K. Silem Mohammad occupies a territory where the borders between hypertext and intertextuality are patrolled by robot tank cars and killer hovercrafts

K. Silem Mohammad, The Front, Roof Books, 2009.

Kenny Goldsmith said that "K. Silem Mohammad is the Andy Warhol of contemporary poetry, acutely scraping the bottom of the cultural barrel with such prescience, precision, and sensitivity that we are forced to reevaluate the nature of the language engulfing us. Our first impulse is to flee, to deny its worth, to turn away from it, to write it off as a big joke; but as with Warhol's car crashes or electric chairs, we are equally entranced, entertained, and repulsed: we can't stop looking. This is important and beautiful work, but not in the way we've come to expect. It's a double-edged sword that Mohammad is holding against our necks, forcing us to look at ourselves in the blade's reflection with equal doses of swooning narcissism and white-knuckled fear." Bob Perelman understands Kasey's work through the chance operations with which he derives his vocabulary: "Of those infinite monkeys chained to those infinite typewriters, which one actually came up with King Lear? At first it looks like one of those conundrums that'll never be solved. But with K. Silem Mohammad's THE FRONT we catch a glimpse of a method that just might move us in a fruitful direction. First, take all the language on the web--it's not infinity, but it's what we've got for the moment--then stand exposed to those howling social gales. If you want to know what it feels like to lose sovereignty, go to THE FRONT."

K. Silem Mohammad, Breathalyzer, Edge Books, 2008.

"Goofy, weird, beyond funny, wise, wicked, K. Silem Mohammad is the exorcist giving us all a ride home. Beyond the pale, right with it, he's my poet laureate for our frightening state of the union"--Linh Dinh

"They say Auden was the first poet to be truly at home in the modern world. Mohammad is the first to be utterly unimaginable in any other. His poems communicate a total, infectious joy at being alive today, in our F'ed-up pluriverse of words and deeds. F in this case being flarf, a four-letter word for our time" - Benjamin Friedlander

Does K. Silem Mohammad have a second life as noise band virtuoso, DJ, and symphony conductor? What in the name of aural excitation is he doing to our  innocent, insane, difficult words? Surround-sound echoes, unfamiliar and fearsome, "wank the spread of prominent grooves" messing up the turntables thatdate back to the smorgasbord. History, move on or get your breath tested now! Breathalyzer has infected my brain with the ebullience of anything improbable, inglorious, and hopelessly close to reality.  Consider the following:  "I am at war/ therefore I am in a polling booth." You better read this gorgeous book. - Carla Harryman

Goofy, weird, beyond funny, wise, wicked, K. Silem Mohammad is the exorcist giving us all a ride home. Beyond the pale, right with it, he's my poet laureate for our frightening state of the union. - Linh Dinh
I attended a riot out of that curiosity which is not basic.
But the day trip was a chance to step foot and wander.
The external journey from there to here.
This is business.
Cave dwellers were small and hairy and exploited.
They would never blur something like that out.
The film doesn’t really work at all if you think.
Ghost of a transcendental meaning.
Hugh Hefner is alive, American, modern, trustworthy.
Innocent. Which he was, once.
There is one thing I resent deeply.
The lone hamster operating his mind seeking a refugee status.
Naso was by him banished in his old age.
The story will continue to present some surprises.
Flying to Africa to open a bank account.
There is no kind of universal reference.
That would obviously be a bad situation.
But everyone was familiar with it.
11am: chickens nearby eating from a garbage heap.
Les parties de ce message comportant autre texte.
But it was the language. By the way.
The airship closes its hatch.
We'll now presume you are sitting far far away.
How many of us here have lived?
I press submit and nothing happens.
Out of the city, I would have plenty of both.
Each chapter of this story is being told by children.
As a Mexican, I want to hear this.

K. Silem Mohammad, A Thousand Devils, Combo Books, 2004.

"If an ancient had an epileptic seizure, he was possessed by a thousand devils. When he regained consciousness, the devils were driven out by a healer. The devils had to go someplace. In this case they have gone into the poems.The poems roar or whisper balefully from the sand or from the wind, or stir unseen in the coiling silence; or fall from the heavens like crushing incubi.With their dismal fooleries they trasform our worthless days and disentagle a thousand evils, and they are indeed, incredible"-Nada Gordon. "Toward some crooked vein of empathy/ A subsong marries its twin in reply:/ Can there be a code joined to right or ruth/ Adequately, this star-freaked wide isthmus?" -from "The Lollard's Remonstrance."

