“In the Garden of Recounting” is a vintage feature that will require a little more attention than most to unpack, but is definitely worth the couple extra minutes you’ll spend uncovering the words hidden in the dense foliage of this textual garden. Robert Kendall’s truly unique work of “cybertext” was first published by Drunken Boat when it appeared in DB 6, Spring 2004.
“…his angry face hovers just below my horizon
the beatings retold in the faint language of scars
just a name people curse now…”
Robert Kendall, a Canadian born and raised, is one of the pioneers of interactive multimedia poetry. His poems have been featured and published in numerous exhibits and anthologies across the world. He currently resides in Boston and sits on the Board of Directors of the Electronic Literature Organization. You can find out more about him at robertkendall.com.
Click to enjoy “In the Garden of Recounting“
So, you’re feeling porous, shot through with holes. Everyone’s psychic winds seem to blow your way and you feel like you’re built out of sticks. That’s okay. Not to worry, this is not uncommon. You’re a poet, maybe, and aren’t we supposed to leave ourselves cracked open so the muse can get in? Jack Spicer practiced automatic writing. According to Kevin Killian, he would often go to bed drunk, wake up in the middle of the night and take dictation. When he woke up in the morning, he wouldn’t remember writing any of it. Sounds a lot like being drunk, but I buy it. If Spicer says Martians spoke to him, I’m game. Ezra Pound said, “The poet is the antennae of the race.” If that’s true, I’d like to advocate for ways to crack oneself open to let the starlight in other than getting shitfaced. I’d also like to talk advocate for sealing the crack back up when necessary. Let’s talk about it.
I’ve been thinking about containers. I want to know how to tell what’s mine and what’s yours. I’m not actually that interested in defining what a poetry community is, but I do think it is some kind of container that many poets I know put a lot of time, energy, love, trust, thought, care and risk into. I was talking with a woman who describes herself as a shaman recently about how I had come to be burnt out (on teaching), how I had the hardest time separating my own emotions and energies from those of the teachers and students and administrators I worked with. How there was so much trauma we were all carrying around inside of us, and some of it leaking out and exchanging at any given moment, creating a palpable buzz inside these massive school buildings that would often set off waves of vertigo as soon as I stepped inside. I didn’t (don’t) know how to have healthy boundaries around other people’s trauma. I experience it in my own body as anxiety and physical pain. And this woman said that she worked with several women who were former teachers who, though they felt called to teach and work with young people, maybe even especially traumatized young people , because these teachers were “sensitive”, they had to stop working in public schools. “The school system is a broken container,” she said. Yes, definitely.
So, if I know and can recognize a broken container, how can I begin to form containers that will be able to hold something as sacred as learning or art or just shared experience with other people? How can I be a better container myself, so my stuff doesn’t go flying off into other people when I don’t intend it to, and how can I let people have their stuff and create a buffer around myself so that I don’t take on whatever isn’t going to serve me well?
These series of posts act as a kind of container and I’m not sure how sound they will be. I’m a novice when it comes to self-care and certainly when it comes to any of the strategies I’ve decided to share here. I wrote to a friend about this piece, hoping to quote them and they aptly named my own anxiety around writing this post by expressing their apprehension about being named. They felt that would be “coming out’ around woo.” Woo meaning all that “hippy shit” to borrow a phrase from a dear poet friend of mine–energy, tinctures, trance, tarot, spells, the concept of chakras, etc. The further away you get from The Bay Area, the more things fall into this category–yoga, acupuncture, meditation. Basically, phenomena that can’t be explained empirically or measured scientifically, but whose effects can be experienced and studied. I realize I feel safer gathering friends around me by name here to show that I am not the only poet experimenting with “woo”. So, I’ll call on the aid of a few friends, some by name and some anonymous, but you should know, as you probably already do if you live in California, you are either likely surrounded by believers in “woo” or are one yourself. In either case, welcome.
