POETRY & ESSAYS
Judith Goldman & Leslie Scalapino, Editors
2005 • 122 pp. • $14.00
Cover art by Amy Evans McClure
War and Peace 2 includes thirty-two poets and artists.
“There’s a seditious joy in a thronging crowd…We were the stuff/that animates every structure bearing down/its granite orders.”
“’One woman tried to break contact and escape, and as she ran, she was shot in the back and thrown into the river.’ A body filling an intersection, a body bathing another body, a body upon which the very existence of other beings. Within or constructed upon the home, the original ‘political’ not ‘in the world.’ Which world? Recognized within this culture as_____? Into the water, a town of fifty miles ran a trick we could play with your third division capturing. Thrown into a birds’ nation. A river of any location composed. With absolute movement, migration. A Running wing. Break contact to escape. Is the river of water? Wherein the most crucial work is invisible.”
“a sinking down into the word as the tumult of the people”
“their despair is one’s physical movement (not)…‘they’/destroy/language. destroy/night/fight with your hands/ they exhorted the Iraqi people”
“humanity’s pal sits movie-theatre and does not guess that near him/dirty lascivious forces/he feels that the tank touches his baton and he is agitated”
“Time stands/also alone/Do I read you?”
“‘We’re’ bombing Iraq again./If I turn on the news,/someone will say, ‘We/mean business.’”
“I have plenty of money myself I/ will make decisions for the people.”
“From our ‘leaders’—please be/as frightened as you can in apartment/ buildings, bridges, & airports—/But really/you’re on your own”
“Bechtel by the—that is Shell it by the/shore Bechtel sells”
“A5 want, tho I’m not c1ear, 5tand on a box/5hoved up a manho1e?—you? 5odomy & 5hock5”
“Morph the feared and debased/into luxury/OF CONSCIOUSNESS”
“this is the old picnic ground/we use a white cloth/to set it/to eat/and are sweet/to/oneanother/passing deep blue clouds from our lips”
“They open like a book inside your head. The images. An overwhelming force. You feel it in your chest.”
ABOUT THE EDITORS
Leslie Scalapino (1944 – 2010) is the author of thirty books of poetry, prose inter-genre-fiction, plays, and essays. Granary Book just published a collaborative book by artist Kiki Smith and Leslie Scalapino, titled The Animal is in the World like Water in Water. Scalapino’s It’s go in horizontal/Selected Poems, 1974-2006 was published by University of California Press at Berkeley in 2008. Other books of Scalapino’s poetry include Day Ocean State of Stars’ Night (Green Integer), a collection of eight years; Zither & Autobiography (Wesleyan University Press), The Tango (Granary Press), Orchid Jetsam(Tuumba), Dahlia’s Iris—Secret Autobiography and Fiction (FC2 Publishers); a reprint of the prose work Defoe (Green Integer); and It’s Go In Quiet Illumined Grass Land (The Post-Apollo Press).
Judith Goldman is the author of VOCODER (Roof Books, 2001), DEATHSTAR/ RICO-CHET (O Books, 2006), “the dispossessions” (atticus/finch, 2009), and L.B.; OR, CATENARIES (Krupskaya, 2011). She co-edited the annual journal WAR AND PEACE with Leslie Scalapino from 2005-2009 and currently edits a feature on contemporary innovative poetry for the e-journal Postmodern Culture. She is a Harper Schmidt Fellow and Collegiate Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago, teaching in the arts humanities core and in creative writing. In fall 2011 she was the Holloway Lecturer in the Practice of Poetry at University of California, Berkeley. She teaches in the English Department at the University of Buffalo.
