Municipalismo heterogéneo! vs. The Penal Code of the Empire

Municipalismo heterogéneo! vs. The Penal Code of the Empire

2014 Gloucester, MA San Francisco, CA

Polis: a Journal Published by the Polis Arts Alliance

Edited by James W. Cook Zachary Vincent Martin Contributing Editor: Josie Schoel

Cover Images by Stevens Brosnihan Editorial Crrespondence should be sent to poliseyes.editors@gmail.com

Pollis Blog: http://polismag.wordpress.com/

Copyright 2014 All rights revert to authors upon publication

Joel Sloman
Look out the window with snow blowing in the lamplit dark. I wish, will I ever wish again, in the cold and dark, the dark filled with warm music, warm but dark, ever dark. And I wished for dark, maybe not, as long as it was filled with music. Then going outside in the cold, and up the street, snow lamplit, without music, without warmth, only feelings of desolation, liking them, thinking it was an indulgence, all this darkness, but liking it, stopping other things to listen to music, also dark and desolate. Back in what wasn’t a home really,


with no hope, but liking feeling no hope, except expecting to get out of it after the music finishes, the whole life as it was ending, and ordinary life starting, with grayer music, colder music, but milder weather. 12/22/11



Michael Peters
Mythreal Slabs From A Morphological Image Operator
1.) FIRST VERSED: IN A VERSION OF WHAT MIGHT BE HAPPENING sing psalmishly “birdy birdy birdy” sing some astronauts into white suits floating on a glass lens Adam, Seth, and Nod’s to all the hinterlands seen below & terrestrial magneticisms alters dreams into names like Maryanne who’s pulling on her long white gloves over her long white arms to arouse in thermals all aflutter over blue-mountain’d stacks 2.) HERE. ANOTHER VERSION OF WHAT COULD BE HAPPENING tsk, tsk, that crazy white bird [ Enters in dramatis atmospherics— a partial sum of an imaginary landscaper—cut with Q-tipp’d scalpel. ] with a blistering outbreak of eyes adhering to its sof-feathered underbelly lit up in bulbous white, an ark-keeling ichor in steam, vapor, and fog while those eyes, a rash, festering, opening now, into the dark . spheres? must they be kept in the uncertainty of orbits curving about ( ? thereupon is an unknown landscape, see below ( ? 3.) EYES; BUT CLOSE-UP ON THE SCENIC MECHANICS TAKING PLACE its god-like pupils are black black and dilating as white eyelids come sliding, come calving apart and the night-seer knows its glacial, starry-bodied erosions are realms suns, in the black sky of nothing but black truth hydrogenating, seething from this into this: Its fiery helium’s while snow-capped mountains w/hot orange secrets under it, melt 4.) FURTHERINGS OF THE DETAILS IN THE ÆFFECTS OF THESE IMAGES then, these should be, or must-be, the eyes of old rocks opening themselves in their dark geologic drifting to stare back widening its orange memory beneath the starry psalmed bird burning up its air into vapors, into clouds—[gasp.] the water cycle a parachute-like drag enveloping data structures in downfalls so —precipitous, so humid you cannot see in the vaporizer’s cloak but with tensile stringed things we cling to the items of our desire 5.) SERIOUSLY OVERLOOKED SENSAE OF ALIGHTING OPERATIONS ( climatologists & meteorologists attempting to heal the great dyadic rift of now & then, argue regarding the sensuality of this organism’s breathing musculature & in the carbon deluge, third persons and all the vacant shoppers


cannot see the flocks of Maryanne’s sisters in four smoldering shades of eye liners & shadows in swoop & flit above parking lots between sky scrapers; flocks! Flocks, clenching delicate branches in their-whitened teeth like thin paper handles on shopping bags fully laden with delicacies for their emaciated souls ) 6.) ON THE EXTREMITY IN THE MYSTERY OF YET ANOTHER VARIATION the bird, the bird in wingéd & inverse cups air into an unclutter’d lift with brightness & contrast—with all the wanton graphic functions “Lift, lift. Lift up the landscaping arrangements,” the psalmist intoned the sod drapes flown down to meet black rock graphite marry’d on to white paper spoken out loud— “Pull up. Pull up your icy gloves,” the psalm demands—that it should! That all should start out as a soft organ does—with a delicate pulse bloodnote held down to vibrate, where something like that notes flight is something you cannot put your finger on 7.) THE SACRED SPIN TO OUR OLD GLOBO AS IT IS NOW—TEMPEST Postel, Postel, Postel, Guillaume Postel, heave the heaven’d ice you are your script-ur’d land landmade sacred, for karst allmighty— pours us, poor porous us, for the ice of our sacred poles now anoints the long long shore of our distended geography—see the black keys? Longshoremen sing on slabb’d lands still written-on, still holding down to note black-eyed nebulae fix’d in on us thrua an eye to hurricane us What is this instrument measuring the organ’s now? 8/ WHAT A VERSION’S MIGHT MAKE THE VERSIONS MAKE RIGHT . watery, history, life-like, hylopathy in forms is all terrestrial memory, some frothy, white-capped Atlantis landfill sum’d to it, to raise the earth from its landscapers’ drowning by death to hold down a more wholier hydrography, the uplifter uplifting its own-sung imagery—that it could could be! that maybe a large area is to be labeled “paradise”—and is surfacing whereto plant seed-branches from the white-gloved teeth of light E is on them, the mmm, for there really is a place for that to grow on from


THENONE ( 0/1 & 1/0 )
(for Kate Tarlow Morgan)


How? the front one moves and the others follow


On Hans Poelzig’s stage the hard wood extending into the night & the camera pans to the right to see the sea of mannequin legs w/their heads &naked abdomens deep in the soft seating filling the aisles and aisles as their long, creamskin-legs, en pointe sprout up from bulbous hips the red curtain under the golden star a flowering chandelier


[It’s me O lord] with red tongues on the title page the none, then one see the flickering frontispiece? study for an earth, in stages —this en pointe end is up for the nomad series but periodic, & aperiodic keepers of it keep go-ing making dream horses come true


Come on in on what on earth? cf. this piece, this chant vector’d chart of the en-tranced maiden bird flyover in all its bewildering beauty when you are not




a boy with a kite the line cuts in on soft paper—pagination sky landing seawater drifterer starlight wood. And to thrill the psychologists of ecstasy there is the engraving: Nontum Myathet engraving a Myathet Tree with the word for the unknown word

0/1 & 1/0 < about:blank

I mean the psycho-etym I mean, words mean themselves & save you all from the black noth swarm of text’d bytes & the making of godlamb shapes in relations errhalten golemer dwelling unknown landscapesall is the Lüftlmalerei we’re making it’s me, always me a portrait of me (improved) appear appear appear whatever your shape and name

land bequeather? this narrative is growing deeper and wider @the height of the abyss probability and inference, with which either or neither nor only two can play at this game & must be published as keys to the opener


all by the same, author’d, haven given up both are most basic logic: What you are by what you are not A mythic IEEE: beowulf, anubis, charon, et al, et cetera playfair with the matryrs blood playfair when drawing the myth the hum of the bulk ingestor the grind of the navir flurformen arise and if the earth blooms into cloudblue curves my feet are a goddamn placenta to exercise it push on the ground with your feet reaching with your rendering head and hands and arms and knees—feel the taut pull? spill me out & give me way my feet are a placenta push up & let your head out flurformen arise the earth does bloom into cloudblue curves push up & look out pull up & burst through not Flammarion-like, but getting out my feet are a goddamn placenta let the nerve endings dangle & then, graft back on dangle & graft back on, I repeat with my head in the big topological I, blinking with starry’d eyes in flickering white dwarf dust I can see and feel them both—then one and then none I know now that I am from the planet forkitron I have tynes & with radiance from these carpals & with the thumb of language I am born into I can grasp this corposant point


