Further Meditations on How to Be A Crosser of Vaast Spaces
Why cannot the reading of a poem be closed to its own destruction? How might one activate their means and their ways so as to drift across the drift via the drifting drift itself? Is being life-like enough? These rhetoricals may seem cryptic or all too obvious, but how else and by what orientation does a poet and a work, per se, awaken the code within one?
I think B awakens. If you read it, or hear it, B applies these forgotten poetic uses, the “procedures”——both point and blank, that, um————point-blaank space, that I think most poetry fails to get you to or through, let alone something to land on. Klane does give you something to land on in B: yourself, mostly, and sort of mostly even more, by extension, a sense of yourself that is more and less of what you really are.
Let us be off toward the getting of that point. Klane, author of that same B, has a chapbook, “Sons and Followers,” and there is a gun on its powder blue cover. And inside, a poem about a
rebellion and retribution
Rifle the referents,
then purge, definitions.
One wonders——why use guns, you dorny wordslinger? Life & guns? What’s this marked want——at rifle point——of a new, undefined clarity? Klane’s new book B, his first, is the sister work to this small poem. It is aggressive in this sense——it’s loaded by the want of life by new means, but it’s not pointed directly at you. Instead, it will do all of that narrative masterwriting, so to speak, to you, make you do it to yourself——and without a rifle. For if there’s something to new to tell in the narrative, it’s in the spaces——the provocative spaces, spaces from which provoked sensae emerge via the agitated, narrative templates of his poems. And that master narrative is one to be sensed. [A poor word is “master,” no? Especially, if your analysis is standing still, because narrative moves and it can move you too.] Poetry should ask: How do you get one to move, from here to in to it. Hear the crossover? I’ve heard the poems in B read. And Klane doesn’t have such an itchy rifle finger——as in a “trigger-finger.” It’s something like an itchy leg. When Klane reads, his leg is a triggering mechanism. When he reads, he’s in a soft
and one of his legs shakes
pumping his trance words off the page
into the space
filling in his silences
B is a unique book that brings up all sorts of drafts, which is to say this book has vents by which things can be sensed——particularly the political as it relates to where you stand. You get it by reading or hearing B. And hearing Klane read from B only heightened the spaces he asks you to cross in it. It is experiential in this sense, for the narrative here is about knowing how you can get the story to emerge, to expose it, in order to change the story, alter the flow of it. “It” being——the sense of that sensual flow, that knowing that, which is what you got, your having bin, and how you got it, up to the ever-changing now——and in the case of B, how that that was somehow wrong, infected, and worthy of implosion.
Being from what you know
So, I know, I know——I know Matthew Klane. I’ve seen his leg shake. Such insights can work in many directions, for/against and with/without. You choose. The point is you can alter the flow yourself. Here are a couple of valves for you: You might know Klane as a wunder-kind, as a poet, as an anthologizer, and as a publisher. Some of the poems in B have appeared in Word for/Word No. 9, no less. And being myself, a vaast space-crosser and one in constant pursuit of all experiential starter kits, it was difficult to resist an offer to offer thoughts about this book. To start: The
floating upon a night-black sea cover, is itself, a milky-blue spectacle. Both as a gentle command, as well as an isolated alphabetic letter. That B is already a sounding post for meditations, for one, like me, who is already under the spell of possibilities of what has been called “visual poetry” in the various fields of language art forms. It is a provocative book, for a number of immediate reasons, but more generally, it’s because he is someone doing interesting things with those old words——which is due to his political use of space. I’m definitely not saying he’s making “visual poetry” here, but that B’s applications of political intuitions are activated by his visual sense, which is manifested in his overlaying of the political with his applications of space that can be seen, visually, in the spaces. And thus, by the visual space of the page, subtle and gentle as it may appear to the way-ahead folk, and as radical as it may appear to the text only crowd, one can get intrigued, pulled in, magnetically.