Amy Evans McClure
and many more
Laynie Browne, We Eat Wooden Food on April-Patrick’s Day
This is a really good trick we could play, the dead bird in the driveway. The ant carrying a large parcel just passed my elbow. American forces leading the drive north to Baghdad battled their way 50 miles south of the capital, capturing and regaining some momentum in a war that has proved more complex than expected. In a war that has proved— a town fifty miles south of a large parcel, the dead bird asking questions, four of them, drinking. We are not the branches moving in squall. We must stake the movement of our _______. More complex than those who wish to practice changing the mind within the mind. Not that which is your eye upon whose original nature. An armored unit of the Third Infantry Division, not a town 50 miles south of what you have not become, driving north to Baghdad, more complex than your eye. I can’t find my limited imagination. I can’t find smallness as prescription. Original—wounded, original unharmed, original warning shots, investigation. “If that means there will be a lot of casualties, then there will be a lot of casualties.” If that means that opening her mail proved a type of advice, if that means you become engrossed in a poem or a posture and forget to pay attention, if that means I wanted to include you, but things got complicated. More complex than irregular forces near Karbala trying to get across a bridge that they had rigged for demolition, pushing “women and children in front of them” to shield their advance. “One woman tried to break contact and escape, and as she ran, she was shot in the back and thrown into the river,”. a body filling an intersection, a body bathing another body, a body upon which the very existence of other beings. Within or constructed upon the home, the original “political” not “in the world.” Which world? Recognized within this culture as _____? Into the water, a town of fifty miles ran a trick we could play with your third division capturing. Thrown into a birds’ nation. A river of any location composed. With absolute movement, migration. A running wing. Break contact to escape. Is the river of water? Wherein the most crucial work is invisible. Whose smallness coaxes another’s to first walk or speak? So much depends upon a red fleece cap, placed upon the curls of a smoldering toddler, beside the busy intersection
Sentences thrown into the river. There will be a lot of casualties of original nature, repression of women and children in front of them. “If that means there will be a lot of towns then there will be destroyed a lot of towns.” If that means trying to get across a bridge things got complicated. But we have enough water here. It’s not that I don’t believe thoughts and words alter reality. They alter things here. But there is here, there is a distant here. Thoughts ran into the river. A word brought him to life, the word of his true infantry dividing before his eyes. In a day of gun battles and tank assaults “The soldiers did the right thing.” The United States military has warned them to be wary of the possibility of attacks against soldiers and marines, including those by suicide bombers. An armored thought stops wearily along. The rest of the journey through fine painted meadows.
They are to ask the driver to halt first, the news spewing repetitive, devastating murmurs made closer by the clink of dishes and the question of a kissed finger or knee, then fire a warning shot if the driver continues, a robot or a knight, a cat or a rabbit pulling at my sweater, begging companionship contrary to eyes bespeaking an exhaustion misunderstood by the masses, then aim at the car to stop it. As I pull myself out of an asana and stand closer to the door of the boys of the century. The final step, if necessary, is to shoot and kill the driver if he or she fails to stop. “I will not stop or give up and that is perhaps my best and my worst aspect.” The four soldiers who died surrounded the car and ordered the driver out for a search. The taxi exploded when the man followed orders to open the trunk. The earth below, nowhere below, below, beside, surrounding. Stillness is any location composed. With absolute movement, no arrangement, no carefulness, contrite. All entering the only location which is everywhere, constant, all. The force of the blast pressed a crater in the asphalt highway, which was littered with debris. Taking smallness as a prescription for sight, meaning sight beyond senses
How small the seed of sight? When a pickup truck slammed into them at a post exchange. The driver of the truck, a contract worker at the camp, was shot in the shoulder and the chest by a military policeman and a soldier who was standing in the line. Eyes a condensation, precipitation of will. Meditational diary. It was unclear if the driver’s actions were intentional.
Robert Creeley, Which Way
Which one are you
and who would know.
would you have come this way.
And what’s behind,
If there are more,
why are there more.
Judith Goldman and Jen Scappettone, Preamble
to Jen Scappettone’s “Poetry, Intelligence, and the Temporality of Crisis”
A critique of representation that might have political heft has to take the constructed quality and mediation of discourse as a premise, yet must also formulate criteria for fidelity to experience and relationality. Responsibility to social relations and experience demands that we register and foreground contradictions. Poetry’s role is to decrease people’s capacity to absorb contradictions quiescently.
Critique that dismantles the correspondence between discourse and world falters at the referentiality of the dead body. At the same time, however, to testify to war achieving its primary aim—which is to injure and kill—is also a symbolic act of remembrance and defiance.
While the intelligence community fabricated by the US government marches on toward the negation of historical substance vis-à-vis its made-to-order “intelligence products,” poetry reinfuses representation with the defiance of historical being. The intelligence of poetry resides in its continuity with experience, and experience itself entails contact with a sedimentation of incompatible forms.
Leslie Scalapino, from ‘Can’t’ is ‘Night’
(12) has made living impossible. any way. ‘they’
fight with your hands
they exhorted the Iraqi people
the Kurds just move in that space
waves on a line across it (‘we’ve’) courted to fight and
dropped them to be, were, slaughtered again
‘we’ have nowhere ahead — either —any way.
she says ‘our’ language is to reverse the bound
less characteristic of night
destroy night to — without language — in it — two — outside
(13) destroy that language
Joanne Kyger, “Not In Our Name”
The biggest rogue stands up and grabs
and out of fear of losing the spoils
the coalition joins in
The poor gopher his back must be broken
spends all afternoon trying to a dig a hole
with his front paws to escape into the ground
Should he be killed with a shovel? Or let nature
‘take its course’ By morning it’s disappeared
Am I ‘in touch’ re contemporary life
Should I even Think of the myth of a place
‘conducive to creativity’
And still sing ‘Don’t give up’
The sun starts to lighten
the slightly overcast Pacific sky
Home is the center
of all the routes & paths & detours
take your time
you’ll get there
‘Could you please leave Arafat alone for a while
as you are distracting ‘our’ plans for war
and we don’t want anyone to have to hold
two thoughts in their head
at one time.’