Lara Durback, a poet and person I like very much, told me something about energetic boundaries a few weeks back that I think relates to the idea of containers. We were sitting at a picnic table in the back yard of a pair of poets with my partner Steve Orth, and another poet who we had just helped move out of an unsafe living situation. Earlier in the day, in that same back yard, I sat with about twenty other people, cis and trans women and non-binary people, mostly poets, talking about what the hell we were going to do about all of these recent incidents of sexual assault and intimidation that had surfaced involving poets in our community either as aggressors or survivors or both. Of course, incidents of assault, abuse and intimidation are unfortunately going on all the time, but this recent eruption had brought some people together out of a sense of urgency. We wanted/needed to talk. We formed a circle, said our names and the meeting began.
After the meeting, I felt a bit blown apart. I badly wanted a cigarette and bummed one off of Lara. We talked with another poet about our varying relationships with boundaries, as so much of what we had discussed in the meeting had to with women’s boundaries being transgressed often violently by men. It is a misguided kindness to think that people who commit consent violations or other abusive acts are all suffering from some aspergers-like inability to read basic social cues. Unfortunately, I think the problem is often simply a real lack of interest in the needs or desires of the person or people they abuse. Maybe it’s a mix. Some aggressors may struggle to understand boundaries while others just don’t care. We wondered aloud about how difficult it can be to assert our boundaries, when we often have difficulty recognizing them ourselves. We talked about self-defense classes or more empowering versions like Girl Army, but I can’t help feeling a conflict there, both hopeful when I see so many cis and trans women and non-binary people choosing to protect and defend themselves, and incredibly frustrated that we’re the ones taking classes to reinforce our boundaries. I would love to see men in our community, poets and otherwise, seek out classes that would train them to respect other peoples’ boundaries, how to manage aggression, maybe just an all around workshop on how to recognize misogyny and patriarchy. There are workshops that I could (and should) take that would train me to recognize white supremacy and work against it. Maybe this is a job for The OMNI. Somebody start writing a proposal!
People who are socialized as female tend not to get much training around boundary setting. Like poets, we are supposed to remain open. I picture a Norman Rockwell painting of a rosy-cheeked white lady in a house dress and apron standing in the doorway of a cute little house with her arms spread wide open, as if to say, “Come on in!” So, if you’re a poet who was socialized as female, you might be exceptionally good at picking up vibes in the ether, maybe very empathetic, and maybe exceptionally bad at filtering any of this information and protecting yourself from its possibly harmful effects.
Later, around the picnic table, Lara explained that she’s learning to set better boundaries for herself by thinking about the space her aura creates. “The aura is 18 inches, the aura is 18 inches,” she repeats to herself. Almost as if saying, “This is my container, this is my container.” She’s also learning to distinguish between her energy and the energy of others by visualizing it in terms of its color.
This reminds me of Hannah Weiner’s “The Fast”? Have you read it? Weiner catalogs each day of a fast lasting about two weeks. She tracks the way energy collects around objects in her apartment, and in her body. Green and red pool in her joints and cause her extreme pain. She can only use wooden tools because metal implements collect too much of the red and green. She spends much of her time in the kitchen sink running water over her body to wash the colors away, or at best bring them to a mellow blue. A purple person walks down the hallway outside her apartment and the whole day is shot. On her birthday she undertakes an epic journey across the apartment. To make it to the kitchen sink, she must wrap her feet in paper towel and tie them with pink silk ribbons before she can make slow steps across the concrete floor, fending off torrents of colored energies as she goes. Hannah Weiner’s body was such a sensitive instrument that it picked up information not just from other people, but from objects as well. After this fast, and what many describe as a psychotic break, she would begin seeing words in all different shapes, sizes and fonts, and would write her famous “Clairvoyant Journals”.
What swathes of colored energies must have flown and spun around that backyard gathering of poets, I wonder.