"Be equal to squirming out of a crisis and you will seep purulently through deafening goiters into wheatfields, kingdoms, caverns," Mohammad advises in his provocative, tumultuous, sometimes fascinating sophomore effort. A poetry-world blogger (limetree.ksilem.com) and critic of experimental writing, as a poet Mohammad (Deer Head Nation) is a sometime exponent of Flarf, a poetic style emphasizing deliberately gauche, clumsy or distasteful language, sometimes with the aid of Internet searches. Though only a few years old, Flarf has already found its way into college courses, the Village Voice and even the BBC, which interviewed Mohammad about it. His new volume may or may not count as Flarf proper, but it certainly demonstrates the aggressive responses to all conventions, the hostility and frustration toward mainstream meanings and mainstream media, and the sometimes exhilarating parody, which Flarf (along with predecessors from William Burroughs to Bruce Andrews) manifests. "I like to stay in the dark shadows of the garage, where it's a felony to lactate," "Death the Comedian" says, while another poem portrays "the cross-section of the frontal lobe/ sautéed in battery acid." Such corrosive images, spliced together with dissonant, freer-than-free-jazz rhythms, let Mohammad deliver his striking "blast of/ antimatter" alongside a heap of literary-historical jokes—"Yet once more the frying tricycles/ And yet once more the new wave muttonchops." - Publishers Weekly

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K. Silem Mohammad, Deer Head Nation, Tougher Disguises Press, 2003.

K. Silem Mohammad's 'Deer Head Nation' occupies a territory where the borders between hypertext and intertextuality are patrolled by robot tank cars and killer hovercrafts. In these poems, the vampiric fallacy of globalism is intercepted via such middle-American iconography as the mounted deer head, Guns N' Roses t-shirts, and Halloween Pumpkin Bubble Lights that become accessory devices to the machinery of war.
Transrational lyric assemblage doubling as satiric critique of nationalism, 'Deer Head Nation' books a schizophrenic vacation cruise in the exotic and possibly hostile prosodic waters of search-engine taglines and funny-animal aestheticism. Welcome to 'Deer Head Nation'..now go home.                            