all is Lavoisier all is Marconi’s waves the stars are everywhere even below me



David Rich
Newman Shea notes for Polis
“Life, for a Gloucester fisherman, is one damned blessed race after another.” -Newman Shea Boston Daily Globe October 24, 1920 Newman Shea was born on March 24, 1880, in Ingonish, Nova Scotia, a fishing town on the northeast coast of Cape Breton, son of James and Jane. Family historians have his ancestor, Walter Shea, emigrating from Carrick-on-Suir to Antigonish before the American Revolution. He emigrated to Gloucester, Massachusetts, before 1910, with his brothers Austin and Edward. As Captain Seymour Harnish said, “There was no money in Nova Scotia then. There wasn’t enough money to wash your face.” In 1912, he married Mabel Somers. For the rest of his life his home was the rear unit at 5 Mt. Vernon Street. In 1906, the four largest Gloucester fish firms — Slade Gorton, John Pew, D.B. Smith, and Reed and Gamage — combined to form the mega-company Gorton-Pew Fisheries, which owned a fleet of fishing schooners, fish processing facilities, and the means to distribute. Gorton-Pew went on to acquire Cunningham and Thompson, Shute and Merchant, and G.H. Perkins. In Gloucester, during the Gilded Age, fishermen had to cover from their cut of the catch-proceeds the maintenance of the owner’s vessel, which meant fishermen had to pay for the cleaning, repairing, and general upkeep of the owner’s schooner, tarring and hanging the owner’s seine boats, the cost of oil, tow bills, repair of the owner’s engine, replacement of lost or damaged gear, and the purchase of a foghorn for the owner. Fishermen even had to “rent” the fishing lines they used from the owner, at the cost of tenpercent their cut. The most apt parallels to this arrangement were to be found in cotton share-cropping, or coal-mining. The New England Coast Fishermen’s Union, later the Fishermen’s Union of the Atlantic, affiliated with the American Federation of Labor from the outset, was founded in July, 1915, by Boston fisherman, and former whaler, William H. Brown, for the purpose of effecting “radical changes in the present methods of operation and payment.” Quickly, Newman Shea rose to become business agent for the Union. In February, 1917, the Union had grown, and presented its grievances and demands that owners share in expenses; they were stone-walled by the largescale corporate owners, run at that time by absentee directors. A fishing strike, the first of its kind, was set for March 1. Before the strike started, the Portuguese, represented by their own Lisbon Beneficial Association, cut a deal with the owners; throughout the strike, they remained engaged in the shore fishery. The first five Gloucester schooners to haul up and refuse to fish were the A. Piatt Andrew, Robert and Richard, Natalie Hammond, Elsie, and Thomas S. Gorton. Lenten season was upon Catholic New England, and the master mariners, none of whom would agree to be named, grumbled to the press that the common


fishermen were well-paid, despite receipts showing men were earning as little as twenty-five dollars for a dangerous mid-winter trip to the North Atlantic fishing banks. One week into the strike, forty vessels were tied up. Newman Shea told a Gloucester reporter “it was a case of hanging together, just as the members of the union were doing.” “The union,” said Shea, “wants to have the entire situation settled for all times.” By the end of March, 1917, Brown and Shea announced that the membership had voted for general strike: gillnetters and beam trawlers were called out. Portuguese fishermen from Provincetown arrived at Boston to man vessels tied-up by the strike; a show of force by Union picketers turned them away. In Gloucester, picketers patrolled the waterfront day and night to prevent company-owned schooners from sailing. March 26, 1917: Newman Shea announced that gillnetters and beam trawlers would go back out, as a show of good-will. Joseph Mesquita, captain of the schooner Joseph P. Mesquita, previously tied up by the strike, left Gloucester to haddock with a new, all-Portuguese crew. Next evening, City Council, which had no power to arbitrate, listened to state representative Frederick H. Tarr, who doubled as lawyer for local fish firms, announce that his clients might be willing to concede on what he called trivial matters. Newman Shea rebutted Tarr, stating that not one of the fish firms given notice of the strike, and the strikers’ demands, had replied or entered into negotiation. Unitarian minister Bertram Boivin preached war preparedness, and cultivating the habit of obedience. March 31, 1917: Gorton-Pew fish-handlers walked off the job; the next afternoon, at Gloucester City Hall, a mass meeting of organized labor was called to order: James Duncan, Vice President of the American Federation of Labor, Ignatius McNulty, agent of the Boston building trades council, William H. Brown and Newman Shea, of the New England Coast Fishermen’s Union, were slated to speak. April 1, 1917: It was the largest mass meeting of organized labor ever gathered in Gloucester. Only union members were allowed in, and the hall was packed: a crowd of the curious was turned away. “It’s a case of a showdown,” said William H. Brown, “between the fishermen and skippers and owners. We are on the level and all we ask for is justice.” Someone handed a letter to Newman Shea when he entered the hearing. It was a flat refusal of all the Union’s demands. Sunday night, April 8, 1917: Forty-one men armed with leather grips and revolvers boarded a special car attached to the 9:45 PM commuter train from Boston. Calls came from North Station; Newman Shea, alerted early, gathered a crowd of fishermen and sympathizers at the Gloucester Depot. The strikebreakers were to meet resistance even as they tried climbing down the train steps. But the strikebreakers had calls of their own: word circulated through conductors; the strikebreakers got off one stop early in West Gloucester, but the bus and cars idling by the track couldn’t hold them all. About half approached Gloucester on foot.


The rail-car came to Gloucester empty. Only commuters stepped down from the train: the crowd parted. The half which ran to the Blynman Bridge were too late to stop the bus of strikebreakers, which careened over the canal; all they could do was hurl stones which bounced harmlessly off the side. 11PM, Pew Wharf: brandishing pistols in the moonlight, strikebreakers scared their way to their rendezvous; but the crowd followed after. Hundreds risked a stray shot to corral the strikebreakers into the Pew Wharf fish-dryer; and then risked gunfire again to heave the heavy, wooden doors off their iron hinges, and rush the armed imports, who huddled behind fish piles, their gun barrels over the top, like men in the European trenches. The strikebreakers were paraded down Main Street to Union HQ, relieved of their weapons and presented to Newman Shea. “Business Agent Newman Shea addressed the men, and told them that the fishermen were playing fair, and that no attempt would be made to molest the men.” “Another strikebreaker who said he supposed he was coming here to guard a private estate, as he was told, slipped away from the bunch and handed his revolver to Business Agent Shea.” In response to the attack, Brown and Shea called a general strike, pulling every union-man off the job from New York City to Eastport, Maine. April 11, 1917: Frank W. Adams, formerly of Gloucester, but employed as representative for a New York “detective agency,” met with Gloucester City Council to offer a squad of seventy-five armed, New York men to patrol the city; to their credit, councilors refused to enter into such negotiations. Word spread, however, that Adams was to be seen at the main office at Gorton-Pew Fisheries; a crowd of several thousand massed spontaneously, jamming Main Street, and surrounding a Gorton-Pew limousine. Local police made a show of requesting the crowd disperse, but in vain. An hour passed, the crowd remained: the local newspaper reported Adams had hid in a Gorton-Pew cellar. Finally, Newman Shea arrived. Adams may have been humiliated, but spontaneous crowds threatening life and property only served the argument that Gloucester required lockdown under a private army, since the police force, made up of former fishermen, was unable, or unwilling, to curtail crowd action. Newman Shea ascended the Gorton-Pew limousine, leaving white scratches, and planted his feet on it; in a loud, clear voice, according to the paper, he addressed the massive gathering. “I don’t blame him,” he started, “I wouldn’t blame any man for not wanting to come out here and be crucified.” “Now,” Shea continued, “I want to ask you men, as men, if you will give this man protection if he comes out and shows himself and will allow him to go on his way. Do you know what his thing means if it continues? It means martial law, that’s what it means.” Congress and Wilson declared war. A government arbitration board got the Union and corporate owners to agree to a provisional truce that would last until war’s end. As promised, when armistice was declared, hostilities resumed. June 21, 1919: the re-organized Fishermen’s Union of the Atlantic threatened to strike over low prices; fish prices were abnormally low, and gear, ice, and overall cost of living high. The Union called for a price-floor, a guaranteed minimum price for fish; men risked life, worked twenty-four hour shifts, and


