nocturnal versimilitudes
The device had 2 heavy,
slanting wooden sides,
that invent balmy catchphrases
as dawn stalks, a double-dealer
perhaps 4 by 3 feet each,
pleasantly upholstered
advancing the docket so religiously
toward whatever peak or trough.
with a thick, soft padding.
They were joined
It fleets & wavers, the weather
& the signs. What nudges
by hinges to a long, narrow
bottom board to create
through the periphery, the smoke-
shaped veils of foundering perception,
a V-shaped, body-sized trough.
There was a complex control box
the chorus of preceptors & receptors,
mercurial transmitters that flutter the dumb birds
at one end, with heavy-duty tubes
leading off to another device, in a closet.
of singularity. If you did not sing
I would not breathe, or be as
An industrial compressor,
the kind they use for filling tires.
a mummy of glad rags & beatific
compromise. Still still still
It exerts a firm but comfortable pressure
on the body, from the shoulders to knees.
like an anatomical model. A crystal
scion of the heretofore unrectified
Either a steady pressure or a variable one
or a pulsating one as you wish.
schism. The lens & the abacus
& the coursing membranes
that inscribe & erase. That wrap
around a lowing rod.

Apr 9, 2006

Finished up the prototype My Spaceship today, it should swing into full production soon!

Apr 8, 2006


Outside my Office, originally uploaded by mark_lamoureux.

This is the view outside of my office (or rather, the office I share with 9 other adjuncts) at Kingsborough Community College, where I sit nefariously denaturing language & ruining everything for the good, feeling people of the Earth. The office doesn't have a window, but this view is only a few paces away. Behind my office seems to be the only quiet place I have discovered in the metro-NYC area.

040706

Ladies and gentlemen
of the audience:
Scott Glassman
may make this
look easy, but
if you must try
it at home, please
bring scissors
& a BB gun.

It's all fun & games until
someone gains an eye.

Apr 6, 2006

Joe on the Grolier. Like all of Joe's prose, unflinching but full of compassion, like a nearly too-bright light.

It's hard to read too much Torra or Corbett these days (to name but a few) because it makes me miss Boston fiercely.
040606

These are the tiny hours
when the eye pains to roll


& the lung flutters to breathe
when perfectly vertical


pillars of light are searching
the unoccupied places


for those who go, shriven
into the stain of a crowd


when weary blades are cutting
strange shapes in the corners


of the air

Apr 5, 2006

01:02:03 04/05 '06

Make it the foretold
shimmer in the random numbers

Looping coriolis usurped
by the columns of belief

To not want it to be
a face out of static

The static is the blood
To at last listen to the trilling

words & their equations
To not be not raining when

it rains, the air in
the nesting codes the

winking cord of the pendulum
of sleep, the brazen lights

& the motion, the glyphs
of kelp & hairs & the splattering

Make it stalactites
of hindsight--such bliss

as is running
eyes closed

Apr 4, 2006

040406

Lightbulb reflection
on the window makes
a 2nd moon when this one
is new.

Hekate's upturned breasts
on the grubby page in the silence
of Connecticut.

Blue light pours
from her eyes. Her spine
is a waterspout of words.

In hexagonal phalanxes
the drugs that still
the lunar speech.
The veils lift at intervals,
decades. Yes OK
I will learn
to inhabit myself.