How to create a community through poetry: 1) A poem can describe an existing social organization such as "adolescent girls in America." 2) It can describe a society from an earlier historical period: "I spent 20 years in the army / of the most powerful nation on earth / the army of the Pharaoh / biting kids in your street." 3) It can invent one--for example, Martian teenagers, magical kittens, "the army of the negaverse," etc. 4) It can even invent the symbolic rituals through which societies define themselves: "many pledge allegiance to the 'blood god'/ I pledge allegiance to the freaky horse/ who watches over me as I sleep."
These examples of community awareness are quoted from K. Silem Mohammad's poetry collection Deer Head Nation. The title suggests a commitment to nation-building: this book wants to be America, although it may not particularly like America and may occasionally demand "DEATH TO AMERICA!" In any case, the "head nation" designated in the title is not exactly singular. For one thing, it's a pun: it both describes a nation of people who collect and display deer heads as hunting trophies (or, more simply, a nation in the shape of a deer head), and, in the respectful but impersonal language of form letters, it addresses that nation as a world superpower: "Dear Head Nation." This addressee is also not singular; since nations are in conflict, both the militant "deer head nation" and the "raghead nation" have some pretensions to being recognized as the "head nation." And Mohammad's America is not singular either; behind the oppressive "voice of America ad nauseam"--a monoculture where everyone is apparently saying the same thing, "the same deer's head for instance / appears over and over"--many distinctly articulated voices, including "the voice of Yogi Bear," project their own self-images as collective identities.
Thus, 5) a poem creates a community by incorporating multiple voices through quotation, allusion, and influence--intertextual rather than international relations. The poems in Deer Head Nation are a little coy about their use of source-materials--in "Spooked," the first poem in the collection, "the voices have no source"--and the front matter and jacket copy are disappointingly unforthcoming about Mohammad's methodology, but it's apparent that most of the language is derived from internet searches for keywords or phrases. In his word searches, Mohammad tends to prefer language that's inarticulate, vulgar, anti-literary; some of the words in this collection have probably never appeared before in poems. (Also, for a book of computer-assisted writing, the ethos is surprisingly low-tech: the basic model for artistic technique is a preserved and mounted deer head--"warning: skinning a deer head really and truly sucks"--although some poems imagine a post-apocalyptic "public transit system of hovercrafts.") This language is then presumably reduced, arranged, divided, and otherwise doctored. The collaged results are sometimes relatively seamless ("NAFTA, 6 pesos to the dollar / that is downright spooky"); less frequently, the presentation emphasizes the prior situatedness of the materials in a computer-generated word list ("Misfits Attitude.mp3 Misfits Braineaters.mp3," etc.).
One might also argue that 6) a poem is an expression of a community of poets. Deer Head Nation is a state-of-the-art collection of a kind of writing that's sometimes called "flarf." (The term was originally supposed to designate uses of language that would be inappropriate in poetry, but now it seems to be primarily associated with poems based on internet searches.) Some of Mohammad's colleagues in flarf writing (Drew Gardner, Gary Sullivan, Katie Degentesh, Jordan Davis) make cameo appearances in the charming, witty, and only mildly offensive poem "Puritan": "there's a bunch of people in Drew's pants / and not forgetting Gary's pants / police also noticed a bulge in Katie's pants / . . . we are in 'Jordan's Pants' / oh great--/ let's go find Michael Jordan's pants." (I'm using the term "offensive" in, if possible, an objective sense, although anyone who claims to be offended by this book is probably being disingenuous. What did you expect from a poem called "Puritan" in a book called Deer Head Nation? Which is just to say that 7) a poem is also part of a community--a collection of poems, or a sequence such as "Deer Head Suite"-- and should be judged mainly for its behavior within its peer group.)
Finally, 8) a poem establishes an artificial community among its readers. Everyone who reads a poem is connected to it and to its other readers--an occult fact that Mohammad cheerfully exploits in "Full Summary and Analysis of Paradise Lost" and in "Wallace Stevens," poems that recount misinformation about the lives and works of major authors--e.g., "Satan turns into a cute little cherub / . . . 'spent $17,000 on a new car,' he laments." Because the context of reading is a social one, poetry acquires its real significance in use. - Aaron Kunin

Psychoanalytic Night at Hooters:

Poet K. Silem Mohammad and poet and scholar Jeff Dolven consider how to rearrange the Renaissance tradition with an anagram engine, a click, and a drag. Their conversation is followed by a number of Mohammad’s sonnagrams, compositions anagramatically derived from Shakespeare’s sonnets.
Jeff Dolven I’d like to start by asking about your sonnagrams, and so maybe I should try to describe them, mostly just following what you have said in print, with a few inferences and annotations of my own. You can tell me if I’ve got it right. You begin with a Shakespeare sonnet and the project is to write another sonnet that is a perfect anagram of the first, i.e. that uses the same number of A’s, the same number of B’s, and so on. No letters added to the original set and none subtracted. The new sonnet is an English sonnet, like Shakespeare’s, rhymed in quatrains, ABAB CDCD EFEF, with a final couplet, GG. The rhythm is Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter, and any letters left over, when those requirements have been met, go into the title. The process of writing the sonnagram begins with feeding the lines one by one into an Internet anagram engine, which produces fourteen new strings of words. Taken together, that new word hoard—unrhymed, unmetered, overlapping perfectly with Shakespeare’s letters but barely at all with his vocabulary—becomes your raw material. So far, pure, mechanical method. From there, you push the words around, take most of them apart, recompose them into new words, moving the elements—often single letters—only by cut-and-paste. At this stage you are engaged in a sonnet-making techne or craft that is very like Shakespeare’s, bound to his rhythmic and rhyming commitments. The results sound pretty different from their originals—they’re much funnier—and I hope we can talk about how and why. But first I’d like to ask you to put the whole process in the context of the question of copying or, more specifically, imitation. Imitation is a crucial term for Shakespeare’s culture: A lot of the best poetry of the period departs specifically from earlier models, like Thomas Wyatt’s near-translations of Petrarch’s sonnets earlier in the sixteenth century. Shakespeare’s sonnets lack such specific models, but they still borrow freely, from Sir Philip Sidney among others. Do you consider yourself an imitator in this Renaissance tradition?
K. Silem Mohammad Yes, all that is right, except for the “cut and paste” part; just insert “click and drag” and it will be completely accurate.
I hope this doesn’t derail the thematic focus of this occasion, but I don’t see what I’m doing with Shakespeare’s sonnets as imitation in the tradition you invoke, except at the most trivial structural level, that of making an English sonnet. This isn’t to say that I’m not interested in that tradition, or that I haven’t thought about it a lot. And it just occurs to me that one of the sonnagrams, “After Shakespeare,” is a kind of deliberate imitation, but even there I don’t lay claim to any kind of verisimilitude: it’s just generic fake early modern English. Also, there are lots of near-quotes and allusions throughout to various poets (like in the Frank O’Hara sonnagram), but, again, this isn’t really the same thing as Wyatt and Surrey faithfully following Petrarch or whatever. If I’m imitating anyone, it would be Christian Bök or Gregory Betts, whose anagrammatic experiments are probably my chief influences for this project.
On the other hand, maybe there’s an imitative element that I’m not acknowledging enough here. I did spend [insert embarrassingly big number] years studying Renaissance poetry in a grad program, so some of that certainly rubbed off on my phrasing. But as far as my conscious disposition goes, I see it more as ludic disruption than imitation.
Dolven I want to grab onto that “on the other hand.” Let’s say that we can put acts of imitation on a spectrum. On one side is a purely methodical operation: You derive an algorithm for the object and implement it with some variant to produce a second object that’s like, but not identical to, the first. On the other side is something that feels more instinctive or somatic, the way you can pick up an accent or a catchy turn of phrase and find yourself sounding like somebody else without knowing how you’re doing it (or maybe even that you’re doing it). Could we say that the Renaissance rhetorical practice of imitatio is somewhere between the two? That is: Erasmus would have you study the formal properties of a poem, its schemes and tropes, and use the rules to make something new; but there is supposed to be an ethical dimension as well. We are imitative animals, like Aristotle says. We can’t help becoming what we read and write and say and make. Imitatio as a creative and pedagogical practice mediates between the detachment of method and our susceptibility to charismatic example.
None of that really describes what your procedure does: The line-by-line anagrammatization is a tactic for banishing Shakespeare’s words and defining a freedom of resources. But still, as you say, it may feel like something has rubbed off. (“Rubbed off”: a great phrase.) The formal structure accounts for some of that: For example, you and Shakespeare both isolate that final couplet, so it has a weird detachment, half summary and half throwaway. But there are other common devices that feel more on-the-fly, like starting each quatrain with “if” (in your take on Sonnet 42); the general feel of stepwise argument; or the tortured, self-inspecting “I” that probably didn’t come from Kenneth Goldsmith, or not straight from him. You see what I’m asking: How much did Shakespeare get to you, despite the ludic disruption? And a parallel question: How about Bök or Betts? Their constraints are a model, I know; their methods. But what about their sound?