were seeing nothing — or, worse, debt — for their trouble. But the Attorney General called a minimum price for fish price-fixing, and a criminal act. As a result, 3,000 to 4,000 men walked away from their owners vessels. Of all New England ports, only Gloucester, and in particular the Gorton-Pew Fisheries Company, refused to sign onto the temporary minimum price tables announced on August 15, 1919. Fast forward: Boston Daily Globe, September 23, 1923: Gloucester Man Plans Cooperative System of Marketing to Make Fishing Pay and Also Make Food Cheaper September, 1923, two million pounds mackerel — “luscious, fat mackerel” — landed in Gloucester, Boston and other New England ports, the largest bounty of mackerel in thirty years; following a dry spell of two months, with mackerel scarce, the glut came: more fish than could be processed and sold. Prices dropped: owners were selling their catch at a cent-and-a-half per pound, if they were lucky others “went begging,” scrounged for any price they could get. Mackerel, pegged at a price too low to profit from, rotted on the wharves. What should have been a boon sank fishermen further into debt. “Newman Shea, local agent of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Union, has given deep and serious consideration to the problem. He has seen the average earnings of these toilers of the sea sink below living conditions. He has seen the breed of fishermen running out, for no young man will be attracted to such a hazardous business which entails so much risk and labor, and he has sought a remedy.” Newman Shea saw his answer in California fruit: strawberries refrigerated in rail cars, sent to warehouses, shipped cross-country. Eastern markets for Western produce. The Chicago meat industry stabilized by a similar method of “scientific” and “cooperative” marketing. Mackerel, haddock, codfish, halibut to be likewise refrigerated, released to market through a chain of retail marts cooperatively owned through the Union, fed by Union-owned cold-storage warehouses, in turn receiving fish from New England via refrigerator rail, utilizing infrastructure put in place in alliance with similar cooperative movements nation-wide. Fish would be thawed and released to market at regular intervals: a steady, living-wage for fishermen; a steady, affordable price for consumers. “Elimination of Middleman One of Avowed Objects” “Coolidge Commends Cooperative Plan” “A Labor Union Takes a Hand in Sales Problem of an Industry” “Minute Men of New England Fishing Industry Seek Way to Prosperity by Cooperation” “Co-operative Selling of Fish Expected to Boom Gloucester” Shea had a plan to eliminate middle-men fish dealers: in emulation of the radical, Newfoundland Fishermen’s Protective Union, a combination labor union and political party, which chartered the Fishermen’s Union Trading Company for the purpose of cooperative marketing, and selling gear and supplies to fishermen at cost, Shea devised the Fishermen’s Purchasing Company: “Everything having to do with the outfitting of a vessel, provisioning, rigging, the buying of trawls, nets and fishing gear, bait, dories, engines, soil, salt — in fact, all things that go aboard a vessel — are to be bought by a central purchasing agency and sold to the fishermen at cost.” Shea’s plan cut out fish-dealers; Shea’s plan cut out gear-sellers: combined with cooperative marketing and cold-storage, fishermen stood to gain, for the first


time, economic powers of self-determination. Market fluctuation, rampant commodities speculation on New England fish, were to be a bygone thing. “The preliminary steps have already been taken. Last September the Fishermen’s Purchasing Company was organized with an authorized capitalization of $100,000 for just such a purpose. Buildings have been secured here and in several months it is expected that the scheme will be in operation.” Newman Shea, President; William H. Brown, Vice President; Henry Wise, Secretary and Treasurer. But it went wrong. The California scheme, the Chicago meat stabilization, were owner-cooperatives, not worker-cooperatives; California growers, not fruit-pickers, had entered into a combine; so had Chicago stockyard proprietors, not the killing-floor and warehouse workers. Shea, Brown, and Wise had to sway smallscale owners, the skippers who owned their own vessel, a single vessel they themselves captained: to a man, during the strikes of 1917 and 1919, they had sided, not with the Union, but with the megacompany fish firms; they identified with the ownership class, despite how low, how precariously, they fit into that class. A year later, Shea and Brown were still holding meetings with owner-skippers, trying to convince them to sign an exclusive contract, to sell their fish through the Union; the Union, having already committed funds to secure warehouses, rail-line deals, retail space, was financially wrecked. The Union’s weakness was laid bare; it was crippled, fish-firms saw water stained with blood: never again did the Fishermen’s Union of the Atlantic win a strike; all was failure, pay-cut, reversed gain. In 1925, Newman Shea, with nothing to fall back on, had to start from scratch: he signed up, where he had begun in life, a Gloucester fisherman. First Epilogue: Newman Shea died on-board the Gloucester swordfish schooner Theresa and Dan, which was spending the winter working the coast of North Carolina; he died of a heart attack, December 17, 1936, six months after his encounter, on the swordfish schooner Doris M. Hawes, with aspiring poet Charles Olson. Newman Shea was 55 years, 8 months, and 22 days old. Second Epilogue: The archive of the Fishermen’s Union of the Atlantic, the Fishermen’s Purchasing Company, and Shea’s attempt to form a fishermen’s cooperative, is stored with the Henry Wise Papers at Harvard University’s Law School Library. Third Epilogue: Since Newman Shea died fishing, his name appears on a bronze plaque, part of a series which flanks the Fisherman at the Wheel statue on Gloucester’s Stacy Boulevard. His name is misspelled.


Ryan Gallagher
Good Friday
A hammer comes down on a piggy bank. Smash. Pink ceramic shards float like a butterfly and

lean like

Nefertiti. Mariposa. Sting like a bee. like Cleopatra. I tremble in a soap bubble smashed by a hammer—— No I am not the Virgin of Guadalupe either. I am the rain, sweet Jane, pass me that piece of the Pentecost. Sing

Orange Poem
I’d bring my oranges to Florida and I’d bring you to Stockholm and I’d bring you to San Francisco too and I’d bring my maracas


with me, of course my favorite color

is cadmium orange

loneliness loneliness you make me draw dizzy circles.

Fuckin’ A Poem
Like writing bubbles in cursive and then crossing it out shit happens, and then came foreign mercenaries in the green Zone Abu Ghraib Babe. Mama didn’t raise you to be no slam pig so go get all ‘gassed up’ and inaugurate me, inaugurate you. Fuckin A’ this shit’s gotta stop. Slow down for a while and just-—



Insomnia Poem
If a pig sucked a lemon & spit juice in your face, and maybe if Mary Magdalene licked your nihilistic grace, then you could pleasure my measure better than hawks or horses be; then blunt the earth devour her teeth. I am a lover of nuns; my breath is rippled full of simple syrup and fresh mint—— it can be overwhelming to consider existence at such a late hour.

Poem That Ends With Grace
How on earth could a mermaid become a mermother?—— I can’t quite find the logistics of practicing religion in good faith. I tell this to you so that you


will conquer kings and piñatas with nihilistic fervor and it will feel fantastic. Fuck it. Firemen don’t cry—— and neither do spies and remember that cotton balls and butter can never replace the lace in your face.


Ruth Lepson
‘yes it seems the miracle was prevented by the establishment, not to”
yes it seems the miracle was prevented by the establishment, not to mention the church itself. on sundays the farmers arrived & stared at the stained glass, then returned to fields of wheat where they belonged. they tried & tried & then they died. I told them, stop on saturday look at the road determine what philosophy holds, if anything, for you. they said no. they refused to talk. they went away but they were content. so what did anyone know then? nothing till buddha came along with his un-package. he says every day is getting better & better. this summer finally am turning my attention to fields books silence quirks & leaving them alone.

“the painter’s turning his head back and forth, in collaboration with the”
the painter’s turning his head back and forth, in collaboration with the visible as if he were watching a tennis match in talk, in art, two things going on two languages, one of love and one of noticing each a pleasure. they happen together then there’s the sky something bigger than a mother or father comes on it turned my heart to hurting that old poem she read though in a contemporary voice the ineffable slides away I needed to say what I saw love is happy talking says stop all that you have happy is the middle of the day no purple dusk no triple play just


blond dust, justice driftwood of paradise— detritus ice “Only poetry can attend to the untended as the untended, essentially leaving it alone....”* In 1620 Japanese Christians were forced to stomp on paintings of Jesus—many chose death instead. Strange for a Jew to contemplate, though I idealized you. as if life were a séance— I was always conjuring someone put me in a knot embroider red language and I’m hot wish I could take pictures of people in their cars as I rounded the corner the bare tree unfolded like the skeleton of a fan semaphore clouds words handwritten on the page a barbed wire fence breezes discombobulate trees like seaweed in the sea and what I don’t need or love I gradually shed I remember remembering closed eyes, thoughts read from left to right behind her painting of his fence and trees I saw the poet walking in his garden not even a cigarette


no big view just a little space little time glance over time wrenched my neck corral lines of words to tease the meaning out dried delphinium the sun’s the third eye of the world sounds of the truck won’t appear in my painting

*from Jonathan Skinner’s “Thoughts on Things: Poetics of the Third Landscape”


James Dunn
For Amanda
You knitted the moon And left a trail of wool Across the night harbor waters All the way home The untold joy and pain Swirled in the clouds Surrounding your face In lunar delight Barroom blues Monday night A needled moon Against the darkness Of doom.

