Skip to main content

From "Moths" (1999)

Part One: Ip
Many of these lyrics were published by Shearsman in modified versions for which many thanks to the editor


I’dve had to’ve been seen to be clean I want it!
who to you stop me a certain detergency
lichtung soap fall from my hair
a tree shaken by the intervention of chocolate
which puts me off along a corrected course
ing down in a foam up on a heel spine
it must be now im-
mediate no branching off will take us
(on either side water washing over stone beaches)
I do all the real work you are as blunt as a
heel I am sharp as a wife gets to be
slavering bubbling shipwreck of stars
it’s bars works on us left regardless
blind as soap worms over salt-eyed bats
puts forward as it’s indivisible like sand is
all darkness is included in the visible anyway
on a bird’s back or candy in a box kinda
is you want it my children dressed

industrial inertia

we’ll stand where the river
bend shout across to
industry—all is still stuff
let’s hold hands step in and sell
flotsam will turn swift profit
skim over mayjune flies a
trolley gleaming in the gold of gloom
“like the angle of cornwall whose high rhinoceros is yielding the far fences have fallen”
jetsam is beaching the barriers
sparrows are scheming we are harried
what will troll all night long
who can keep what we can’t cook
later on the brow of a heap of stuff
we are set about splitting it up
between us once nothing was
the profit one gets from being so nourished
lonely people wander off flat spheres
you have becoming nested by what was gathered


I’ll go on
shall I?
sharpening is this good pencil
listening was the whisky bell
thin strains in the enclosure on the
go on
shall I?
flit flit
moonlit lid
to on all of this
moth of your gaze
on in me
is like music is
is it the pressure it is
in on us
our quarter zone
you you and me
whatever it is coming
there is here after 3
oh yeah if it rings that’s
the signal is it it is
go on in &

put it out if its mizeria

mizeria is so peel a cucumber is
as to cut a scallion or
as to mix and cover ire
went with soured cream from a thickened bottle
when I remember a sky you are looking at it then
will you ever look at it now and again now?
the rooftops are novel
tale of a waistband to the lake canto
of evening out of dayintonight
this is the flat balcony isthmus
that mutual desire we eat from attenuates
pain bowls not from each other
this was the sign—love it or is it strange or is it difficult it can’t be be both the strange the unfamiliar is the easy part it’s the knowing the knowing looks like there was a limit to discovery we got over that but will we ever yet get over getting over?
yesterday clumsy rap of the best sheltering
and what is a thick bottle if not the left off message?
shilly-shally in the shallowed depth field
a salad of disaster don’t mix it rather spread it out

things to do

be aware
the crumple leaf last spring has seen the arc which is rare and taken from its account the colours of resurgence as if to prove that water comes from nowhere but its own will to be
be open
the corrugated roof endures spring has seen the rim which is loose and taken from its story the bias of a rise as if to show that dwelling is a condition of moving towards an impossible alliance
make contacts
the lean too is a martyr to suspension has seen the thin line which has been under done and taken from its people
mix a little
the nuances of rebirth as if to show that a boat can be oared across platinum ripples endless as the quench├ęd sun raw as dew-wetted evening taking a direction from the tints
I urge you to
make notes


Popular posts from this blog

John Ashbery, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror

John Ashbery, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror
(Manchester: Carcanet, 1977)
First Published (New York: Viking, 1975)

Close Readings and annotations of every poem in the collection March-April 1997 in preparation for In the Process of Poetry: The New York School and the Avant-Garde (Bucknell UP, 2001)


· Shoptaw notes that this return to poetry is dominated by images of waiting, that narrative (especially fairy-tale) returns, as do the musically based titles, there are no prose poems and no fixed forms such as sonnets of pantoums, most are free verse paragraphs, also bring forward a new American speech, more direct and inclusive.

“As One Put Drunk into a Packet-Boat”, 1-2

· Shoptaw notes this was the original title for the collection, marking a self-consciously Romantic return to poetry, recording the thoughts of “I” from afternoon to night, just outside a childhood country home. Has a pastoral crisis narrative in that a summer storm gathers but passes leaving the poet relieved i…

Deleuze, Difference and Repetition

For a long time I have felt that poetics has not taken into consideration a great deal written about issues pertaining to difference and repetition to be found in contemporary philosophy. As poetry's whole energy and dynamic is based on a fundamental relation to differential versus repeated units of sense (sense both in terms of meaning and the sensible), any work on difference and repetition would be welcome. That some of the greatest thinkers of the age, notably Deleuze and Derrida, have made both issues core to their whole philosophical systems is so remarkable that poetics is impoverished if it does not fully acknowledge this.

Not that I am one to talk. Although I am aware of the centrality of Deleuze's work to postmodern poetry, I have as yet not been able to really address this but in Poetry Machines I began that work at least. In preparation for the few hundred words I wrote there, here are the 10,000 words I annotated in preparation.

Deleuze, Gilles. Difference and …

Frank O'Hara, Collected Poems pp.201-300 Annotated

Frank O’Hara, Collected Poems
(Berkeley, Cal.: University of California Press, 1995)
Pages 201-300

Close Readings and annotations of every poem in the collection September 1997 in preparation for In the Process of Poetry: The New York School and the Avant-Garde (Bucknell UP, 2001)

Frank O’Hara “In the Movies”, 206-209

· interesting that this poem has not been picked up by the critics for it is an easy point to indicate the importance of films in O'Hara’s aesthetic indicating the dissolves, cuts and montage effects he has been credited with and whilst I do not like to appropriate analogous terms in this fashion the montage of O'Hara is easily distinguishable form the collage of Ashbery in that here it is the movement from image to image in an attempt at seamlessness, a basic synaesthesia of subject in the now of consciousness.
· in addition to the basic aesthetic implications of this use of films there are also certain other issues that he raises here but does not really…