For Brigit Pegeen Kelly

I often felt like writing to her, but, in general, I don’t write to people I care about often enough, I don’t call the people I love often enough.

I was fortunate to have had Professor Kelly–as I still feel I should call her (though I think she would prefer just Brigit)–as my first poetry workshop leader as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the spring of 2003. I was a foolish boy from the cornfields with a love of language; I was lonely and depressive; and I was failing out of jazz inprovisation and trumpet performance in the School of Music when I entered her class. For the next year or so, I spoke almost every week with her in her office in the top floor of the English building about poetry, religion, literature, life. I remember walking her to her car one evening. I remember her lending me the published diary of a (Swiss? Czech?) writer from the 40s that contained sketches of stories about marionettes and woodsmen–I still cannot remember the author or the book.

I am not good at remembering or telling stories, so forgive me.

I write this with a deep but gentle sadness welling in my face and flushing through my limbs, because through the short time in my life that I knew her, she influenced me profoundly as an example of openness, generosity, compassion, and deep wisdom. Her poetry is nothing like what I write or work on, but it has a beauty and mystery that has always touched and warmed my too often inhuman core. When I read it, I think of her and how kind she was to speak to me all of those days. It never felt like I was an irritation, and it was always a true exchange, and I have always wished to be like that with my own students and in my own conversations.

The last time I saw Brigit was in 2009 when she gave a reading at Wabash College in Indiana. For some reason I do not remember her reading her own poems there too vividly, perhaps because I was already so familiar with them. “Dead Doe” was always a favorite of mine and my poetry students at Purdue. Another favorite has always been “Pipistrelles.”  There is a sort of spell they cast, so perhaps I was too intoxicated by them. What I remember is her reading from Wallace Steven’s “The Auroras of Autumn,” which I had never read or heard. She made it beautiful.

This isn’t very eloquent, and I’m losing track of what I am trying to do here. What am I trying to do here? I just want to say that it was her kindness and sadness that I treasure most, through my interactions with her and through her poetry, and my life and the world have both been made better for them. I feel an emptiness and a loss knowing she is gone, but I feel her impression in that same space, that helps me to understand what is good in this world.

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The mind, not poetry, is a machine made of words. FML.

There is something that must be done and undone. I am writing a way in. I have not been earnest enough honest enough. I have not been forthright.

What is bottled up will not burn right. It melts, cracks, explodes. It makes a big mess of things. I do not want a mess really. I want fuel, air. I want ash.

Except for my love I do not know what I should care about. And it is not my love, and I do not need to care for it. It wells up and fades out and when I am aware of it I am a milk jug rolling and bobbing on the waves of it.

There is nothing more satisfying than a good fuck, a deep fuck. Something should be sore after, and something should be knocked loose—something hard to pin down, that should not stay where it was.

I brought them outside and washed them with the hose. In rainbows.

Writing can take it out of me and make it visible, but what it becomes is a sham. Was it a sham when it was still inside me? And when the air and sunlight and water of the world touches it, what will be left of it? The world eats everything. It is always hungry.

Fourteen hours and twenty-seven minutes and forty-one seconds have passed. Mostly without me.

Sometimes I do not wash the stink off of me. I am a dirty animal too.

Before there was a decision there was a moment. Of confusion? Of peace? Of innocence? Before I got lost on the better route, I saw where I was and wept for the brutality of it. I knew where I was.

Two roads diverge in a forest. I run crashing through the bush and thorns.

Returning and rerunning, retreading the path, rewinding the tape. Reposting the repast, repelling and rappelling. But not rapping. I leave that to the masters.

“There is no authority in one or others.” — Leslie Scalapino.

“I write for myself and others.” — Gertrude Stein.

I will write to the end of myself and others, and there is no succeeding.

Don’t ask me to explain because I do not understand it.

I thought of writing The Bewilderness Survival Guide, but I do not think it can be survived. I waste away to nothing in my bewilderness.

Earlier this week I thought of a digital art project. Participants would have their bodies and faces scanned to create 3D game characters which would then star in an unending series of animated death scenarios. They would watch their bodies choking, starving, having a stroke, dying from infection, malnutrition, dehydration, exposure, being mangled, shot, blown up, slashed, stabbed, hacked, burned, crushed, brutalized, hit by cars, buses, falling satellites, eaten by roaches and wolves and sharks—fatally wounded in every conceivable way on a projection screen.

I want to watch this for myself. I want to participate. I want to see my imaginary deaths pile up before my eyes. I want to know what I would think and feel then.

I mean to be morbid but this is just my positivity shining through. Not obsession but its antidote.