For Bill
Bill you blustery bear But I was stubborn honey With the prerequisite bees And the sting was so sweet.


For Mike
There was that one time We both had blank stares On our washed faces Waiting and wishing for someone To write their hopes and dreams Across our minds in musical notes It never arrived. Mind out of time. I named your book but I am not big on titles.

For Willie
Music in your eyes As you look heavenwards To examine the crazy architecture Of downtown Beverly buildings Built in the burgeoning era Of the shoe You have an eye for such things And an ear for the guffaw of the gulls Pinwheeling in the ocean sky Boogie and woogie Keep you fit in fine fettle Under the silver tinkling of the stars.


Dorothy Shubow Nelson
For Lily, She would sleep during the day and rise to heaven in the still night I reach back to remember her and the graceful migrating cranes This sacred patch of land and water detached from human hands But to guarantee a place to land, a place to fly away from To reduce the disturbances to migratory waterfowl during peak Migration Sandhill Crane Arctic Geese and more So they can descend, as they have flown in chevron flight Together raised by the wings of other birds pulse of earth As she breathed from the life of daughters the scent The face, feel of bones and cheek nose and lips One gives life to another, the social nature of creatures Note how the birds change places the ones in front Fall back when they are tired formation allows them to Glide saves energy helps communication keeps track There are no lone gulls in the Bosque Del Apache Lowering at dusk by the thousands, lifting at dawn They sleep in water safe from coyotes marauders She sleeps near daughters who guard her passage


blue cloth little icons grasshoppers

parrots and jugs

give one the only a chance take it to the end take her in blue cloth little icons grasshoppers

parrots and jugs sun on the patio flower beds save the water for the whales cups of java close the golf courses deck turf with holly

stuff the holes with Easter eggs

take your waste and dump it in your back yard one and a half seconds from ecstasy once around is not enough




Donald Wellman
Translations from Jardín cerrado by Emilio Prados
The poems here are from Book III of Jardín cerrado, translated by Donald Wellman as Enclosed Garden. The first editor of Prados’s book, Juan Larea, wrote words to the effect that the promise of the poetry of Spain had to redeem itself through exile in Mexcio in order to realize its true flowering in Prados’s baroque intricacies. In 1937, Edna St. Vincent Millay published her translation of a poem by Prados, “The Arrival (To Garcia Lorca)” in Spain Sings. Since that time, little attention has been paid to his work by readers of English. In Spain he is thought to be next to Lorca with respect to the depth of his song. Born in Málaga in 1899, he was a student at the Residencia where Lorca, Buñuel and Dali among others also studied. Later he studied philosophy in Freiburg. In the 1920s with the collaboration of Manuel Altolaguirre he edited and published Litoral, a journal that helped to define the Generation of 1927 (Cernuda, Aleixandre, Guillén, Alberti, among others). A Marxist, he taught the sons of fishermen how to set type for Litoral and for Imprenta Sur. A platonic vision of homoerotic love seems to have been formative with respect to his personality. He was also reclusive and Solitude became his mistress. Prados died in exile in Mexico in 1962. His poetry reflects the loss of homeland and a beautiful gentleness of spirit.

Bridge of my solitude: in the waters of my death your eyes will grow quiet. I keep my body so full of that which is lacking in my life, that until death, overcome, it seeks in it its consolation. That’s why, in order to die, I will have to throw inwardly the anchors of my life. And I carry a world at my side as if it were an empty suit and another world is kept in me for the sake of the world where I live. That’s why, in order to live, I will have to throw


inwardly the anchors of my death. Bridge of my solitude: through the eyes of my death your waters run toward the sea, to the sea from which there is no return.


In the field of oblivion, I await you there, solitude. I wear as a sign, a headscarf on my brow: withered like a flower, silence tightly squeezed in my hand, and, my heart is a river bubbling under the moon... The whole field would be tears, solitude, tears and dream... Love: how far away, your wound is about to be lost in time! In the field of my oblivion, where, in order not to die, I sleep.


I am lost in my solitude and in it itself I am found who am so pressed into my very self as the stone is in the fruit. If I look inside of me, what I seek I see so far away, that for fear of not finding it I enclose myself even more within myself. And so, from within and from without, my exile is balanced: within from terror, without, from lack of fear. And between my two solitudes, like a hollow phantom, I live on the edge of my blood, shadow and gage of my desires.


Well I know that on the balance scale that weighs my emotion, where I most press down is on the little pan of fear. But what I seek in it I yearn for in such a way, that I only want to attain it if I may be freed of my body. Today, my solitude suffices, for in it I know what I want, what I have lost through it and what I have in it.


Tom King
So, if I dream I have you, I have you. So, if I dream I have you, I have you. Nothing in that drawer. Nothing in that drawer. I have nothing, so I dream: if “you” I have “you” in that drawer. In the high seat, before-dawn dark, In the high seat, before-dawn dark, And like a thunderbolt he falls. And like a thunderbolt he falls. A thunderbolt and dark like the high seat. Before dawn, he falls in. Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings, Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings, In dreams of lists, compiled by my self. In dreams of lists, compiled by my self. Chestnut of finches’ fire compiled my fresh dreams by wings. Self in coal lists, falls. I have finches’ lists in that drawer. I compiled chestnut wings by falls. I dream of a fresh self so if You like the thunderbolt before dawn, He falls in the dark fire seat. You have nothing in my dreams’ coal.

I am from Colorado and the dry hot land of Colorado. I mow lawns in Colorado. Come and mow with me in Colorado.


Derek Fenner
from I No Longer Believe in the Northern Lights: Love Letters to Sarah Palin
Dear Sarah, I don’t believe in the Northern Lights. I’ve been feeling this pressure coming on, and I dream a dream of trees colored by fall in Owensboro, Kentucky—robust patches on a palette that only a cloudy sky can provide. It’s hard to believe in sunny days when there are so many of them. I’m looking out, steering clear of all non-sequiturs, pushing toward a sublime that typifies the beauty of your red blazer, Sarah Palin, who I just may love enough to put the stars back in their place in the sky. This is only one part of the I LOVE SARAH MARATHON, where you come in sparkling; a literal gunshot of a woman—all camouflaged out, tight bare arms, and red lipstick. I’m having a hard time these days distinguishing the difference between the road, life, and you, Sarah Palin, who blend all three into one tight, well-armed package that my life revolves around. I am decadent and depraved by the sight of you. I’m searching for the faith in myself to be who I want to be no matter who I was born to be. There’s a secret location where my heart is tonight—on a road sign, on a windy road, east of where I sit right now, and I want to tell you how the stars align for us and that for utopia to exist, I must be taken seriously. But I’ve come to understand the signs and wonders and the likeness of myself that came to be through them. I came through many humiliations be­fore I received the apprehension of a vision. Our generation is fleeting since it does not yet believe in the holy and pure. The world is a place of unfaithful waiting participants. I digress. In the boldness of you, I find not a cloud in the sky. At this point, I realize you are more than just a novelty, my Sarah Palin, I’m smitten, I no longer believe in the Northern Lights. Kisses / Derek


Dear Sarah, I’ve been out of Owensboro now for three days. It is a great sacrifice to leave my hometown to hit the road and tell people from Kentucky to Wasilla what I think about you and how you alone can bring this country back to its rightful place as a spiritual world leader. Owensboro has changed over the years, yet the core of her existence persists into infinity, much like the seeds of hope I plant in my inspiring testimonies to gatherings of active citizens. Don’t worry I’m not toting Tea Party slogans to already believing crowds, chanting, “Sarah will save us!” I’m speaking to the lost and degenerate unwashed masses—poets, artists, anarchists, occultists, gutter punks, gang members, young urban professionals who still wish to be identified as liberal, freemasons, 1st Nation elders and youth, members of radical spiritualist communities, farmers, French-Americans, drunks, druggies, and 12 step members. The list is endless but you get the point, I’m reaching a new base for you as I drive this truck North to our endless embrace. I remember Owensboro as she was, and I know her as she is today. From the Big E and 8 Ball Saloon to ­­­Frederica Street. I’ve walked every inch of that city ten times the first time and my favorite time to ramble along is during the city’s summer International Barbeque Festival. I recall nights that were full and adventurous for less than four dollars—A pint of bourbon at the Brew Thru and a bowl of burgoo from one of those massive black kettles. I have breathed that humid air for many years, faithful to my Commonwealth, even through those turbulent and irrepressible times. I am part of Owensboro—the bar hounds, men in Nixon masks sweeping the streets, Jaycees and Elks marching banners toward their own BBQ stations, destitute widows, orphans, maidens in distress all steeped in a summer wafting of wood smoke. They were my neighbors and welcome compatriots in the bars and honkytonks each night. It was through that camaraderie that I derive all my power and energy to bring the visions I have had to fruition. I have long since realized that the women and men skinning lamb and rabbit in front of their boiling burgoo pots, have led far deeper emotional lives than many Americans would care to have experienced—a truth only apparent on those Kentucky streets by the banks of the Ohio River. It’s from those streets to this hotel room I arrive at each day a warrior in the battle with you Sarah. You are my anchor and my vision of salvation. Something to save us from the doomsday the Mayans predicted with a lazy calendar. With a trembling in my breath / Derek


Geoffrey Nutter
Ships were sailing through the narrow passage straddled by the legs of the colossus. The silver-violet clouds drifted past its shoulders. The head of the colossus lay in a tangled mass of sedge on shore near where the ships were docking. And someone, perhaps a sailor, had placed a ladder up against the tilted head of the colossus. The fallen arm of the colossus rose from the water and glittered in the sun. A tower on the shore looked as old and ruined as a boot in which a hundred orphans live. The children swarmed from the tower. They climbed through the mouth into the head of the colossus.