B’s full title appears to be "B Meditations [1-52]," published by Stockport Flats Press. And when leafing through its five sections, you'll see the aforenoted interesting gaps and spaces——lines demarking the white space of the blanker parts of the paper. It’s a geography as unique and specific as the various area codes of the North American continent. Take a look at the cover image of the B book to get my area-code reference. There are no parenthetical marks about the area codes on the cover. I mean it’s this ( ) but without the parenthetical logic. I mean, you are in it and space is about what it is about——like text or land. & therein, strange stuff can happen to you——in it——with such textual-geographical proximities. Yes, proximities: One has to cross spaces in the book, for example: From A to B, et cetera. You get pulled across magnetically with your antennae purling——from bin to bin, from plate to plate. Despite the tight geographies of words of the page, the geo-political sensuality is immense in the cross over, though at this point in the getting of the point——I will soon say why, as soon as I can——when I say it’s “intuitively nascent”.
So if you're not careful, you'll miss the intuitive point of B when stepping into those spaces, flipping pages in a flurry of imagined corresponding points C through Z. But a point——A point——you might miss, because it is spatial and experiential to the eccentricities of the experiencers, is a point tucked inside the front flap of B——the frontal matter. & that’s the matter of the matter itself. There, at that point, is this nascent sense of the petri dish, and this Klaned-massage of the narrative medium of space. It's crucial and declarative and worth repeating here to make the case for why this book is un-like others:
B was built, believe it or not, in 2004, fueled by the, then, omnipresent, confounding, public political debate. Needless to say, now, 2008, the author remains perplexed.
Thus, to write it as “intuitively nascent” is a vast compliment. Young, able to grow. And as nascent as that “perplexity” remains, it is somewhat of an intuitive call to spacious arms, the want of a way out, via undefined clarity——all those necessities of the master narrative, life. Come on, cross over you flipper, is what it is saying. Slide over on a magnet or a tectonic plate. Flip out. Innovative poets ask you to do this——cross space. You've got to pick up that sense, and ride it, like a bird
out over the prairie or under the darker canopies of the deciduous woodlands. If you’re out over Iowa cornfields——remember that you can always find your way back if you look down. Or, you can get at it sing-song-like, like chanticleer——[Insert your alarm clock sound here.] Regardless of ways, to get anywhere you have to cross the very means of noth, for then you’ll get a sense of it then. Wake wakers, stay open to receive & transmit, for sense is that porey hinge that ought to be activated by this——
in some manner.
Now, if that geo-textual, geo-political context doesn't seep into the carpeted, chasms of your soft geography, if it doesn't seep into the furry having bin of yourself, what else can? I mean, the book B is suddenly transformed by all of this——
awareness, or rather, what this was in the complex of 2004 up to right now, and thus, wakes you like a waker——clearly a rooster——to the sleepy processes——that that——behind the building, my god, of that truncated, but no less vast poem that is: The U.S. of America. Look again, for yourself, at the cover of B, and then look out your own literal and figurative pores, windows, and portals. At best, with your eyes. Do you believe what you see? What do you know? Do you like the poem now? Klane summons that want of a new sense, of undefined clarity, draftily, via the old pore, Whitman, at the beginning of "Re Republic," the second of the five sections in B. Therein, he quotes the specticlizing eyeballer himself:
“The United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem.”
How I was activated by reading B (A sheer autobiographical event)
“And all the world is football shaped”
——XTC, “Senses Working Overtime”
Klane didn’t ask me to write this, exactly. My point is that I wrote it myself, I mean, from my sense of it, from my abrasion with B, from my sense as it was activated by my engagement with the sense-provocations of being in B. I'm not pulling this gentle command to B out of Klane's sensual airy spaces to haunt you with political phantomaeri. There is certainly enough of that Crap TM going on right now because now appears to be the continuation of “dark times” when passing knights are saying "Ni" to the old lady of liberty, hereself. Right now, as I write this, specticlizers of the right-wing variety have been pitching themselves into the throes of farcical political ceremonies——shouting about birth certificates, “socialism,” and “communism.” Those ancient words with implied origins of wild threats, dredged or exhumed from the back matter of previous historical navigations of space are the other-side of these nascent proofs. They were attempts to not be born, um, again, but to think again, to organize and structure ourselves again. It’s the still very-nascent politics of constructively organizing ourselves and our environments through the idea of the political-being becoming the geo-political being, which is a greater sense of that terrestrial being——or possibly, a part of what might be taken from any sense of a living, “Master Narrative.”