Mohammad Maybe one way to think of it is as “deimitation,” after the model of deconstruction/defamiliarization/delimitation. I’m setting up an imitative situation, performing operations that contain the mechanical features of imitation (same meter, rhyme scheme, couplet closure, etc.), but there’s also a marked imperative to produce a final object that is remarkable precisely for its aesthetic dissimilarity to the original in certain key ways (seriousness or lack thereof, thwarted rhetorical patterns that devolve into nonsense, and other breaches of decorum). On the other hand, it’s in no way anti-Shakespearean, whatever that would mean. And a case could be made that I’ve isolated the linguistically ludic element of his sonnets (the part that puns on “Will” obsessively, for instance, or I guess puns in general) and made that my imitative focus. There’s no denying that Shakespeare has “rubbed off” on me. It’s just that so much else has as well, and I’ve made no effort to exclude those other rubbings-off from the project.
Interesting question about Bök and Betts’s “sound.” I do think they have distinctive sounds, especially Bök. And I don’t think the sound can be accounted for entirely by pointing to the anagrammatic method, though it certainly contributes. But I’m pretty sure that I don’t sound like either one of them and, in fact, sometimes I think I sound more like myself in the sonnagrams than in any of my other work, including the Google-driven Flarf work, though I could make the same point about it to a lesser extent. What I’m getting at is that the procedural approach somehow results in a concentrated version of my own voice. Also let it be known that I’m aware of how horrifying this voice is sometimes. My only defense is that an author’s voice is not the same thing as a philosophy or an ethics. It’s a constructed, performative thing, with lots of room for irony and imitation.
Dolven Then would it make sense to say, as you go from sonnet to sonnet, that you are imitating yourself?
Mohammad Maybe. I do find myself slipping into a formulaic approach from time to time. And that formula seems to follow an accretive, reflexive pattern. But another way of thinking about it that just occurs to me is that I also seem to be imitating a bot or some kind of algorithmically driven software program. The arbitrariness of subject matter, predictable rhythms, etc.
Dolven Part of why I ask is that I have been wondering how far the idea of imitating yourself might get us in thinking about style. I think we moderns are bound to be a little disconcerted by the idea, as we are by imitating others. But I have also had the experience of writing something better or different from what I usually write, and then asking, How do I do more of that? Where might that lead me, if I follow it? What exactly am I aspiring to imitate in that case? The text on the page, the mood, the circumstance, or the self in which I wrote it? All of them? I’m obdurately curious about an imitation that is not reducible to formula, that is neither method (the freedom of giving yourself the law) nor a dream of free, romantic originality. I love the idea of imitating a bot, or imitating an algorithm, in order to get outside yourself. There’s something beautifully perverse about it, because a bot doesn’t imitate, it just follows the rules. But you don’t exactly want just to follow those rules … you want to be like a bot, but not be a bot.
Mohammad Yes, and another way of saying that is: I want to be like a bot in some ways but not in others. I want to be like a bot in the sense of being harnessed to this potentially endless energy, like the Energizer Bunny, where I’m able to keep performing my task without flagging, in a type of perpetual-motion filibuster against death, I guess. I also want some of that bottish disregard for propriety, so that anything that can be said gets said (though there are filters in any context, for sure, and I’m not interested in just “breaking taboos” for the sake of being obnoxious). But on the other side, I want to be visible as the little guy “programming” the bot. The sonnet form is perfect for that classical authorship effect in which the “I” keeps pointing at itself, insisting on its genius. I like the way the impersonal bot behavior counteracts the narcissistic author behavior, and vice versa. So maybe that’s a way of bringing the conversation back to the focus on imitation: There’s something similar in Shakespeare’s sonnets and in others to the tension I’ve just imagined. Shakespeare’s sonnetistic “I” is always undercutting its claims to authority in tricky little recursive ways, partly by insisting on that authority in the first place, in terms that are rigged with problematic holes and contradictions. If I had it handy, I think I could find some passages from Joel Fineman’s Shakespeare’s Perjured Eye: The Invention of Poetic Subjectivity in the Sonnets that would enhance this argument.
In more general terms, I like bragging, but I don’t really want to be seen as sincerely bragging. I like it when rappers brag, for instance, because it usually seems clear that it’s a game, and even a genuinely competitive one in some ways, but the point isn’t really to establish one’s credentials finally as “the best,” because that would end the game. Rather, bragging allows more bragging to happen, and the game goes on. I enjoy the structure of the brag, and I also enjoy the ways in which I can subvert the brag by being obviously ridiculous. If I’m imitating anyone, it’s Juicy J or 2 Chainz as much as Shakespeare. Again, not necessarily in stylistic ways, but in ways that have to do with broader stances and motives.
Dolven We make a lot of machines that imitate us, not just what we do but the way we do it. Something interesting is going on when that imitation comes back around, and we imitate the machines. I suppose that has a long history too, at least to Futurism. But Futurism was force and speed. Your bot is an amoral imp, half Puck, half teletype, and his share of the work isn’t always obvious. There’s a lot of license there. If you rent him out, I’d be interested.