Zachary Martin
Lost in the Supermarket
The World Grocery Association, W.G.A., closed a few days after Thanksgiving last year and is still a boarded-up, tan, weather-beaten box covered in graffiti and faded community murals, now encased in a chain-linked fence to protect the empty front lot from trespassers. Though the memory of the people who worked there has become more significant to me than our relationship could ever have been said to be, the commonality of their presence in my life contributed to the meaning of place. I only knew a few of them by name, and next to nothing about their lives outside of what they did for a living, so for the most part each of them was designated in my mind by either their physical description, the normal topic of conversation we shared, or the specifics of a particular event. There was the guy who looked like a 1970’s major league relief pitcher—overweight, balding, long blond hair, and blond handlebar mustache—though perhaps this doesn’t describe him as he was in reality, but it does remind me that we mostly talked about baseball and beer. There was clerk with long stringy brown hair and a bright red face who always seemed stressed or very near the verge of a breakdown, and who I once heard talking to another customer, telling her she “hated San Francisco! The whole city is full of freaks and wackjobs! I am glad I don’t have to live here, too.” For reasons I don’t understand, she looked straight at me as she said this, despite the fact that I believed we had always gotten along fine. There are probably just as many people who worked there that I have forgotten, but for a period of about five years, I saw many of them so regularly that I came to expect, and even needed, these trivial interactions as some solid proof of connection to where I was living beyond the mere fact of my invisible consumption of resources. Sally was one of the few employees I did know beyond the vague descriptions I created for them. We were the same age, and though I probably never said anything to her beyond what was customary, she always seemed to initiate a conversation with me, usually by asking questions about the items I was buying. “You know what this reminds me of?” But she didn’t wait for me to respond before she had answered her own question. “Egg foo young.” “Egg foo young?” I asked, confused, not seeing the connection between two blocks of prepackaged, organic, smoked tofu and the fried omelet Chinese dish she had just named. “Yeah, there was this Chinese restaurant my folks always took us to as kids, and my dad always got egg foo young. For some reason this stuff reminds me of that. What is it, anyway?” “It’s smoked tofu.” “Oh…. Is it good?” she asked skeptically, picking up the package of tofu to investigate further. “I like it. I put it in salads or soup sometimes.” “Maybe I’ll try it sometime.” On the way out there was always Edgar, the 6’ 2”, Asian security guard who sometimes helped with bagging if it got busy, but who mostly just stood by the front entrance saying, “Good night, my brother” to everyone as they left. A few weeks before the store closed, this same Edgar collapsed on the floor with a seizure and was taken away in an ambulance, never to be heard from again. Though I had not been there at the time it happened, Sally later told me the story. “He just started shaking and his eyes went back into his head and wham! Down he went.” “Is he epileptic?” I asked. Ever since I had started working in a hospital I had become increasingly aware of what it meant to be mortal.


“We don’t know. The EMTs mentioned it, but he’s never said anything about it to us.” Because none of our lives intersected very much outside of the store, when they did there was always an element of impossibility to the situation. Having little beyond the store to establish ourselves with one another —there was only the fluorescent-lit warehouse environment that constructed the people we were to each other—it was unlikely we would ever have recognized one another. The night I stumbled across an online dating advertisement posted by Sally, I realized the truth of what it was that separated us. I read her listing, accompanied with her photo, stating that she was Christian, and that she was looking for someone to share a life of faith and loving devotion with. As far as online dating ads go, it in no way revealed any personal or intimate details beyond her faith in the divinity of Christ. There was no mention of black leather fetish desires, butt plugs, jelly dongs, group sex, cuckoldry, or outright pornographic photo content; if anything, it was the very opposite of the regular displays of urban hedonism normally expressed on free online social boards. It was as if the tepid nature of her writing only made it all the more awkward due to the real honesty of the thing she had divulged on an anonymous public forum. I read the ad and examined the picture attached to make absolutely positive it was the person I thought it was, and immediately felt ashamed for having done so, almost as if I had stolen a look into her private journal sitting atop the register during a moment she had stepped away to conduct a price check. It was the same shock that school children might feel when they see their teacher out in public in a situation unrelated to their educational environment. Though I was not self-absorbed enough to think any of these people didn’t have lives outside of the roles I knew them in, the habit of clinging to the things we know does not seem to me a mark of individuality. Regardless of what experience and intuition tell us is only one small particle within a myriad of other such details, at the moment when something much more factual appears, people often struggle to adapt the information they have been presented with against the narratives we prefer. Perhaps it isn’t just the matter of any perceived commonality, so much as an unspoken preference for mystery. Though I have no specific vision of what Sally’s life beyond our shared experience might have, I prefer to not see our relationship defined merely by some Aristotelian utility, but instead risk caring about something beyond the immediate material of a general experience. Over the few years I shopped there, Sally moved on to a different location within the same chain and Rosa became the one whose life outside the store intersected with my own. She worked mostly behind the deli-counter, but amid the constant turn-over of co-workers, she was trained and became more frequently asked to work at the front registers. However, unlike with Sally, because Rosa lived on the same block I did, the idea of our unknown lives seemed somewhat more manageable to me regardless of their considerable differences. I often saw Rosa at the Laundromat or just out walking with her husband and two young children. We would talk often enough so that we knew a little bit about each other. Over time, we became familiar enough with each other to inquire how life “is”. Even though I was her customer, she would joke with me, asking me things like why my girlfriend wasn’t with me today. She would say it with a big grin on her face hinting at some meaning not entirely clear to anyone save herself and perhaps her coworkers. “At home.” “She’s a nice girl.” “No, not all the time” I said, teasing back a little with my own esoteric grin. “Sometimes she can be very mean.” “Oh, that’s our secret,” Rosa responded, laughing. That our lives intersected in other ways now leads me to think that rather than an isolated series of interactions, the shared geographical neighborhood shapes the patterns of existence that seemed impossible to recognize the first few years I lived here, but which slowly became my own life, as well. I do not mean