I called Lara today and she explained a practice that she uses regularly to help parse out the energies present in painful interactions. First, she visualizes a rose between she and the other person. The rose hovers outside of her aura (“The aura is 18 inches, the aura is 18 inches.”), absorbing all of the charged energies of the exchange, those coming from Lara and those from the other person. She gives the rose color and detail, maybe taking a mental photograph, explodes the rose in a burst of gold dust. Once the rose has burst into bits, she sends those bits of dust that belong to the other person back, not good, not bad, just neutral, and most importantly, not hers, and she picks out the particles of dust that belong to her and absorbs them back into herself. The toughest part for her, she says, is to keep the rose outside of her aura. “It’s hard not to feel like someone else’s stuff is not my problem, not my responsibility.” Visualizing what is theirs and what is hers in a recognizable, physical form, can help separate those energies.
About two weeks after that first backyard meeting, I sat at a cafe on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland with about five cis women and non-binary poets preparing to attend an open meeting of the OMNI collective, a new collective of collectives housed in a huge building on Shattuck not far from the cafe. We planned to present the OMNI collective with some information about a recent incident of rape that included one of their members, the aggressor. The OMNI collective had generously made room for us on their agenda and we had discussed the issue with some of its members prior to the meeting, hoping to set a clear intention and clear boundaries in terms of what we would and would not discuss for instance, we would not share the details of the survivor’s story, because we did not have her direct permission to do so. It would be a tough meeting, emotional for many, especially shocking for those who were not previously aware of the incident. Nico Peck, one of the poets sitting at the cafe, as we got our ducks in a row, offered me a tincture called Guardian Flower Essences made by Dessert Alchemy. Nico explained that the Gaurdian Flower tincture helps fortify one’s energetic boundaries–perfect for a meeting like this in which emotions and energies of all colors and shades would likely be vying for our conscious and unconscious attention. I squeezed a dropper-full into my iced tea and glurped it down as we headed for the door. I looked for a description of the tincture on their website, and didn’t find it but I did find one ironically called, “Nice Guy Formula”, which unfortunately is not a cure-all for assholes that we could dump into the water supply, but is instead for those who might be susceptible to the powers of the asshole in question or for those of us who have trouble setting boundaries. From the website:
Nice Guy Formula is Indicated When:
• I often feel unable to say no to requests for help, even though I later feel used or angry.
• I sometimes compromise my integrity to do things that others want me to do.
• I tend to offer help before I think about whether I can realistically do so.
• I tend to want to rescue others.
• It’s important to me that others see me as nice, even if it means that I have to do things I don’t want to.
At the beginning of the meeting, poet Sara Larsen volunteered to facilitate the meeting. Her first act as facilitator was to lead the group, seated in a roughly ovoid shape, in a grounding. She asked us to close our eyes and take a deep breath in and exhale it back out. We did this once or twice more. As I remember Sara, back straight, voice steady and strong prompting us to breathe, I am reminded how good it feels and take deep breath too, in front of the computer screen. Throughout the meeting I looked over at Nico a few times, noticing that during some of the most tense moments of an otherwise very productive, thanks to Sara’s excellent facilitation skills, Nico sat quiet, back straight, taking deep breaths with their eyes closed, reminding me to remember to breathe too.
We are all trying to build better containers already.
I realize as I write that the mortality rate for readers of this post might be pretty high. How many people stopped reading at the mention of the word “energy”? How many at “rape”? How many just stopped short at the title? Who’s still with me?
As I write this, another instance of a male poet assaulting a female poet is brought to my attention. A woosh, like a gust of wind, blows through my head and I momentarily lose my sense of equilibrium.
My own body struggles to hold a mixture of competing energies. I feel a tightness in my chest. My right shoulder aches. The third finger on my right hand is beginning to tingle. My container wants my attention. Time to stop.
