poetry

The Object in Community: a manifesto

  1. Collect objects, i.e. nouns.
  2. Construct sentences.
  3. Sentences obligate the objectsto do something.In a given example of my own writingthe objects “would” be doing something.I am therefore obligated to considerwhy they are not doing these things.Or perhaps I only obligate the readerto consider why they do not do these things.
  4. Likewise when an object “is” doing somethingone may be more likelyto consider all that the object “is not” doing.
  5. If I am active in my not doingis that to say that I amthinking?
  6. Make a list of sentencesin which an objector a collection of objectsdo or do not do things,commit or do not commit actions.
  7. Words are objects, i.e. individuals.
  8. Sentences are objects, i.e. individuals.
  9. Alphabetic letters are objects, i.e. individuals.
  10. Words and sentences both thenare communities.
  11. Communities are collectionsof individuals.
  12. To what extentdo we allow the individualsof our communitiesto be different from one anotheror to be the same.
  13. My own writing attemptsto imitate the community of an individualusing my own self as model.
  14. So we can say that a poem, or pageis a community of sorts,a series of individuals existing in the same place.Or the page can be an individual, or a communitywithin itself, made up of individualseach with their own identity.
  15. In this way, an individual becomes a collectionof other individuals.
  16. This is not a picture of meor a story of mebut let us say that it is.
  17. A close attention to dreaminghas allowed me to make connectionsbetween separate thingsquite easily.
  18. Dreaming allows practicefor making connectionsbetween objects, events, people, actions.
  19. This negates, I think, a tendency toward the lawof cause and effectbecause one begins to seethat one thingrelates to any thing.
  20. And therefore, when two individuals find themselvesto be in relationship, this relationship, although differentis not uniquefor one finds oneself, eventuallyto be in relationship to each one, always.
  21. I must be living my life around the poem.Poems feel like parts of things orcollections of things. A syllable feels heavy.I stop to breathe when one line doesn’t extend so far to the rightas the next.
  22. Move syllables. Try to remember weight.
  23. “Just as a motion picture is actually a series ofpictures, so a poem is a series of poems.”“Since sequences (even those we call syntax) implyconsequences, they also provoke concern—theyexcite the sense that there is meaning or the desireto make meaning.” –Lyn Hejinian
  24. Anne Waldman saysthat you can read Kim’s workforward or backwardand it will do the same thing.
  25. How arbitrary can a sequence be?We should note herethat Anne’s observation does not considerthe possibility of cut-up, i.e. sequence matters.
  26. One tends to be less concerned with the collection of individualsthan with which individual stands next to whichin a given collection.
  27. So let us assumethat the poem will only be a list of sentencesin which each sentence is an individualthat will have necessary consequencesupon its neighbor.
  28. To what extentdo we allow the neighborsof our communitiesto be different from one anotheror to be the same.
  29. If the audience were always the sameI could continue on with the next part of the story.But old friends walk awayand sometimes never come backand therefore can never be entrustedto contain a story that would be me.
  30. This is not a picture of meor a story of mebut we are saying that it is.
  31. And I can never be trusted to tell a single storyas that to which I am speakingis not always the same.
  32. To what extentdo we allow an individualof a given communityto be different from itselfor to be the same.
  33. The bulldogs of Harry Mathew’s SelectedDeclarations of Dependence make me laugh.Each right hand page contains the same bulldog.Shade varies but I am convincedthat it is the same bulldog on each page.
  34. In this conviction I ignore the differencebetween the representation of the thing andthe thing itself. That isassuming that this is the representation ofa real bulldog.But perhaps it is only the representationof an idea ofthe universal bulldog.
  35. So we must assume that in repetitionMatthew’s bulldogsbecome at once both representation of the thingand the thing itself.
  36. Gertrude Stein proposes by the example of “a roseis a rose is a rose is a rose” that it is on the fourth repetitionthat the rose becomes otherthan what one would normally take it to be.
  37. Gertrude Stein also owned a series of poodlesand gave the name “Basket” to each.
  38. Thus repetition and variation.Each Basket is a new thingalthough it carries the same title.
  39. It takes awhile for repetition to become funny.
  40. Harry Mathews’ bulldogs make me laugh.
  41. It is a very heady laugh. Repetition is funny.To say that something is funnyis to say that it has meaning.
  42. Repetition is a simple wayof extending relationshipsbeyond the one on one.We can see quite readily when repetition is present.
  43. Can story function on the level of form then?
  44. Bob Doto notices that seeing the eventover and over again on the TVallows him a desirefor the next disaster.
  45. A man in a coffee shop agrees.Says this is the natural progressionof the human mindwhen you set it on a story line.
  46. To what extentdo we expect the individualsof our communitiesto make storiesof themselves.
  47. To what extentdoes the assumption of storyrequire an individualof a given communityto be different from itselfor to be the same.
  48. To what extentdoes the telling of a storydetermine an individual’smovementthrough its community.
  49. What constraints does the story of a communityimpose upon its citizens?
  50. What can a single sentence doto change the story?
  51. The heated argument of Andy Warhol,as portrayed by David Bowie, in the film “Basquiat”:“It’s in New York.”“It’s in New Jersey.”“It’s in New York.”“It’s in New Jersey.”“It’s in New York.”To which Andy finally replies:“Oh, I didn’t know that,did you Bruno?”
  52. To suddenly reenter an argument as thoughyou had never participated in the first place.
  53. How does one forgetthe momentum of the story?
  54. How does one remember the individualitself a collection of individualsthat allows the movement through the story?
  55. A story is a succession of stories.
  56. Stories are told by communitiesand by individuals who are in themselvescollections of individuals.
  57. Words tell stories.
  58. Sentences tell stories.
  59. The text has an opportunityat the end of every sentenceat the end of every wordat the end of every letter evento choose what it did not plan to choose.
  60. Change, then, happenson the level of the individualeven when that individualis a collection of individuals.
  61. How can the individual remember itself in the tellingof the story?
  62. Words on a page represent actionwhere there is no action.
  63. When the citizens of the languagehide themselvesfor the sake of the story then,does the text remain the terrain of the mind?
  64. The physical individualsexisting within the textare the citizens of the language,i.e. words, sentences, alphabetic letters.
  65. Story is only an idea conveyedby these citizens.
  66. Story can only be held up by these citizens.
  67. How is the individual to know itselffrom that in which it moves?
  68. How is the individualto know its own borderswithout bumping up againstsomething solid?
  69. This is not a picture of meor a story of mebut we have said that it isso let us say it.

Here is a poem:

I would sit in the sun if there were some.
And there was some.
If there were some grass it would not be a lemon.
A lemon would be placed on a metal chair.
The metal would be not iron. Maybe.
And I would be chain smoking the snow.
The grass would be melting the sun.
And the lemon would be going slowly.
The universe would be this.
Every part moves slowly.
The sun would situate the trees.
The lemon would spread through the trees.
The lemon would spread.
And I would be not yellow.