that I also found God or started working at the grocery store. At a certain point, though, I was not just an observer, consuming those products I needed or wanted, but my own routines became as much a part of the landscape as what had existed before I arrived. That I not only shopped in the store these people worked at, but year after year adapted to a practice of life that more closely resembled their own habits and preferences allowed personal myth and geography to merge into a notion of place. Beyond the people who worked there and the convenience of living a block away, there was very little to recommend this place to the memory. The threat that you could pay 40% more than you should for half-and-half that had expired three days before was always real. The first indication of struggle came when the Super Saver chain bought out the W.G.A. Despite the name chang I continued to call it by the name I had always known it as, but beyond that, many of the alterations were appealing to me. In some ways, Super Saver did improve the overall quality of the produce during the time they owned the space, but they were never able to establish a niche for themselves that could not be met by larger, nearby chain stores where prices were often lower. The new ownership attempted to cater to higher income residents in the neighborhood by adding an organic, health food section complete with bulk bins filled with wild grains, nut mixes, protein powders, sugar free gummy candies, and even an entire aisle dedicated to designer bottled water. In doing so they also reduced the number of Latin American products available, and though this is not to say that all of these changes were bad, or inherently antagonistic to anyone one culture or social demographic, on a consumer level, the alteration of product availability did clearly mimic larger social and cultural shifts that were and are taking place throughout the Mission. For the better part of a year before it closed its doors for good, many of the shelves were cleared of items that W.G.A had once abundantly stocked with Goya, Casa Maria, or cuts of meat like brain, tongue, tripe and various segments of ofal that to those who grew up accustomed to the traditional suburban American cuisine, always seemed somewhat barbaric or too old-world for their standardized palettes. But the true sign of trouble might have been the many shelves left bare or lined with reduced price specials too close to, or past their expiration date to sell at full price. As much as I liked some of these changes (especially those made to the in-store music, an eclectic play list of current pop and R&B hits, classic soul and oldies, obscure songs by bands like the Small Faces and Moby Grape, all at the expense of the traditional Mexican ranchero music that was the common soundtrack to W.G.A), their implications were hard to ignore. It was not just a matter of gentrification that ultimately caused the store to go under though, and even without the socio-economic shifts taking place all over the city, the W.G.A. might still have gone under. The store faced a number of different issues, both internal and external, for which there seemed to be no perfect solution. For whatever reason, and in no way unique to this one store or neighborhood, theft had always been a problem that forced management to continually rework store layout in order to discourage. At one point, they installed turnstiles at the entryway to the shopping area, and for a short time they even stationed an extra guard at the door to check the bag of everyone who shopped there. Though none of these systems lasted, either because they proved too cumbersome to maintain or because they alienated customers, management was not being paranoid in their attempts to deal with the issue. On more than one occasion, I witnessed staff chasing after teenagers clutching bottles of flavored vodka inside their jackets running out of the store. Most of them didn’t make it but after one too many of these occurrences, all of the hard liquor, cigarettes, and pharmaceuticals were moved to an enclosed office area that only staff had access to. While this most likely cut down on theft, it also cut down on people buying these items because to do so meant that the cashier had to get a special key, and very likely spend a few minutes helping an indecisive mind find the item they wanted while a long line formed behind the person holding up the works trying to judge the appeal of drinking bourbon or gin. If so, what brand? Knob Creek, Wild Turkey, Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort, Rebel Yell, or if gin, Tanqueray, Gordons, Crystal Lake, or Admiral Pips. During such tense


moments the security guard would pace back and forth nervously as the line grew longer, knowing full well he would not be enough to quell a riot if one erupted, and then, just at the very minute no one could tolerate the wait any longer, another cashier would arrive and redirect half the line to the newly opened register. Perhaps because they knew me enough to tell me the truth, the employees who had worked there the longest were the first to show the signs of anxiety, but over time the stress of steadily decreasing shopper volume began to take its toll on everyone. When the end finally came it was only with a short, almost relieved, last breath. Just days before the last time I would ever step foot in the store again, Rosa asked me why I didn’t come as much anymore. “Because there is no food to buy. They’ve replaced everything that used to be here with bottled water.” “I know,” she agreed and quickly changed the subject. “How’s your girlfriend?” “She’s good. How is your family?” “Good.” Along with everyone else who worked there, I stopped seeing Rosa after the store closed, suggesting maybe that she moved, though the possibility exists that she is still living here but that we have become invisible to one another without the assistance of the grocery store. After being out of town for a few days during Thanksgiving, I returned home on a week night, and having nothing to eat in the house made a trip to the market and saw the large banner hanging on the side of the building, announcing the end of days. Over the next few days I returned a few times on my way home from work hoping to say goodbye to a few of the employees, but also wanting to take advantage of the going-out-of-business sale. The store was mostly empty and all of the regular employees had been let go. In their place a temporary staff had been brought in to deal with the liquidation of the remaining inventory.


Kevin Gallagher
Translations from Sonnets of Dark Love by Federico García Lorca The Poet Asks His Love for the “Enchanted City” of Cuenca
Did you like the city sculpted by water, Drop by drop, in the heart of pines? Did you see dreams, faces, roads and wailing walls lashed by wind? Did you see the blue crack of broken moon that the Jucar wets with crystal tunes? Have your fingers been kissed by the hawthorns that crown love with a remote stone? And did you remember me when you went into the silence that only the serpent suffers, a prisoner of crickets and shady groves? Did you see through the transparent air the dahlia of grief and joyful cries that I sent you from my burning heart?


Gongoresque Sonnet Where the Poet Sends a Dove to His Love
I send this dove of Turia to you; of the sweet eyes and white feathers, of Greek laurels flashing that show the slow call of love I have for you. Your simple virtue and soft throat are twice muddied of scalding froth. With one tremble of hoar-frost, pearl, and mist the absence of your mouth is marked. Pass your hand across the city’s purity and you will see its melodic snow-fall as confetti over your abundance. This is my heart each night and day, arrested for life in a prison of dark love, without you it cries melancholy.


James Cook
An improvised contraption: some notes on Jamie Moore’s Gringobaroque 0.
What I’ve gotten from Jamie Moore is that the Gringobaroque exists to build (or cultivate) an improvised language contraption with which to approach the irreducible radiant resistant substance of mystery embodied; the contraption’s inputs— (im)pure products of sacramentalizing attention to interzones (Laura Oldfield Ford’s “liminal spaces…break[s] in territory or places between borders,” Charles Olson’s “places between places [that] breed future”) glimpsed on peripatetic drifts and played on imaginative consciousness using alternate tunings—seem to compost then combust to conjure self-aware, other-seeking, signifyingsimian speech acts.


Moore first came across evidence of the Gringobaroque during the summer of 2011. He was lost and disoriented somewhere north of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. A friend of a friend of the Gringobaroque, sporting a bandana, skinny jeans, Barça strip, and ironic moustache, hiking along a disused railbed claimed by purple loosestrife, suggested to Moore that “The Gringobaroque expects to find its tongue in the intercourse between sacramental attention and neobarroco—creole—consciousness.” At first Moore thought the fellow traveler was coming on to him. Then, in a thought-bubble coming from the head of this emissary of the Gringobaroque Moore caught a vision of two mountains descending into a deep verdant valley shot through with an alpine tramway pursued by a horn-blowing creature—upper half man with butterfly wings, lower half fish. In the corner of the foreground Moore could see a bilingual road sign: “Entering/The/Great/North Woods/Region//Grands Bois Du Nord.” He knew he was on to something. This friend of a friend of the Gringobaroque was to take Moore to a cabin where the Gringobaroque was squatting and convalescing for the season before heading back to the Trieste of the USAmerican Empire. En route the sometime guide left Moore to take a piss and never returned. Moore never found the Gringobaroque up in the White Mountains during the summer of 2011. However, the friend of a friend of the Gringobaroque knew Moore was from the coast which is, I imagine, why he left behind an empty bottle of Curious & Ancient Tawny Port with a message rolled up inside: “the language contraption of Gringobaroque consciousness is an occasion for accruing fully-embodied inviolably resistant bioluminescent mystery.” When Moore got home he bought a bottle of Port for himself and, after swiftly consuming its contents, sent the note-bearing bottle out with the tide. The Gringobaroque portal has been active ever since, conduit for countless communiqués.


Let me be clear: Moore is not the Gringobaroque. He’s a culturally Catholic USAmerican with an affinity for Creole consciousness but still clinging after generations to the North Atlantic coast of North America— child of Acadian Catholics from Pomquet and Cheticamp mixed with Irish Catholics of Laois mixed with Londonderry Presbyterians by way of the Isthmus of Chignecto converted to Catholicism to mix with other Acadians mixed with Wessagusset founders from Somerset mixed with Scots by way of Prince Edward Island. Because of this peculiar transnorthatlantic coasthugging and more particularly peculiar coastal-


estuary-and-marsh-dwelling—generations on the ocean wading in the mouths of brackish rivers—he approaches the Gringobaroque gingerly so as not to imperialistically appropriate the (various) Latin American neobarroco(s)—so as not, in other words, to collapse one and other(s). The Gringobaroque itself has an explicitly anti-imperialist agenda—mindful of its relation with the Neobarroco, “el arte contraconquista”—and avoids appropriation (though it is fond of citation). Its name is self-deprecating. The Gringobaroque likes to play the Fool—reading José Lezama Lima’s Paradiso to the Presidential Range of the White Mountains, quoting Cué in the quarries of Cape Ann where granite was exhumed to pave the streets of Guillermo Cabrera Infante’s Tres Tristes Tigres. Allied with the creole-consciousness of the Latin American Neobarroco, the Gringobaroque contrives to crack open the monoculture evoked and enforced by Whiteness and Yankeeness and NewEnglandness and Jansenness and Puritanness and USAmericanness: inheritances imposed upon us. But the Gringobaroque suggests other inheritances…

Moore’s transcriptions of communiqués from the vast vagabond network of los gringos barrocos:

(i.) re: Neobaroque Ecosystems sent from: Starving Rock, Illinois (Illinois River)
El neobarroco—decentered, multiple, as complex as an ecosystem—shows the gringo another way. Another way to turn white monoculture—fields and fields and fields of biogenetic corn, hellish megaranch abbatoirs—into a multiculture of rotating crops and livestock. The Gringobaroque laughs and grumbles at gallery walls—white as those mandated by the USDA in slaughterhouses, white as New England churches. The Gringobaroque smiles to hear that paint adorned classical sculpture and laughs once more at those who see the white modern museum as an improvement. The Gringobaroque wants to be as pied, mottled, brindled, and parti-colored as the beauty Hopkins sees.