- LINDSEY BOLDT
Lindsey Boldt is a poet, performer, editor and educator living in Oakland. She is the author of the full-length book, “Overboard”, and the chapbooks, “Oh My, Hell Yes” and “Titties for Lindsey”. With her partner Steve Orth, she co-edits Summer BF Press and writes, directs and performs plays in the style of “Oakland Poetic Realism”. Recent productions include “Dating by Consensus” and “The Reading”. She is also an editor with The Post-Apollo Press.
Turn off the lights, click “full screen,” and immerse yourself in today’s trippy tribute to Throwback Thursday. Coming to you from a very recent DB, issue 17, Summer 2013, Sabrina Ratté’s “Station Balnéaire” is an audiovisual experience (complete with music by Roger Tellier-Craig) that demands you bask in its splendor once again.
“Images of the Almalfi Coast have been transformed by video feedback. The rigid transitions, inspired by early computer art, contrast with the aleatory movements of the electronic light.”
Sabrina Ratté is a visual artist out of Montreal with a focus on creating art through video. Most recently, her work was screened at the Baltimore Alternative Art Fair in July. More information about her pieces, including upcoming projects and releases, can be found on her website sabrinaratte.com or her blog at lands-of-dreams.tumblr.com.
A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade
by Kevin Brockmeier
I’m wistful about the new wave of memoirish books nostalgically set in the 80s, and this hybridy book written in the third person about the author’s own childhood, gave me everything I wanted from the experience. The book’s protagonist is synaesthetically keyed in to the unbearble anxieties of middle school. According to KB, “I chose the third person, present-tense voice…as a matter of instinct, but on reflection I think that it gave me a very particular way of approach the story, one that allowed me to investigate my life the same way I investigate the lives of my fictional characters, with both honesty and compassion.” Sometimes Kevin has friends and sometimes his weirdness leaves him vulnerable to their jockeying, the beginning of their estrangement. The book’s got science fiction and Judy Blume and the heady retrospection of a genius. The book reminded me of David Mitchell’s Black Swan Green, but this is much like the childhood I actually had. Brockmeier captures the soul-shaping heartbreak of middle school beautifully in this amazing form of memoir.
Great moment: Then it is Monday, and his mom is driving him across the river into the trees, and as they crest the hill and coast into the parking lot, the school grows gigantic in the windshield. They pull to a stop at the entrance. Something like a bird shoots out of his heart. Then he steps out into the patio and becomes a part of it all. The blue sky and the glass doors and the white tile floor that blazes in the sunlight. The lockers crashing shut like cymbals. The high school guys punching each other’s shoulders, drafts of cologne and deodorant mixing between their bodies. The high school girls with their hair belled out around their necks. The black streaks of tennis shoe rubber on the floor of the gymnasium. The glass walls of the front office. The Reeboks and Levi’s, Izods and bomber jackets, jelly bracelets and Swatch watches. The football players in their jerseys. The band kids with their instrument cases. The chalkboards with their erser-shaped smoke signals—poof, poof, poof.
Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me
by Javier Marías
On a trip to Peru this summer, I caught a bronchial infection that forced me to spend a couple of days in bed, so I decided to read as much of Javier Marias as I could get on my iPad. The best book of the bunch so far is Tomorrow in the Battle Think of Me. Marias’s idiosyncrasies as a novelist—his long pondering sentences, his allusions to Shakespeare, his neurotic disapproval—are at their peak in this book. The book begins with a tryst between a married woman and her male that ends in her dying and the rest of the book describes his immediate and long-term reactions, their causal energy forward. The novel is like a really stylized Larry David episode.
Typical lovely Marías sentence: We are so easily infected, we can be convinced of anything, we can always prove ourselves to be right and everything can be told if accompanied by some justification, some excuse or by some attenuating circumstance or even by its mere representation, telling is a form of generosity, anything can happen and be said and be accepted, you can emerge from anything unharmed or more than that, unscathed.
