Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Poem for Lyn Hejinian

                                                               Close laptop; close.
                                                               To elder ways I must return.
                                                               To stylus and tabula.
                                                               To searing the forehead with numbered brands.

A secret secretes its truth;
There is no truth if it is not a secret.
"Arrant prose" said H. James of Whitman.
Arrant prose it is then, with respects to both.
In the beginning was an infinitesmally compact burst of meaning into memory.
The cosmos are prostituted
But creation is eternally a first love.
You can find a way to say anything,
Except you can't say it just any way.
Holy books may still be written.
Knowledge is to understand, not think.
These pretty aphorisms jumbled together.
Poiesis is life and Anamnesis is death.
This is a most sublime abomination we live.
Ebonics is an unique behavioral unity-in-diaspora
that is better to not imperialize with sameness any more.
Hegel's archive is a bad infinity.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


of Maxwell Owen Clark

See only yourself seeing.
So then no hands on us.
You have forever broken our trust.
Your eyeful lust is our disgust;---trust!

Quiet! Receive.
This is not me,
Except that it is.

Friday, November 10, 2017

That the Meaning is Not a Knowledge

of Maxwell Clark

Open scissors grammar. Close opening.
Doubtlessness my ineluctable election.
Direct saying yet unhidden secretions.
No reading is better than the writing.
Chocked with imports missed by you.
The web-weaving or the being caught?
Do no indentation that is not cool.
The way people write too carefully.
I am more sublime than I am pretty.
I will never deny you this line here.
Then what do you write us as next?
Hello again. Or did you disappear?

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Father Bernstein

of Maxwell Owen Clark

There is something about Charles Bernstein's poetry that defies explanation, exposition, elucidation, summation, generalization, communication, representation, method, system, totalization. There may even be more than one something about him that is like this. The point is that I absolutely do not know. I believe Charles's poetry is better off left alone then, to speak for itself---of course. Even if I laurelled him with a gush of superlative venerations about his poems, which, by the way, he deserves---that would be wrong! To demonstrate this thesis of mine, an experiment: try and find a quotation in Bernstein that could be used as an epigraph for an essay or book. I myself can't seem to do it. Even though I desire to. Indeed, have repeatedly tried to. But at this, I must immediately remark that this inability to excerpt a quotable aphorism from his text is no sign of its weakness. It is indeed an element of the great innovative contributions Bernstein has made to literature and beyond. The tissues of his poemata are set in so pataqueerically as to more or less successfully interrupt his easy quotation. He doesn't want to be lazily skimmed by just anyone, you hear?! Bernstein, with enormous rigor---I mean with some kind of especially bent drive, has closed-off all the lazy short-cuts, etc., that would integrate him anywhere near the pith of the massive consumerist spectacle. He refuses to be assimilated into the herd. Any poet deserving of the name is indeed a sheperd and not otherwise.

 I remember the first time I read Charles. Content's Dream was sitting there in the stacks of a library, spine out, displaying itself. I would notice it in the midst of my tracking down Amiri Baraka every once in a while. The alphabetical order of their last names brought them very close together in this library. I remember I had seen it there a couple of times before, each time with increasing wonder. Content's Dream, eh? Eventually I was lured to open it. I had never read such things before! The limited texts of Baraka then available to me got pretty "out" at times, but this was positively bent. It was if the pages were glowing. In the reference points then available to me, I might have characterized it as "Baraka plus Derrida". In any case, because I didn't have a card to this community college library I was regularly haunting, I requested it be transferred to the local public library. And it was. And I checked it out. It almost became like an extra appendage for a week or two.

 Then I found his Electronic Poetry Center website! That was it. I was home. Here was some "secret store" of knowledge as I had read of in P.B. Shelley. I will access that website until either it or me dies. The archival work of Bernstein though! This is one reason why I use the word poesy so much! Poets don't just write poems. The very "doing" (poesy) of their lives are their art. Bernstein has archive fever in the best way. He is full or partial sovereign, if you will, over many immensely massive websites. He attends to the graves of the elders. He is a respectful man.

 I forget how I got his UPenn mailing address, but eventually I sent him a hardcopy print-out of my juvenile work MASSIF: a protocol for my eulogy. I believe he responded by email, and that was that. It is an absurdly one-sided email correspondence we have kept since then. I bombard him with whatever welter of expressions I happen to have, and once a month or so he writes a sentence or two back. I feel safe expressing myself to him though. He seems to read me quite a bit.

 I read his books, then I read them again, then I read them again. They are reference points for me. They function as a sort of anchor for me in my aesthetic meanderings. His voice spoke to me, has even directly addressed me by name of late, through his texts, like an elective father or voluntarily obeyed master. I love his voice. It has this sonority I associate with Yiddish patois, as sharing its sort of nebulously distinctive trait. It's hard to explain in the properly respectful terms it deserves because of the micrologically subtle linguistic patterns of abuse heaped against it by the bigoted members of various different ethnic groups. If I must, however, I will say it: it is a sort of "whine". But a more subtle or musical whine, more playful and curved, not entirely unlike the style of feminine vocals in Hindu musics. The only way to appreciate it is to find as many Yiddish derived people as you possibly can and have friendly conversations with them, preferrably including humorous anecdotes and such. Posthence you may even also begin to realize that Bernstein has a really quite geo-linguistically distinct version of the Yiddish accent. I am not properly apprised at the moment of exactly where its from, otherwise than NYC, but if you've ever heard Charles's son Felix speak you will recognize it is of a very peculiar ethnic inheritance they carry in themselves.