(ii.) re: Triestine municipalismo sin nacionalismo sent from: Gloucester, Massachusetts (Fort Square)
The Gringobaroque keeps the local in its eye, vigilantly mindful of the local in relation to other locals— even those half a world away; the Gringobaroque tends toward justice and wellbeing in response to present conditions, mindful of what is composted underfoot. The Gringobaroque knows that certain local conditions are more conducive to stimulating the creation of Gringobaroque consciousness and speech acts. Consider Havana on the cusp of revolution. Creole consciousness cauldron. Trieste before the first world war. Polyglottal port life. Join James Joyce in Trieste y tigres tristes en Habana.


The Gringobaroque is a flowering weed that thrives in nutrient-rich compost but can survive in infertile soils by means of mycorrhizal symbiosis. The Gringobaroque is a matter of proprioception within domestic, sociopolitical, and geophysical ecosystems.

(iii.) re: Getting the World in sent from: Astoria, Queens, New York City
In its fecundity the Gringobaroque can be excessive and immoderate. The Gringobaroque can sometimes embarrass with its lack of refinement and good taste. (Though it loves playful elegance it retains its prerogative to subvert it too.) The Gringobaroque is omnivorous but not indiscriminate. Seeks to be as polyamorous and unforgiving as nature, as exponentially mysterious, as mocking of human claims of understanding, as adamant that we see ourselves as tinkerers not masters, as jerryriggers and improvisers not gods (except in appetites for imagination) and yet the Gringobaroque does not seek to imitate nature or to yield to it. The Gringobaroque desires to get it in (and to be within) by making improvised contraptions with attention, care, and imagination. Many entertainments, the libidinal and the tastefully chaste, serve many needs but the Gringobaroque approaches the conditions of our lives—the space-time we live within, on top of, and, for that matter, beneath. (Improbably, playfully, bafflingly but aptly José Lezama Lima deemed his syntactically gymnastic, impossibly allusive, richly digressive neobaroque novel Paradiso an attempt to trace “as closely as possible the daily life of a Cuban man and his family.”) The Gringobaroque is sometimes illbehaved, illtempered to achieve its ends. Sometimes it is ostensibly ill when plotting. Sometimes it is ill.

(iv.) re: USAmerican Empire sent from: Washington, D.C. (behind the nation’s capitol)
The Gringobaroque is postcolonial but not over it. It lives (a polyculture) in the long shadow of the first encounter, the subjugations, eradications, resistances, displacements, negations, pavingovers, drivingunders, goingdownons, fantasy projections, temporary détentes, defactoghettos, porous polyglottal poleis, border outposts, and (inevitably) so on. (Like Umberto Eco, the Gringobaroque loves lists for their expression of the topos of the inexpressible, their indefatigable insistence despite the insufficiency of language.) The Gringobaroque eschews guilt-laden paralysis, lactic acid in the muscles of a “liberal” postcolonial USAmerican counterculture as much as it rejects decontextualized cultural conflations. The Gringobaroque yawns at precious knownothing lyrical fragments, the well-wrought afterthoughts of an empire; and donning the Fool’s coxcomb and the Scholar’s hol(e)y threads reads Julián Ríos and Néstor Perlongher in translation before translating a bit of Severo Sarduy’s Neobarroco and Lezama Lima’s La expression Americana with its undergrad Spanish. The Gringobaroque knows translation is something else.


And when it gets very enthusiastic—filled with its own possibilities—the Gringobaroque grows mindful that its rhetoric not valorize American energy and force. The destructive westward push now metastasizing as global capitalism. Upon reflection, a tentative blueprint for the Gringobaroque may have first appeared as marginal notes written in the air surrounding Donald Wellman’s 2010 talk “Olson and Autobiography” which incorporated Wellman’s own translation of sections of Heriberto Yépez’s El Imperio de la neomemoria. The Gringobaroque was moved by Wellman’s autoethnography then laughed while Wellman-as-Yépez confounded and irritated the assembled hagiographic scholars before finally rising to defend Wellman when several particularly hypersensitive Olsonians, recognizing the value of neither Wellman’s cheeky performance nor of Yépez’s improbable critique of Olson as an ideologue of empire and singer of thefts and lootings, began shouting Wellman down. But Donald Wellman is not to blame for the Gringobaroque. In fact the Gringobaroque may only exist as a possibility.

(v.) re: Responding to J.D. O’Hara on Lezama Lima’s “racial salad” thirty-seven years after the fact sent from: The Mission, San Francisco
The nascent Gringobaroque was taught at an impressionable age by feminists and hyphenamericans and immigrants who made a decentered antihegemonic anti-imperial antiheirarchical multicultural world seem obvious, desirable, and historical (as panamerican values, vision, and imagination though seldom if ever as reality). The Gringobaroque does not, however, fall for the multiculturalism it is sold. “Hey, Gringobaroque, see that corporate hegemony that obscures origins and processes and interconnections and oppositions, that turns resistance into hybrid. Now you see it, now you don’t.” (Cue multiculti marketing music, slogans, and logos.) The Gringobaroque is annoyed but finds it funny too. The broadcast language of corporate imperialism is digested by the Gringobaroque’s ominivorous, polyvocal poetry. The Gringobaroque is interested in a lot of things and is not interested in promoting itself to the exclusion of things it is interested in and attracted to. It risks making space for the possibility of Italo Calvino’s “not inferno” which at a given moment to a gringo mind at the heart of the empire might look “inferno”. It eschews fearful sanitation and sees such as the destructive monocultural folly of twentieth century isms of all sorts and of present homogenizing standardizing global capitalist folly…and so sometimes the Gringobaroque is overlooked and ignored because it is inefficient. Though it admits to being neither efficient nor safe (with its permissiveness and promiscuity), it can when necessary be extremely pragmatic because it lives in the world. It shares the world with you.

(vi.) re: Finnegan, Wake! sent from: Bernal Heights, San Francisco
The Gringobaroque is polymathic, autodidactic, and nonprescriptive.


But the Gringobaroque is neither disorderly nor anarchic. It knows that existence is an organization of matter and energy of time and space of what is as of yet unknown. In the face of the mysterious unknown it posits possible imagined orders, possible dynamic reorganizations—and performances. It attempts to build gaps into its order—but not (to the degree it can help it) by sleight of hand, prestidigitation—though it knows such is the nature of theatre. It wants to make the mystery of being more palpable: as present, as shimmering, ungraspable, unmasterable as the open, empty tomb. The Gringobaroque can be mindful and aware beyond itself. Hermes is here, says the Gringobaroque. Hermes is welcome. Welcome to come and go. For Hermes we keep an empty seat at the table, a spare mattress in the basement, a couch in the livingroom, and a bassinette in the attic.

(vii.) re: The Centrality of Marginal Literature sent from: The Port
The Gringobaroque can be embarrassing in its excesses (surface untidiness, eccentric manner, unwise permissiveness). Though the Gringobaroque may seem to promote carelessness or inattentiveness, the care and attention are simply unfashionably unconventionally inefficiently ineluctably elsewhere—somewhere you do not expect them—in margins, in footnotes, on scraps, in your junk box—but exactly where they need to be. And seeing what is present, what fills this elsewhere—formerly a margin—is to become aware of what is lacking in the apparent perfection—what is excluded from the fastidious cleanliness—of the nonbaroque, the merely gringo.