The quick, symmetrical response to conservatives armed in these dark times with antiquated accusations could be, “So does that make you ‘fascist?’ Or better, yet are you a "feudalist?’" Which is to say, I know what Klane means by being in the continued, “perplexing” state. I know what Klane means by “then,” too. In 2004, I recall the perversity of reading Roland Bathes' Myth Today in a barbershop in the shallow waters of upstate New York, where, in the Bathes "text," there was another barbershop, as if it too, was the one I was still in. I mean, I really needed a haircut desperately (a long story), a real haircut——not so much a figurative one. But it was everyone else that seemed so “hairy,” figuratively. Nested thus, it was Saturday morning, and there was a TV affixed to the ceiling of the barbershop like a waxing moon. The barbers themselves, and their patrons, were worked into a lather by the media. On the TV was the media’s mythological narrative about a "fallen hero,” a NFL football player turned special forces soldier, a real hero, sure, but at worst, a token exemplar of the dopamined imperialists of the so-called new American Century. Note the other possibility of new? And the NFL and the military were in on it. Eisenhower’s concerns for a military-industrial-complex seemed wickedly tangible with the complicity of the media.
The draft from the vent coming through the barbershop was immense. In Bathes' imperialist barbershop, it was the cover of Paris-Match; in my stateside fascist barbershop, it was the TV——and in my context of experiencing it, the coverage of this guy’s death——“the fallen hero”——gave way to media coverage of the NFL draft itself. The variable uses of the word “draft” in the miasmic of a nationalism-cum-imperialism-cum-fascism was too much. How quickly imperialism, nationalism, and fascism seemed to grope each other, become each other, abet each other, perpetuate each other——in veils of some, horrific unchecked desire. When all of this happened——the book, the TV, the barbershops, the images——something was matched-up, overlaid, and the tincture was overwhelming in the “moment of silence” dedicated to that same “fallen hero” just before the NFL draft kicked-itself-off.
The image on the TV, then, was the very “narrative setting” of the draft, which was, uh——“perplexing.” It was: A massive NFL logo TM on a dreamily-lit blue stage, and beneath it, representatives of the U.S. Marine Corps flanking the logo while a man in a dark suit stood at the podium on the threshold of the stage, before the silent crowd. The man was a simple representative sent to reveal the information culled from the draft’s machinations. Now, I know the difference between war and football, but a sense of something horrific began to grip me in that moment of silence just before the audience began baying like a bunch of proverbial hounds, pumping there paw-like fists in the air.
Not fair to dogs, but you get the idea. Something had been let out. As I recall that image now, I wonder what does something like “fascism” looks like——now? This image was not a magazine cover, but still, something in its kinetics, matched it, was not even a debate——was pure spectacle, as it always has been, image without choice.
[See Douglas Rothschild’s trademark poem, “Minor Arcana” from his new book——Theogony. This poem is right on, logo, TM et al. One needs to get the arcana of making the arcanas align. Loop it. Regarding the possibilities of poetry & poetics, start with letters. See Kristen Prevallet’s “Letters from Citizen Kay” and “Why Poetry Criticism Sucks”. See also, Guy Debord and the perplexing, inherited spread of the society of the spectacle. A psychogeographical potential is at hand, now, so if you need to wander cities, dorny wordslingers, armed to the teeth, purging definitions and making books with sandpaper covers, get to it. Do we really have to “ride this out” for 1,000 years?]
Now is the only time you’ve got. So iff there is then, a choice of how to ride, per se, at this point in the-getting-to-the-point, then we need to pick a vessel——a bird, a horse, a spaceship, or whatever you have that’s worth riding, which I suggest is the vehicle at bottom. & that’s the point . Earth-Time.