Hot Butt Hot Butt Hot Butt Diddy

Erotic reptiles sing sweet airs to me
Amid synthetic England’s deathly stench;
Lo, unto every teenaged thigh they flee,
While friendly hamsters masturbate in French.
The rightward-slanted menacing elite,
By eerie method echoing their breath,
Refill their gaudy bathtubs in the street
With grisly murder (“Dude, the cutting death”).
The fluffiest of scarecrows rusts within;
The yellowest banana soon turns brown;
Erasure of the phone book is a sin;
A polar bear should never wear a gown.
My hungry kittens tremble at my shoes
When made to eat the fat of ruddy ewes.
Sonnet 1 (“From fairest creatures we desire increase”)

STD’s? Thank Ms. DDT, Men, then Dash

I’m Grover Cleveland, homies, hear me roar:
I eat thirteen fish tacos every night,
And every morning I eat twenty more
(Uh huh, uh huh, you feel me, son? that’s right).
I brush my teeth with contraceptive gel,
Do weird stuff with a weird potato masher;
I win most all the reindeer games in Hell,
Besides the ones that Satan wins, or Dasher.
When dirty sons of bitches bob my hair,
I write my manifesto with a crayon
And throw my Star Wars bath toys down the stair,
Then tidy up and get my DeMolay on.
A joke I dreamt of: how do dodos pee?
Oh happy, happy birds! the joke’s on me.
Sonnet 50 (“How heavy do I journey on the way”)

www.hummus.web, www.feverflume.tv (TV? Shhhhhhh, TV)

I hate The Beatles, dude. The Beatles suck.
They blow. They bite. They chew. They’re awesome—not!
I’m also not so thrilled with Donald Duck.
I mean, I guess he’s cool…. He’s sort of hot.
Darth Vader isn’t Harry Potter’s dad;
There are not fifty femurs in your body;
There’s no one named Baloo in Superbad;
It’s haute couture, not hottie cootarati.
On psychoanalytic night at Hooters,
Tostadas are a metaphor for bread,
Odysseus is not unkind to suitors,
And (elsewhere) Teddy Roosevelt is dead.
On sauteed summer eels we feed ourselves;
We feed fresh elvish hummus to our elves.
Sonnet 54 (“O! how much more doth beauty beauteous seem”)

This Butch Headphone Witch

Geometry potatoes whack the bush,
Toyota’s hotness hatching Goethe’s wraith;
Anthologies our congresswomen push
Offended Khrushchev’s nonexistent faith.
Breathe in the unattractive Southwest beige
Cheerleader fetish (hint, hint) housefly doom;
Placental teeth assaulted dentists’ flesh
Against forbidden Dutch koala’s womb.
Whichever wholesale newlywedded stooge
Thus weakly burns my hot Miltonic hash
(Othello hardware filthiest if huge):
Oh beat it, healthy mummy, with your stash.
Somehow athletic vulture wavelength dies
In wet Ohio sweethearts’ brainwashed eyes.
Sonnet 73 (“That time of year thou mayst in me behold”)

MSN vs. CNN: Chhhhilllll! Celts vs. My Butt: Fffffetttttttttttttcchhhh! www.shaven.com: Sssshhhhhhh!

I wonder how much kittens suck at math.
I wonder if Madonna uses Gmail.
Does Willie Nelson ever take a bath?
Is Rikki-Tikki-Tavi male or female?
You owe me forty dollars, by the way.
You bet me that I couldn’t eat a towel.
I ate it. Now you owe me, Rachael Ray.
—Your loyal friend (and lawyer), Thurston Howell.
I’m getting high in Arkansas with Stryper.
It’s no big deal, this happens all the time.
In Idaho I donned a rubber diaper
As Evanescence squirted me with slime.
So hotsy hotsy hotsy hot we got,
So hotsy hotsy hotsy hotsy hot.
Sonnet 77 (“Thy glass will show thee how thy beauties wear”) - canopycanopycanopy.com/issues/20/contents/psychoanalytic-night-at-hooters

guess what court supervision bitch
all of a sudden like whoa
I got the typical flat maize pancake “tortilla”
spilling from under the rabbit costume
      “aw yeah that does stink”