“Instant contraption” thinking of Jamie Moore’s Gringobaroque after reading Roberto Echavarren
Your despondent rapture habit untoward helping hand under where? holy host the migrant labor in your pantry in your pants regrets of the best unlaid glands glad tomb meat flea visage fades to blink voracious chilled and airraided memory faded fad cycle update status a lack I like you can sit on your tact re: yous redux go gangrene affix aphid on the social leaf unbecoming of a ladybug I’ll find a way in the mourning


Nicholas Elliott
Karen who had a stroke in ’98 still walks Main Street. They keep the sidewalk clean for her while everyone else rolls past the burned-out video store and the shuttered schoolhouse where you learned arithmetic and later kissed me on the lips. The library is where you had your panic attack, unrelated to this landlocked state and all keyed in to whales and the fear of them. You feared everything except what you should fear: me playing handball with your heart. But back up, you didn’t know me yet. A prophecy of misery in the library on Main and there are suicide houses on Oak Field Drive and still the lights on the porch suck fireflies like all is well with the insect order. Northfield is a military town. Cadets face the ski slope at dawn with forty pounds of metal on their back. I would kill myself too, yes I would, or trans my gender to dodge drills and sit in the shopping plaza knitting sock monsters for the Red Mitten. We were talking about Karen with the paralyzed arm and busted shorts and her mute resolve to walk the street, her course the valley and the valley her course. Here comes the Montpelier train moving wood chips and maple leaves and the thoughts of schoolchildren shirking math for the idea of down the road. Where is your love when the love is gone? There is no hospital in Northfield, no table to dissect the rights and wrongs of you and me.


Service Entrance
On Central Park South I imagine the doormen naked on top of their wives, thrusting and thriving, and I hope that in that moment they are in service to nothing but pleasure. The uniform is on the floor and the kids are in Atlanta, it’s a weekend for ancient lovers in Jamaica, Queens. I want to call my cousin the social anthropologist and ask how much these doormen make anyway, are we talking two or three bedroom, but maybe she has better things to do tonight like track the evolution of Somali hip-hop from Michigan to Memphis and then she’ll ask why are you worried about doormen did you stop taking your meds. I worry about doormen because they are standing there like the Central Park horses with their mangy carrots and steaming dumps and none of the gentlemen who crease a twenty into their hands ever invite them for Thanksgiving. I worry about doormen because if I was a doorman and I saw the people in the carriages all day I would get a chip on my shoulder down to my hipbone and who would pay to fill it back up with plaster or whatever bonding agent fills the holes in your soul from eating shit all day long. But if I called my other cousin, the one who knows nothing about debility and the moral imagination but cuts through the bullshit like laser through flesh, she would say I think about the doormen because it’s sexy and there would be an uncomfortable silence and I would think God blood really is thicker than water but is it any surprise because this is the cousin I fucked when I was a boy. How did this wind up being about me? Once I went up to a doorman drunk and read his name tag and said Elvir tell me the truth are you door or man and he said man I am door but the best door in Manhattan.


Christopher Rizzo
I JAMS ECONO for James Cook
I have something to say but I’m not going to say it how far is the whiskey if you think it? seriously, who do you have to reach around around here to make more money that doesn’t exist? exit stage lefty nostalgia there’s a bathroom on the right I hear James tell me that I’m being too flip but James I say to myself for everything there is a season & back in ‘84 the Muppets took Manhattan w/Big Brother & Van Halen & why is it creepy that Jean Grey’s so hot when mediated life’s Looney Tunes my deodorant contains atomic robots that shoot lasers at stench monsters replacing them w/masculine scent elves for real, it’s true that’s what it says so did the coyote ever try hardcore black magic the way culture tricks you to think what you do is yr idea & Morrissey croons a la Marvin the Martian girlfriend in a coma, where’s the kaboom?


This beyond good & evil shtick’s getting tedious take off yr dress & send it to me pretty’s my please I’ll be in purgatory until trumpet day so measure the distance between bread & caviar in Planck time I thought Wicca was a mode of interior design there were rumors it was like there were rumors like it was so hush hush & then the next thing you know it’s called anime & it’s an Art Form the point of swearing’s that it ain’t appropriate, you fascist dick O my golly gosh darn dang I feel Yeti slay me w/yr robot laser eyes even though it makes no sense killer unicorns prance through the valley of death ridden by bourgie bitches who own 80% of the national wealth as fucked as bottled cheese & a Borg cube of chardonnay on sale at Target


Josette Schoel
The Commission of Community
Now the onely way to avoyde this shipwracke and to provide for our posterity is to followe the Counsell of Micah, to doe Justly, to love mercy, to walke humbly with our God, for this end, wee must be knitt together in this worke as one man, wee must entertaine each other in brotherly Affeccion, wee must uphold a familiar Commerce together in all meekenes, gentlenes, patience and liberallity, wee must delight in eache other, make others Condicions our owne rejoyce together, mourne together, labour, and suffer together, allwayes haveing before our eyes our Commission and Community in the worke, our Community as members of the same body: the lord make it like that of New England: for wee must Consider that wee shall be as a Citty upon a Hill, the eies of all people are uppon us.
-Title from the sermon City Upon a Hill, read by John Winthrop on board the Arebella to inspire confidence to the founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630

It is only a matter of time before the dogs come and abscond with the house key, their fake guns and bows and arrows shooting ribbons through the blank stare of the atmosphere. The inevitability of tired rationalism turning to exceptionalism endows the remainder of refracted light with the vagaries of convergence. First on the wall above the living room chair, the comfortable one, and then just above the tree on the drive to work through the park that connects the north side of the city to the south side of the city. And at last, at the very least, the morning curve meets the codified self of the afternoon. Clotted ruin of the East River, an homage to place the lines on a map, then over The Pulaski, then the silence of the still heat. Remember what it was like to have a broken and fallen down barrack  on one side and an empty home on the other.


  Each time the same, a feedback loop the end as the beginning, the beginning as the end, The same tower of water, shining sick to the north.




Amanda Cook
Tuesday, April 24
Sometimes it’s Monday and you wake up with dread in your throat and you’re thankful it’s a school lunch your kids will eat and you can’t find their folders and it’s Monday and it’s raining but you make the bus and after you feel like giving up so you call a friend and it’s Monday.  She meets you for coffee and you haven’t seen her since Friday and not last Friday and you talk and talk and it all feels better so you go home to Monday and make the calls you don’t want to make like the vet ‘cause your cat has cancer and the tumor is growing into her eye and the pediatrician because your kid has fluid in his left ear  and the insurance company because they made the check out wrong and now you are short nine hundred dollars and you call the editor of the local paper because he pissed you off and you leave a message because it is Monday morning.  And you go to the vet and the cat bleeds all over everything and you ask when is the right time and they don’t tell you and you pay a hundred bucks and then you come home to drop off the cat and go to Marshall’s to buy socks to bring to your Mom and when you get there she is crying she is always crying every Monday. And you feed her fatty pot roast and mashed potatoes until she won’t open her mouth and you walk with her around and around and Fred the Eugene O’Neill scholar who taught your friends sits in the hall and he calls Olive a bothersome bitch and she is so you laugh and you sing to your mother you sing songs she sang to you and you sing Little Boxes.  Little boxes on the hillside and they’re all made out of ticky-tacky and Fred sings along and he claps his hands and he bangs his tray for the first time and they’re all made just the same.  You leave right at two to get the kids to bring him to the doctor and you talk to the school nurse about how stupid a stupid book was and the kids come down the hall in their raincoats and into the car and to the doctor’s where they don’t see fluid and your son fails a hearing test in his left ear but he gets a sticker and you go home and pick all the girly clothes from your daughter’s dresser to be passed along because she isn’t girly anymore and you start to make dinner and you burn it and your daughter spills her milk and the whole thing is a mess of messes until the kids go up to bed and you take a quick bath shave your legs don’t wash your hair clean the sink and go upstairs.  You hang up the clothes on the foot of the bed pick a dress for tonight and shoes heels and a sweater make the kids’ lunches and leave.  Monday night now bar filling friends and musicians and kids young enough you don’t care what they think and beer tonight knitting out and a book to return and someone says they wish they had  a washboard and you have one in the car so you get it and he plays it with your keys the old washboard from a friend’s garage and you buy drinks and stand up because it is Monday and you are tired and the kids get up to play The Weight and Fisherman’s Blues and you decide not to sit down more beer and dancing with the girls and at the end they play songs for you dirty rock and roll and your friend plays the washboard and sings Bowie and you dance till you notice your feet hurt and you remember working ten hours tomorrow on the same feet and you slow. It is Tuesday now, Tuesday.  And Monday was alright.


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