The question then becomes can you alter the geo-textual flow of thinking that fuels it? And if so, how to alter the flow by its valves? Letters, words,——and ideas are malleable, have their own ailerons, drag, lift——thinking within them is aerodynamic. Words mean themselves when you get in them and start moving around. And if movement has something to do with narrative, then how do you suspend infectious desire long enough to be off, while at the same time enabling a vaster desire to get you across even the smallest of spaces so as to alight upon another means in accord with something like a “master narrative.” Face up, we need to alight upon that face, that surface. In the face of what Klane calls "the, then, omnipresent, confounding, public political debate,” you can still ask, right now: How should one B? The answer is a question of living. How does one get back to the master narrative of life? How does one re-wire, re-org? Via poetry? What I am talking about here is something like adjustment instructions for economists of the bins, but as with Klane, I would prefer to do it without telling you what to do.
Approaching a more vaast, enabling sense of B————
It’s not so much what does fascism look like, but what might something as seemingly nascent and naive as “utopia” look like? I mean, how can you sing about the terrestrial narrative of life when Hummer and Chevron and the US Army can use images of the Earth in their advertisements? So, to think a way out or back in to the narrative flow, if you will, I will more firmly write it out again: I'm not pulling this command to B out of Klane's sensual, airy spaces for the sake of haunting you with political phantomaeri. As said above, that perplexing atmospheric persists on its own. This political sense of being is in Klane's B——it’s in the book, damnit. & it’s activated by it, implodes it if you will, so you can begin to work with it. In B, he——which is all of you——activates those spectral, qualitative senses that are unique to each listener-cum-autobiographer (see above, as my example of this). The space, yours, activated by these constructions is bent on getting you across to another point, yours included, for it activates a sense of what it shares with that greater sense of Being, the conceptions of life narrative, being narrative, and the want of undefined clarity in order to allow it more properly to B. It’s got to get you up to that lip——to sense it first, something that gets at the thing beneath the qualitative fog and all of those phantomaeri.
So if the US, Whitmaniacally, was something like a poem, it arguably remains the poem in B, but Klane is not about spectralizing the ideologies of an idyllic, purer time, for spectralizing is not enough. Please read these crazy little lines from the poem “MASTERCARD,” in Klane’s “Re Republic,” section two of B’s five:
utopia of _______opportunity
Get a sixth sense, and note too, that with this small excerpt you’re missing the preparatory work——namely, Klane’s arrangement of words leading up to the word “STD.” It’s subtler than this isolated passage suggests. Every poem in B sets you up in this way——with the politics and the “debate”——and implodes it in the last line. You have to read each poem, and of course, cross spaces to get the full wallop of the lines connected by those crazy little spaces that end in such literally bold lines as “Manifest Destiny/Is-an-STD.” Klane’s project here is bold, and the other side of infectious. It was cleav-lander d.a. levy who once warned about infections——“Almost every time I commit an act of love, I get an infection.” Not saying Klane reads d.a. levy, just that Klane is on to the levy’s premise: Simple being. Klane asks you to sense it too in all those cloven, crazy little spaces, and not give in to that perplexity, but rather, to implode it. You can map that on the world, cleave, group, or divide it anyway you like ( ), but as Sun Ra suggested in his 1979 lecture at Soundscape, we don’t really have a choice about it. We are in it, and whatever you do affects me too.
So how do you get the reader to sense this other nascent virility for themselves, and at the same time, avoid infection? New tactics: Perhaps start, quietly, no howling, costumed maybe, but nascently, intuitively——and implode the definition. Rifle it. See all of “Meditation ” for yourself.
The arsonist-cum-implosionist tact should be obvious in . Be careful of infected ideas, of where you place your love, that is, your magnetic attractions. Remember to ask: What side of the thing being meditated upon are you on? And I am referring here to the thing upon which and with which anything like a “master narrative” could be built on——which is to say, not your ideology, but the ology of the gentle, life-like, nascent and intuitive command to B stemming from the ball beneath the balls of your feet.