By Night in Chile
by Roberto Bolaño
I also recently finished reading this Bolaño, which is a quick, tight, engrossing read that resonates so much to me as we hurtle towards towards becoming a third world surveillance state. It’s a Marquezian yarn about a middling and omnipresent opportunist-priest-slash-critic-slash-Capote-like-hanger-on. Everyone in the book is a little bit sinister, but all of the literati depicted in the book are in collusion with really poisonous nationalism. Like a good genre stylist, Bolaño takes the edges off of his realism with a fabulist’s affect.
I Was Not Born
by Julia Cohen
As publisher of Noemi Press I get to read amazing books at various stages; we just ordered the ARCs for IWNB, so I got to read it again this summer. The book is about how trauma literally and symbolically resonates through the lives of those that suffer and those that help the suffering navigate. The writer shares transcripts of therapy sessions, and the book moves fluidly between the various approaches to lament and meditation. I Was Not Born also reaches deeply into personal history to uncover the nature of one person’s attachments. The book has great lyric depth at the same time that it chronicles the difficulty of a beloved’s mental illness.
A poem from the book:
The Ache The Ache
My lilac hands. I know
you’re breaking into an apple.
I can feel it. The overnight.
Clouds limp over swollen hills
as my freckles multiply, like how over-heated
bees litter the pavement.
I store my brain inside a straw hat.
I store my lust inside your finger.
The lists I store on paper. With two forks I whip
heavy cream in front of the window.
I listen to transportation more than
see it. I’m confused about who you are.
My wallet disintegrates, my lavender hair
I shove into your mouth, seal with
the flexing night. The thinnest pillow for
my breathy hibiscus. Can we pretend this
bathtub is a wave I’m trapped in? Its heat.
Can we not pretend at all? I drop diced fruit
into a bowl of sea foam.
Just tell me what you feel.
Under the Skin
by Michael Faber
I read the book because I saw the movie, and I was interested in how much of the “adaptation” of the book required the hypersexuality of Scarlett Johansson. I discovered that it was unnecessary, but I’m glad I read the book. Is there such a thing as ugly studies? Not the grotesque, but the coarse and the slightly disfigured from wear. The movie got that right from the book, but that was it. Set in Scotland, the book is a pro-vegetarian science fiction allegory about a super-predator race living on Earth in disguise in order to trap male homo sapien hitchhikers, which the humans of the book (the alien race) call vodsels, which are a delicacy on their planet The protagonist, named Isserley, has undergone massive reconstructive surgery to look more human, but she’s in pain throughout the book, and she feels the pressure from (literally) up above and from the Earth environment where her female-appearance makes her vulnerable to another level of oppression. The point of view shifts to her victims who all notice her unusually large breasts and her strange pointed face. These two poles of sex appeal provoke interesting tension around what being legible as a woman represents.
Other books I can’t stop reading that I want everyone to read : White Girls by Hilton Als, Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish (manuscript), Likewise by Ariel Schrag, Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics edited by TC Tolbert and Trace Peterson, and Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit.
The self-emancipation of our time is an emancipation from the material bases of inverted truth. This ‘historic mission of establishing truth in the world’ can be carried out neither by the isolated individual nor by atomized and manipulated masses… (Guy Debord)
Early in the summer of 1991, I was 10 years old, living in Hammond, Indiana. The staff of Thomas Alva Edison Elementary gathered all of us to reveal a time capsule from its construction in 1938, full of trinkets, toy cars and childhood letters to a future student body. I wondered if anyone who wrote those letters was still around. I never investigated further and there isn’t an NPR story where I could track them down, trying to solve some incredible mystery. It was a box of commodities and memories, some stuff.