 I've met Charles in person only three times in my life. The first time was at a memorial for the Russian poet Arkaadi Dragomoshchenko. I got there way early, as per usual, having travelled from New Haven to NYC to meet the revered legend and living giant Charles Bernstein. Guess who else did too? Charles! Suddenly we had someone snap a classic photo of us together on my cellphone. And was it that among my opening lines to him were: "you're my Bloomian father"? I forget his response, something to the effect of "please don't kill me then". It was so rushed. The next time I visited him was at his own beautiful residence somewhere in Brooklyn. I remember cringing with joy when he came to open the door, even looking up and away for a moment, in disbelief that I was to now meet again with my veritable hero among the living. I've never had such a good conversation as the one I had with Charles that day. He was like a best friend, who you can just confide yourself to. The third meeting was unfortunate, and painful to recall. I will repress it for now, except to say it did nothing to affect the strength of our friendship and collaboration---was merely too brief and too hemmed in by the institution at which it took place.

 I feel my poetry repeats Charles's too closely sometimes. Charles is always thirty or so cycles, as he may or may not have put it once, ahead of me. If anyone is silly enough to be looking for a generic statement of methodical interest about how Charles's poetry affected mine, however, here: somewhere in the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E journal Charles writes about the "systematic derangement" of our inherited grammars. That always stood out for me as a rallying cry. Grammar is important to study, but only in order to juke it out, transcend it, make it otherwise. I feel I owe any new derangement of our grammars I may have achieved as of yet in my life a significant nod to Bernstein's influence. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Power of Energy is Real to Me a Very Lot

of Maxwell Owen Clark

At last the power of energy is finally come to me for me to have.
This powerful energy is invincible in totally every way.
Nobody can believe it but it is too true.
I can run faster, jump higher!
You cannot defeat me.
I am playing silly for this poet guy who is watching us do this to him.
Did you know? The energy of power is equal to the dominion of heaven.
The energetic blasts of power I emit cause you to submit before me.
Did you know? Power is to have the energy of power because infinity.
How infinity goes is the power to energize my blasts.
Blast you! Blast you! Hey, I blasted you! Hey, hey, blasted you.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Methodical Orthodoxy Indoctrination System

of Maxwell Owen Clark

Do however you are doing and then you will since before you were worried about this.
I unfurling hide timelessness away from time prepositions exploitation.
I winds breathe I crazes sleekly spuming.
Markers clack spins two but so more.
Counts no representative, countings express infinition.
This is simply rich and well-fed.
I the secret to the uttermost.
Absolute salience of the commandative.
Denial hurts too much.
Just was it that in the doing of it was just that which is this?
We are writing this in my name.
Zeus throngs torchers, lookout!
Cannot it not be so as this? please?
I never know.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Order of Madness

A strange polemic now rages at all the oblique angles and in every
margin of the indirect registers of social discourse, it is a struggle
with the idea of madness. No doubt this is my own subjective
misinterpretation of things, owing in part to my own clinical stigma
and its oppressions, but the truth remains that a stupid combat over
the idea of madness is now mounting in our general intellect.

Stupid, as in those who cannot interpret any reasonable order in
madness are stupid. Absent ability to reason with madness, or in being
irrational about madness, such stupidity is an act of oppression. Any
failure to interpret the order in madness is already a stigmatic act.

To stigmatize madness implicitly presupposes a suppression of its
reasonable order. All the various lies are built up around this
implicit censorship of the actual reason and order in madness.
Suppression and censorship of anything at all, even something
seemingly as incorporeal as speech, in turn implicitly presuppose a
real and corporeal violence, or its effective threat. To secure the
press which enables you to censor rational interpreters of madness the
collaboration of a police force is required. Imagine, without the
police to guard your press, a bunch of crazies might disrupt the
serenity of its editorial censoring out the truth of their lives!

An entire voodoo of stigma is disclosed in the following generic case
of a clinical diagnosis with madness: before the doctor’s papers to
commit him were signed the patient was not involuntarily and
indefinitely imprisoned in a mental hospital, after the doctor gave
his signature to these papers the patient was imprisoned in this
barbaric manner. Clinical and otherwise stigmatic discourses have
practical effects, all of which are related to organized violence. To
stigmatize madness, in addition to suppressing its rational character,
thus also entails an open act or effective threat of violence against
the mad.