New Chapbook, same: a Stein Reader, is up at Beard of Bees

same-stein-wreader-cover

same: a Stein wreader @ Beard of Bees Press (Free PDF download)

After five years of work, my own Stein Poems project (GNBLFY Jackson Mac Low) is finally complete and published for your viewing pleasure. same: a Stein wreader was written with the Gnoetry and jGnoetry interactive poetry tools; it draws upon the writings of Getrude Stein along with several other source texts (philosophical and Buddhist texts primarily) to construct poems that (I hope) draw closer to the heart of being living.

The chapbook is free, so download it, read it, encourage others to download and read it. Every unique download counts!

My notes section says everything (probably a lot more) than you may care to know about the project and its inception, so I won’t repeat it here.

I hope you will enjoy it and engage with it. I feel writing it has enriched my life; I hope it may do the same for readers too.

While your’re at it, view all of my chapbooks with Beard of Bees.

Poem: Recognizing Fuck

So my newly installed speech-to-text dictation software seems to think I would never use a dirty word like fuck. WTF! I decided to say it over and over and see how much it would bend to not swear. Here’s the result.

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talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talking
funky folk Fox Fox Fox funky Falk Falk thought Fox talking
the fogging folk funk of the Fox funky funky folk and mother bucking bucking for folks
mother for folk funk for talk funk a duck in a truck luck
a flock of flock and flick and flax flux Fox 40 flick
flex birds and bees Fox Henry’s knees why can’t you just right Falk
Faulkner Norfolk you think I don’t mean to say Falk but I say Falk all the time
buck this Falk that funky you work so hard to not write talk ship mother Fokker
mother Fokker mother Fokker mother focus mode for that mother for that mother
thought that mother thought that mother funky mother talk
funk is a beautiful word in the English language
Falk is a beautiful word in the English language
buck is a beautiful word in the English language
flock is a beautiful word in the English language for people Falk talk funky Falk Falk
Blank block Falk blank Falk Falk blank blankety-blank Falk funky blank Falk funky Falk blank Falk a bank

LINEmaker : a concrete poem maker written in Processing 2

Click here for LINEmaker

LINEmaker is the fruit of my labor to move my concrete poem series LINES from OpenOffice, where I was using the advanced font settings to create poems from letters smashed closely together (and taking advantage of some of OpenOffice’s glitches with this). Here are two of my favorite New LINES poems: line-010813

New-LINES-HarkThe program takes this basic idea, but adds more interaction and options. It was coded in Processing and exported to javascrpt.

To use LINEmaker, you must first click in the canvas area to begin writing, then you can move the mouse horizontally to expand/condense the font spacing and vertically to adjust the transparency of the text.

Here are some screenshots from LINEmaker:

131114_185514_19692131114_185934_35270131114_144858_33795 131114_134325_1151

Click here for LINEmaker

Enjoy!

Article on Gnoetry up at the Sycamore Review Blog

Read this explanation of the Gnoetry 0.2 program and my writing process + aesthetic with it: Confessions of a Cyborg Poet: Gnoetry, eRoGK7, and Human-Computer Poetry Generation @ Sycamore Review Blog.

Writing with Gnoetry is like playing a game called “What is the best poem you can sculpt from this language?” Since I approach it as though it was a game or puzzle, it makes me feel less like the author of the poems I create through it—less an owner and more a participant—so I feel much freer to experiment and less anxious about writing about sensitive or possibly offensive subjects.

]] and other 9/11 works is Published and Free to Download

Now out from Beard of Bees Press, my collection of “otherwise” poetry, ]] and other 9/11 works, addressing 9/11 in three distinct works which were composed in concert with Google Search, Gnoetry 0.2, and Google News, respectively. The note explains the process and establishes some context for each work.

I hope you will download it, read it, and engage with the political and human issues it raises.

And maybe enjoy it a little too 8~)

Post-human Poetry Anthology (call for submissions)

I have come to accept that I am a cyborg. My writing with Gnoetry 0.2 (as the cyborg eRoGK7) has reprogrammed my brain now so I work almost exclusively with a prosthetic imagination. And I just got an Android phone, which might be making me crazy (on top of already being made stupid by Google). So there you have it. We’re all fucked, right? Who knows.

Two M.F.A. candidates at the University of Minnesota have created a website to call for submissions for An Anthology of Post-Human Poetry. Deadline Jan. 1. Among other things, the anthology is:

…seeking to publish poetry that participates in technological, biological, representational, sexual, political and theoretical posthumanisms.

…looking for poetry that engages with or is written by animals, beasts, monsters, creatures, aliens, cyborgs, modal-perspectives, and dark-subjectivities that push beyond and undermine “the human.”

Very exciting! I’ll be submitting!