As I go through that quote by Debord, I recognize it’s a smearing. A close-up shot of a submarine filling with water, a solo hand scratching against the glass of a blast door. It’s lapsed hope, circa 1967. It’s not that I’m nostalgic for it. I wasn’t even alive. It would take another 14 yrs for me to hatch. Another 20 to get up to speed, another 10 for what? What did I do with my youth? Is it still happening, is it static? As animals, it’s shelf-life. As cosmic voyagers, a drop of blood in the void. I have tried to live mine, still trying. The first entry in this series was acerbic, as though it had pooled inside me all these years. Passing a kidney stone, throwing up after a good party.
It felt like hot grease in my stomach. After John Kerry lost the 2004 election, I said that things wouldn’t change in this country until everything got really bad. I’m not entirely sure if things are really bad or better? How do you qualify that now? I don’t want to look for it or past it. Just going to cool down a bit, get the story from the wire.
[The Spectacle can be defeated] …only and always by the class that is able to dissolve all classes by reducing all power to the de-alienating form of realized democracy — to councils in which practical theory verifies itself and surveys its own actions. Only there are individuals ‘directly linked to world history’ — there where dialogue has armed itself to impose its own conditions.
I enter my bedroom, turn on the desktop computer, look through video files and select. Noise fills the room. On my notebook computer, I scroll through this page. My smartphone a few feet away, pushing notifications from the outside world. Three simulations, little maker machines. These devices are always on. I watch hours of footage, creating catalogs of film shots in my head. It’s research, habit, obsession. I like to walk through the steps of a musician’s discography. I’ll research the periods of output, collect the albums, annotate the vinyl sides. Then I’ll research the singles, outtakes, relevant live tracks from the era, always trying to capture the loose ends. Cavernous time.
There was a gnawing headache at the base of my head when I composed the first entry in this series. It seemed perfect, a kind of ongoing sickness, the overflow of lava into the concrete structures of my life. Think of the science fiction film that ends with post-apocalyptic survivors restarting the oral tradition through cinema stories. That’s the Spectacle. Storytelling from the imagination of film stills and shots, and each shot is at once a connection and a disconnection in the mind. Humans, we talk. We talk a lot and we retell those shots, already today, until our brains are full of names, dates, feelings that we never possessed in our real life.
Beyond industrial production, we produce things that shape, interpret, alter and appropriate reality. Reality, as I define it, is human experience collectively communicated. These things we produce are made in such great numbers that they appear as a reflective view of society, or as Debord puts it, “an immense accumulation of spectacles.”
Every day I wake up. What is it I’ve been fighting for all these years? What is the Spectacle? My adherence to Debord has produced a reflexive depression. Negative patterns, emotional waves that give way to a lot of wasted hope and imaginative power. I’ve crumbled under the weight of this ideology, falling apart and trying to push it out of my mind. I’ve wondered if I’m strong enough to drive away from the wreckage. I can’t say that the Spectacle isn’t here, it permeates the landscape, nuclear fallout. The Day After, produced for television in 1983 tells the tale of a full-scale nuclear attack on the world. It’s still the most-watched television broadcast, at just a little over 100 million viewers.
The things the spectacle presents as eternal are based on change, and must change as their foundations change. The spectacle is totally dogmatic, yet it is incapable of arriving at any really solid dogma. Nothing stands still for it. This instability is the spectacle’s natural condition, but it is completely contrary to its natural inclination.
The Spectacle is separation perfected. The shots/images, devoid of context, collect into our social relationships. Our discourse becomes deceived, the inverse of direct experience replicates as a pseudo-direct experience. We become stuck in between worlds, like a virus, life and non-life. Capitalistic societies no longer produce alienation, because alienation has become the root of society. The Spectacle ends up being an affirmation of the choices made by the ghosts, specters of previous generations, old manifestations of reality.
Since the first time I read about it, I’ve always seen the Spectacle as a smooth micro-layer of perfectly invisible skin. It drapes itself over objects, Spinoza’s god. Macabre fiber optic cables running from land mine to land mine. Right there, I recognize part of the error in thinking this way. It’s the same rationale that makes people crazy.