If I have a particular enemy, I no longer call him a “faggot”, because
our struggle for sexual liberation has progressed to the point where
we now understand this word is not only a threat of violence against
the enemy but a form of indiscriminately oppressing all the sexually
oppressed. A similar logic applies to the certain oppressive names we
call the mad, but there is no proper and respectful name for madness
in the end. A far more important set of guidelines for regulating
discourse on the mad might be this:

1.      Never believe that madness is not rationally ordered, nor that
reason is immune to madness. To set Madness apart from Reason as its
enemy in war is a false contrary, or tactic of dividing and therein
ruling over the universal solidarity of all those who struggle against

2.       Madness is not inherently violent, it is violated. To divide the
mad from normal society and into their apartheid ghettoes requires the
myth of their being mortal enemies of anyone sane, or able to become
that way at any moment. The primary signifier of this enmity unto
death now probably being “irrationalism”, as in: that schizophrenic
who killed a politician was definitely “irrational” (meanwhile
soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are our “heroes”). I’m not defending
any individual or otherwise terrorist activities on the part of the
mad, however, as I’d prefer us to organize in the ranks only of far
more universal and effective bodies of violence against all those far
more partial bodies and wills whose violence organizes for everyone a
life lived under constant threat of death. The names they curse us
with are different, but the death they summon against us is the same
for all.

3.      Madness is not a corporeal disability. There is nothing
scientifically localizable about our bodies which classify all of us
as mad. Madness is an incorporeal discourse of stigma which effects
the threat of death. Madness is punishment for bad behavior. If there
is anything that truly distinguishes every mad person from every sane
person, and therefore I exclude all those discriminatory and
oppressive differences between our institutional subjections and
everything following on them as worse than false, it is perhaps only
this: the mad can’t really behave as proper subjects of the capitalist
state. Interpreting the rational order of madness begins solidly with
this insight. It is also a warning as to the immediate limits that
will forever be met by struggles to reform the oppression of madness
within the state, which will never eradicate the essential
death-threat character of state violence against the mad nor the
organized institutional apartheid of the mad from the normal.

As you do unto the least of us, so do you unto me. Madness is not the
mortal enemy of reason or normalcy or whatever else is included in
that entire series of false oppositions; it is the mortal enemy of its
oppressors in the state and whatever other private enterprises
facilitate this oppression, along with all other oppressed minorities
past, present, and future. Madness does not reign, it has never
reigned, it probably cannot ever reign – pure madness being something
like a profound inability reign over anything, even the self. Madness
also has a just reason to be so disordered as a type of subjectivity:
it essentially tends to refuse any subjection over itself. The mad are
perhaps particularly insightful in this even, that they recognize even
their mode of subjective existence is an imposition and a lie. The
subjectivity of madness is not that of the privately individual
subject constituted through the death-inspired rituals of state as in
its governance of obligations in the marketplace. And so on, this is
already suggestive enough I think.

---Knowledge and Power

What is the reason for thinking? It facilitates mastery over nature,
including mastery over our species. Mastery is won, with thinking, but
not in thinking alone, in the struggle to death. All mortals are
slaves to death, which is the way of nature. We think about things we
are struggling to death with, in order to help master them. Thought is
a weapon and a tool. It is real and in the world. As voice and as
writing thoughts may leave from and arrive to the body. In this
passage to other bodies thought struggles to master them, as in
reading or hearing others struggle to master us. To ask "if any master
is a good master" is futile, because mastery cannot be good nor can it
be evil in its truest sense, and the words good and evil are weapons
and tools of master itself -- mastery explains the ethics of good and
evil in every instance, ethics cannot then think mastery in its truth.
To think of a thing is to threaten it with death. Dialogue is conflict
without any resolution except the death of the other. To be mastered
does not always means the death of our bodies. To be mastered in
censorship means the death of one's own thinking. Mastering often
preserves life in the promise of death to the thinking which
facilitates life. A promise of death is a future of death, and this
future death rules and organizes everything morals do. When mortals
promise death to another, in thinking or speaking or writing to them,
they assume the place of nature to the other, and become the law which
organizes their life entirely. I hasten to remark that these sharp
cuts between ideas are negotiated in a middling in the real. It is a
making peace in that it defers the death of the mastered into the
future, making it a law in the place of nature to order their being.
Peace is deferred death of the mastered that orders its being. Do not
suppose any mastery is complete except in complete death. I struggle
to master myself and my implements in this writing. Suicide is the
folly of total self-mastery. Death gives order to mortals, orders from
nature and from mortals. Death is a taking away of the mortal in their
mortality. In taking away it is a dispossession and an economics.
After being taking away from mortality there remains only immortality
in a being. There is no real giving or gift in death and mastery. To
give voice to another, because a part of mastery, is really to take
away the other's mastery. To represent in words is to take away
mastery. I master my audience with words that threaten their death,
but usually they are stronger it seems. To master with death is taking
away of the other's mastery, which is never given back -- only

To think of madness is to conquer it. I do not want a lot of thought
about madness therefore. Only enough to communicate a deferred death
to my audience that orders them not to think madness. My words act out
what they prohibit. I forget that madness has always been a part of
mastery. The mad threaten mastery itself with death. To master mastery
means the death of death. It means the death of thinking and speaking
and writing thus also. It is the suicide of self-mastery acted out on
the scale of being itself. The death of being as mastery means the
death of all beings, their being taken away. When being is taken away
then nothing is immortal.