Monday, February 22, 2010

Brandon Brown

from the Poems Of Gaius Valerius Catullus


This boat you’re videotaping. You’re looking at a boat. Despite your protests that you are looking at a translation of the fourth poem in the corpus of Catullus, I assure you you are looking at this boat. Lots of bad things battered this boat. Forget about volunteering to swab its lintels. This boat denies it was minced in the Adriatic. It denies that it lit up the Cyclades with an all night buck and spill. Rhodes is horrible, noble, Thracian. Proponents of Rhodes call truce though might be their sinuses. Where this boat is is post-boat. The word for this boat is phaselus. A phaselus was a rather long and narrow vessel, named for its resemblance to a kidney bean. This boat was built for speed. Yet this boat is sort of fragile. Lots of bad things battered this boat from the beginning of its life to now. You state it’s cracked, but I tell you to go put your stupid hands in the water. Say it again. The boat frets about its impotence, falls over dead.  The boat sucks lava dexterously; yes, this boat is right-handed. Its aura smokes cigarettes, looks up at Jupiter out there in space, and its beams moist. What happens below deck, and involves feet, stays below deck. I’m not literally pointing out this boat to you, I’m writing a poem about the boat in limping trimeters. But this is a fact: botulism is sad.  Noobs lurch toward a limpid coast. And before them stands a boat, a beautiful old boat looking like a kidney bean built for speed. It sits there quiet and old, looking over the lake and thinking this lake is really limpid. The noobs all have twins.


Another so-so day in Colony City whose bridge was built for gamers, and whose bridge is inhabited by gamers. Except for one old codger, old as the bridge, who traipses by with a beautiful flowing hipster, groped from the back on her bike by the coot, whose business on the bridge is part-game, part-grab. Drool slides down his jowls but also ends up in his eyes. He’s blinded by saliva. The cougar coaxes pup into his claws and there is soft petting. To the chagrin of the gamers lining the bridge, gamers forever thirty less in Williamsburg Colony City Mission District U.S.A. chucking burned change at drunk Santa or screaming Lucy in the park. The crank goes puma, fondles the little lovely. Old dog head catches cat, claims to be a doctor for cat. And Catullus wants to catapult the fellow into the tender kidling. Just kidding. Catullus calls for the citizens to catapult the codger into the river. Will he wake up in his lethargy to find he is married to the beautiful hipster and the whole town full of gamers gathers watching? What is hipster runoff? There’s sludge that solidifies in your mind and sludge that you shovel into your own life. Catullus, laughing in Colony City. Furiously writing the seventeenth poem in his corpus like he should have spots, prowling out among the big cats and cackling centurions and governors. I came across this beautiful flannel-wearing hipster…the stress on your heart, old man, I just don’t think it’s worth it.

Brandon Brown is a poet. In 2008, TAXT press published Camels! In 2010, he self published three chapbooks: Tooth Fairy, The Orgy, and Your Mom's A Falconress and Other Poems. He co-curated the Performance Writing series at New Langton Arts, The (New) Reading Series at 21 Grand gallery, and publishes small press books under the imprint OMG!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Christine Hume

From “The Saturation Project”

(after Karlheinz Shockhausen’s Hymnen and David Hume’s “missing shade of blue”)

Cadmium red: Because this is the color I imagine my living human insides to be—warm, muscular, and toxic—it is a color I have not yet fully experienced. Once upon a blotted-out time, cadmium was a magnetized pole of in-out. It remains an involuntary projection, a screen behind closed eyes instantaneously evoked when I imagine my gruesome death. Once my insides are brought to light—like an ancient fresco buried under a church floor—the color immediately disintegrates.

Scarlet Lake: Swim in it all day, and get out glazed. You are sleeping or swimming, either way inside an ancient aquatic state. Fuck in the lake that dusk and pleasure shadows you but will not stay in your body as you walk home, side by side in a blue funk.

Alizarin crimson: Dark, transparent trance of reading for the first time. My mind hot and frothy under the spell.  When I look up from my book, my grandmother is holding a flashcard. The word in red. “I don’t know,” I say, “alizarin crimson.” She keeps holding it up, looking at me: “YET.”

Vermilion: Intense red made from sulfur and mercury. Prone to turning black in sunlight. When one day I call my shirt “dusty rose,” my older brother insists it’s “vermillion.” I chalk it up to a version of male colorblindness until adults take his side. Even then, it took a paint swatch to convince me. My brother’s favorite color had always been blue, pitting his will against mine. How could it be that I failed to perceive the color I love best in the world? What is the corrective to see what I want? What is the treatment to see what’s there? What human affliction: the blindness toward affinity and love.

Brick: It is a reserve red; one we know exists, but are saving for an emergency. Like all reds, it doesn’t lighten it pinks. If pinking shears minimize the fray, this red is the cruel radiance of afraid.