In December 1979, Peter Sellers released his penultimate film, Being There. Sellers plays Chance, a gardener, who has been living in the house of “the old man” since he was a child, never leaving, only caring for the garden, obsessed with television. We never learn of the circumstances that brought him here. When the old man dies, he is ejected into the streets of Washington DC. After being hit by the car of an elderly mogul, Chance’s 1920s etiquette and wealthy looking clothes bring him into the bourgeois circle of the day. With a mentality of a 10-year-old child, a kind of half-wit, his total lack of insight is seen as insight. Chance is a variation of the Spectacle acknowledging the Spectacle.
Asked if he’d like to write a book, Chance responds, “I can’t write.” The reaction is perfect, “Of course not, who can nowadays? Listen, I have trouble writing a postcard to my children. Look, we can give you a six-figure advance. I’ll provide you with the best ghostwriter, proofreaders…” Chance responds, “I can’t read.” “Of course you can’t! No one has the time! We, we glance at things, we watch television.” “I like to watch TV,” Chance says.
It ushers in the ’80s, the blank approach, the last shards of life-lived disappearing in the cloud of time. The gleaming rabid fangs of the Reagan administration just inches away from civilization, that rust of life always in contemplation. Debord calls the Spectacle, “a negation that has taken a visible form.” The monotony of day-to-day existence, the deep throes of depression, and how incredibly inconsequential life feels, that loop. Existence isn’t an easy place to be. Most of the time, I’m not entirely sure how close we are to crazy. I’d imagine we aren’t that far off.
Nostalgia stems from this very posit. There is a place that was once magical to us, a place sound and calm, always in the past, always slipping away in our minds. It’s hard. You get so far into an idea, an idea like this, and you can’t pull away from it. I’m starved to find someway out and I’m not sure if I can. The terrain crumbles and you start over. I can. We can. Years ago, when I was first stepping into this arena, I thought I had found the secret teachings in Ezra Pound’s Cantos.
Critical theory must communicate itself in its own language — the language of contradiction, which must be dialectical in both form and content. It must be an all-inclusive critique and it must be grounded in history. It is not a ‘zero degree of writing,’ but its reversal. It is not a negation of style, but the style of negation.
As a kid my parents had a water-bed. At night, I would sneak into it, moving into the corner, sleeping below the mass of water, pressing against the wood. “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.” My grandmother sang this a lot. I like to think that I was protected from the Spectacle. It wasn’t even a world for me yet. As a kid, there is a lack of definition in the mind. You can go for long stretches of the day uninhabited by anything more than your imagination. I’m in bed, all the lights are off, the room is fully dark and in that darkness you can create shapes, ideas, monsters, madness, a new world. It wasn’t until I was 5 or 6 that I started watching television all the time. You work so hard for sensory experiences and then the heaviness of media claims you.
It’s got all that flexible meaning, the total theory of modern society. It’s got the bullet that splintered through Guy Debord’s heart on 30 November, 1994. The raw, ferocious disgust that I wrote through in the first of this series rips away at me still. It fills me with dread and anger until it fragments over the guardrail. I want a different life. I want the Post-Spectacular World. I want something that exists and cannot exist. I want the long-con. I know, the Spectacle is all-persuasive, holding onto everything and everyone. It’s totally real. It’s also just a shape in the dark. There must be some way to have a world that isn’t just the apocalypse; a long line of traps set and triggered automatically, living in this delete.
- NICHOLAS DEBOER
Nicholas DeBoer is a poet, collagist, activist, and chaos magician living in NYC. He is the author of many chapbooks and broadsides, as well as a co-editor for Elderly with Jamie Townsend and Cheer + Hope Press with Geoffrey Olsen. He also is a member of the Potlatch Discordian Network, a magickal organization operating out of Ridgely, MD. Currently he is prepping “The Singes”, the first in his epic arc “The Slip”, for publication. He is also also most certainly alive.