We need an immediate regime change here
can we wait?
Rise up and start Saving!
Oh hateful yucky Mr. Bush & his Cabinet
of Horrors Oh Queen Victoria
come back and teach them
the language of diplomacy
to improve this painful world
or at least
how to subjugate
And spare us the images
of the strutting, posturing, smirking
‘commander in chief’
going for broke and then hopefully
Snorting in the little grove of plum
The young buck is waiting for the doe
It’s not lose-lose for him
He doesn’t Have to Win
October 6, 2002
Judith Goldman, from “FatBoy/DeathStar/Ricochet” Judith Goldman
INTERNAl MEMo: [LAST MEM0/ENDGAME]
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CONVERSATION 7 (X CALLS Y)
Y: Tommy here.
X: Great, this is Tommy.
Y: Understands that noncompliance?
X: That in order to constitute torture.
Y: Makes your hardware run software?
Y: WIPE IT!
X: A theory of how a ball runs down a plane/under the impression that/they became role
Y: Somebody set us up the bomb!
X: Place concentrated food pellets rather than anti-personnel bomblets.
Y: All your base are belong to us!
X: But they never arrived at the lemonade tide,/and the jungle fires were burning.
Y: That another person will be imminently subjected to death/incidental to lawful sanctions.
X: They were administering real pain to people.
Y: The use of words?
X: (sung): I paid a dollar for a ballpoint pen.
Y: (sung): I paid a dollar for a ballpoint pen
X&Y (sung in unison): I paid a dollar for a ballpoint pen
X: All righty.
Y: You betcha.
Wh0 wi11 jerk them—1ine5!—5hut it! What?
A boy severs his fingers,
by accident, in my imagination
where his first thought is
will be so frightened!”
from a radio
jets, sea snakes
out of sight,
were a scouting party
in the third
Alicia Cohn Wolf and the White Flag
for Leslie Scalapino
Chorus: What are these fancies, O truest of all men to your father, that vex you? Stay, do not be afraid for your victory is great!
Orestes: Fancies have no part in these troubles for me; for I know that these are my mother’s wrathful hounds.
Chorus: Yes, for the blood is still fresh upon your hands.
—Aeschylus, The Oresteia
wandering high seas on wing
ships bow pirate pollens and seeds’
stolen store overseas or
on terra heaven
teeth is knives
and honey tethered up a tree
to hide from bear’s
wild or sea
brothers and sisters
knit and web
O mother spiders spider sacs
O, what a tangled web we weave
where deception is
on a globe spinning
hidden thing save
for the sun lit look hid mid windy vowels
single cells in the sea
felony’s long eyes look back
by what’s sounded
laws of music
the return of
hungry son and daughter with long talented fingers
sunlight reflected midday
on the underside of wide leaves hovering over the Sandy River
lit in mind’s many eyes
this is the old picnic ground
we use a white cloth
to set it
and are sweet
passing deep blue clouds from our lips
Michael McClure, MYSTERIOSO (( A ))
BUILD. BUILD BOLD LOVING ARMS.
Build new love. Over and over.
Boulders on the sea shore.
Build with the fecal smell of the final wreckage
and roaring smoking destruction.
Morph the feared and debased
on a wet boot sole
in a movie theater
creates the energy of stars.
in the realm of eagles’ wings.
(NOW WE ARE AUTOMATONS
of reductionist technology. )
BUILD LIFE. BUILD DEATH. FREE OF THE WHEEL.
Yedda Morrison, Fear Factor
I will now respond coherently to free trade and the ramifications of a globalized economy
I will now respond to institutionalized racism and the prison industrial complex
I will now respond to poverty and the pulling up of one’s bootstraps
I will now respond to holy wars on terrorism
I will now respond to deforestation and the leaking of polar ice caps
I will now respond to western hegemony and the making of the American minnow
I will now respond to the elitism of the left and the bigotry of the right
I will now respond to and possibly rebuke my own justifications for writing poetry
I will now respond to my weakness for beauty and meaning
I will now respond
I will now respond by saying….