Flame: I have benefited from being fired more than once. Though you might think it pathetic, I was fired from my first five jobs (in Mt. Gretna, PA; London, England; and State College, PA). Each time I took a new form and acquired special potencies. An afterburn  glow. Firing enlarged and multiplied my senses, then contracted them powerfully. I don’t whine and cry when I don’t get what I want, I know how to steal.

Carmine: As a child: attempts to make all food a shiny vibrant attractor by covering it with ketchup. As a teenager: rising out of tasks to walk toward the animal, thus transmuting the body into full floridity: estrus, fresh meat, and red wine puked out of a moving window.

Rose madder: Transparent. The startling yolk of an egg I crack into a morning bowl. A train going by prolongs the moment: a yolk of red leather, a red leather yoke. Put a small dot of red yolk on your forehead as menstruating women once did in China.

Quinacridone red: Mix with Payne's grey for a dull purple. Also known as permanent rose, red rose, permanent magenta. I was bleeding the first time I slept with the nonhusband. After sex, I assumed sleep postures, packed tightly between two large dogs on his twin bed, and waited for light. I wasn’t sure who was snoring in the dark, or where my clothes had landed. Having no tampons with me, I thought to leave a note on my way out. I found my coat on the kitchen floor and put it on, hoping to hide the blood. This was the coat I had spent all my prize money for: knee-length, high collared black shearling. I pocketed my hands, but they shot right through to my thighs. I headed for the door, wanting to get outside before I look. His dogs had eaten out both pockets.

Venetian red: Reminds us that anything may turn red. Certain foxes, pandas, squirrels, and jellyfish; male cardinals; cooked lobsters; the neck of the largest wallaby; the nose of a mandrake; a mandrill’s ass; the second horse of the Apocalypse.

Burnt Sienna: Dear Ms. Hume: The HIV/AIDS Notification Service is a voluntary organization based at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, which works with people who have recently tested positive for the Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV). One of our purposes is to provide confidential health care information. The other is to notify those who have been sexually active with someone who has recently tested positive for HIV.

Your name was submitted to our organization, for possible contraction of HIV. Someone you have ha sexual contact with, has tested positive for the Human Immune Deficiency Virus, and has requested our services as a means of anonymously informing all past and present sexual partners of their possible contraction.

This is a notification of complete anonymity. Therefore, we are unable to provide you with the name of the person who has contracted HIV and submitted your name to us. We recommend that you be tested as soon as possible, as early detection is one of the best defenses. Because of the serious nature of this life threatening illness, we want to make sure all relevant parties, including your husband are informed.

We are truly sorry for what you and your family are now facing, but take hope in the fact that people are now living longer, healthier, normal lives, in spite of being HIV positive.

The Volunteers of the HIV/AIDS Notification Service

Indian red: The words drop so fast I can't pick them up. Tips of matches with their quick gigantic life.

Christine Hume is the author of three books of poetry—most recently Shot (Counterpath, 2009). She is coordinator of the interdisciplinary Creative Writing Program at Eastern Michigan University. Every Sunday at 8 p.m. (EST), she hosts Poetry Radio, which features contemporary and historic sound art, performance art, sound poetry, collaborations between writers and musicians, student work, audio narratives, and sound poetry. Today listen in for a special Valentine Day's show:  or when you are more in the mood, listen to the podcast at iTunes 

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Jared Stanley


Hold your wits
up to any light - you might see him.

Hold your hand
over page or screen

over sheet or flag.
Use a cinematic gesture.

Obscure the gazelle-like information
the dream data confers.

You might seem forgotten.
You might mistake him for seen.

He’s having all his body parts
returned to him via

the imitation of something that doesn’t exist
so he can reject all the other

plain decorous effusions
these lice, this night, these stars.

Together, we could send letters
up to the moon’s touch - a “p.”

No, it lacks a certain severity
salt in the groundwater

reflected off the oceans
off the diffuse brown moon.


Wind sets you free
books set you free
fun, it seems still.

Oh fire, no, not yet, don't—
brush me with your tunic.

In my fingerless gloves
blood squirts on my halo.

Put your zealous face on.
I'll have clouds
shrouding my torso, thanks.

There will now be some supernatural paper
There will now be a miniature america.

a split fig look
seeds' nanosyllabic writing

seeds' ubiquitous Victoriana.
What to do about liberation?

Jared Stanley was born in Arizona and raised in California, where he lives to this day. He's the author of Book Made of Forest and the chapbooks The Outer Bay, I Something Scott Inguito You and In Fortune (w/Lauren Levin and Catherine Theis). He co-edits Mrs. Maybe w/Lauren and Catherine Meng.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Megan Breiseth


Brigitte Bardot

Because she’s singing

Not waiting or worrying

And that feels good

Easier to believe

Me continuous with

And part of everything

Else, though

The opposite’s easier to feel

So cruel life creates a need for two-step music

And really gorgeous singers, and when you can’t see them

It makes you gorgeous.

Megan Breiseth is a Hollywood wife living in Oakland. She’s written some packets which will one day become books, including Fur and Forty-Nine. Her chapbooks include eleven and Zia (forthcoming from Sun Sun Sun).