I had a dream about a kitten last night
I kept trying to put it in the litterbox
and it kept getting away from me somehow
as I put it in the fridge I pulled out a video cassette
“Making Love out of Nothing at All”
(Air Supply) put it in my mouth
      put it in the oven
      in our phony make-believe oven
      an’ bake bine a gawnish bastie
      an’ he’s got one o’ the warm tins
      o’ beer an’ he’s put it in the hole
      like Greenspan gave the order
      to crank out 190 billion dollars put it in the banks
      make sure they capitalize it put it in bold print
          repeated for like ever

      I said it would rock if someone
made a clockwork mouse and put it
in the woods to teach me a lesson


nothing but downbeat groovery in NASA spacegear
that’s what’s been holding me together

& women holding doctorates in a series of narrow tunnels
tunnels I could not fit down that’s right

then you honed it down with the Abu Ghraib people
& a badly drawn blue goblin holding two axes

wearing clothes & “honkin’ down the highway”
(that struck me as not very punk rock)

he is currently holding auditions for teenage girls
funny but you have to see the video he’s holding up

what many consider the ultimate wife of David Bowie
these days she’s all “Watership Down”

I was seriously thinking of holding a funeral for dinosaurs
who had been heroes of socialist drag queens

I thought there could be no greater guy who was asking me
(unpatriotic Sikh middle name) “ouch”

don’t bring me der explosion
I talk not up to par with James Taylor all the way

I like and listen to the prog-rock band Marillion
I am going to lay down for half an hour


                        for Shanna Compton

I’m not one of those women who freaks out when a bee lands
in my office and drops a large wad of cash on my desk
but I think sissy is okay

I am not going to open the files people send me
that concludes our stomachs welcome an first having
I started screaming about a bee in the car

I am not going swimming in the big blue sea
“the sea?” said he “yes, at the knee by the sea
on Friday at half past three” said the bee

re: buh! boo bee bay bee buh beep beep bee bee beep
the guys am cracking up over “bay-bee? baay-beee?”
may-be the ding-o down-loa-ded your mu-sic

he doesn’t be-bop to hip-hop tunes
his vice principal did a phenomenal job
I didn’t have a chance he was very accident

I am so not going out with you now I’m retail-bound
I am so not going to come to school in hideous track-pants
that serves no purpose except making your thighs appear ginormous

I was sticking my fingers in one end
thinking I’d nudge the wad of shredded carrots
and also the peloton had been split by the climb

it swivels (who cares about swiveling)
you know, I am so not going
to call a caption contest on this tableau

there are these individual people throughout the world who are on NPR
it will solve so much problems but no, I am not going to a net cafe
I am not going there in case anyone is in need of something


this is about the wonderful time
Noel had with his girlfriend Carly
in a nice place run by the Unitarian Church

thanks to my cross-cultural connection
menstruation didn’t win the election
I got in an argument
inside of a tent
my late Uncle God
was in such an anti-tax mood

Jewish & Muslim women never hesitate
to reach for the last beer
and sometimes in academia an Asian woman
wearing an orange-pink T-shirt came
and greeted her Asian girlfriend

back to the verdant landscape of strip malls
Vancouver is far
from western Massachusetts

I saw a black-and-white picture of a cow
that had been flattened against a rock
repeated over and over

no decent guy beats up his girlfriend
and then buys her a chocolate orange


                        for Richard Greene

words are not the food of owls
polar bears’ fur is not white
so you should not think that they are strong like God

stray kittens from the pinewoods gulp the form
adults recycle the mice back into the mythology
to extract the juices from one unique characteristic that is not shared
they have signs posted that tell us not to throw loads of owls

it would seem that instinctive recognition of acorns
reflects the views of the developers of the unit
specifically Maine-relevant news not being publicized
does not reflect finger puppets of owls and moles

the words are chosen to provide users with the same object
such a great talker could not fail to this stuffy hole

understand these things I am telling you
this is not a book about the contents of the stomachs of owls in particular
go your way for the words are closed up

there are many more stories out there
not all end the same way
the library near my house is a Starbucks and that is not good


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