B Experiential————an appliance kit to cross the vaast spaces
There are a number of sides to this nascency, so how B is “intuitively nascent” leads one to what we can learn from B directly and in-directly, and from there, leads one to see how we can proceed in these interesting geo-political spaces when prompted by B’s textual-political agitations. That same “logic”——without the parentheticals or quotation marks——of getting you over to the other side of that nascent intuition is currently with us. It is The Magnetic Poetry Kit TM——the diluted manifestations of what was thee 20thC discovery of processes, at least with language. And the kit is indicative of other such 20thC discoveries: Namely, all that falls under the peripheral umbrella of classification systems, genres——the very Order of Things™. O syntax. O grammar. O laws. And in this somnolent application of process and order——grammatical or not——is the implicit idea of magnetic attraction. Process. Order (&disorders). Gravity. Something like the implicit idea of a “master narrative” of life doesn’t get any clearer. Yet so subtle, so diluted——it is. The Poetry Magnet Kit™ barely wakes you to an awareness of this. It fails for it allows you to fail yourself.
The same magnetic poetry kit logic suggests, at the same time, how poetry——the wild arrangement itself given the materials we all share——could lead one to something beyond analysis. Is life as political as it is useful? How do you distribute the flexible idea of poetic narrative——let’s say in the instance of B, with its poli-sensory applications? B will push you to remind you, give you a sense of propulsion——and when the backsides of the ™’d magnets meet, you’re off. I’ve already suggested Klane’s implosion process. But you have to apply yourself too. The question remains for all of us: How do you invert that nascent pre-occupation, which is what we know so dimly about processes, and put it to use? Iff you can do that, then there too, you get that nascency that must be achieved, earthlings. [Note the youngness implied in earth-lings.] Nascently, those spaces must be crossed again and again, fa-liiing yourself, but with words, perhaps, words you wouldn’t find in the poetry magnets. Words that are not in a fixed and defined, syntactic galaxy; words that are used in other contexts found in other constellations of use. Instead, find words that do not create symmetries mirroring the bituminous words of somnolent, American organizational awareness. Find words that do not reflect or mirror the accusations of “socialism” and “communism.” Apply to it yourself, but bring it all back to Earth——all of you, yourself.
It’s all a matter of appliance. Words could invoke the darkness of the times, such as B also summons in autobiographical biographies, but by their simple appliance, then can also suffer implosions and warpings, as B also does it. And as its done, there comes the sudden sense of fragility to the plastic credit-card mentalities of the other side of nascency. That plastic is thin. The very thinness of things are being addressed, right now, in various ways——in the field of poetry and in all manner of art work, but experiment is a thin word, a hollow word even, unless you’ve got something to grow through it. Even The Union of Concerned Scientists is talking about thin ice. And the secret, all over the vast topos-cum-threshhold is the means to provide ways——all that a magnetic poetry kit could not be, could be——so as to get your process awareness back, for at bottom, this terrestrial narrative is proof of this still-as-ever nascent beginning of the bold project we share. Earthlings, B operates under the assumption of some proof, employing starter kit templates for sense activation, not Whitman’s specimens, but what becomes Klane’s “Specimen Days” (section 1 of B), as well as ours, up to that lip of now.
[Here: Sing “Specimen Days are here again” to the melody of Ager and Yellen’s “Happy Days Are Here Again?”]
B what on earth for?
“Why can’t we be there?”
——Sun Ra and his Arkestra, “Imagination,” from Nothing Is …
Get a bird, and step outside the petri dish; see it? Rotate Hubble 180°——see it yet? If you need help, see the front cover of B again. If you are hep to these systematic overlays of the nation-building (ours) and poetry building templates (yours/ours), then you are under and over this geo-txt in a super-vast way, and at the same time, armed with the very potential, the very means of “moving the land mass,” or at least North America. From his specimen day proofs through his “Re Republic” (section 2) and “
World Series”(section 3) to “Explore Tomorrow Today TM (section 4)——he hits on the trademark via the seams of what still seems to be the slow awakening to incidentlar otherwheres. And from this awakening, we might be reminded of poetry’s current needs. Activation breeds activation——remember the gentle command. This is what this book B does, still, now, after its assembly in 2004. Look at this commercial ad, to get a fuller sense of what Klane is and is and is not doing.
The Original Magnetic Poetry Kit
This is the kit that started it all. This kit contains the 440 original little word magnets that have spawned a whole new form of poesy. Join in the fun and start staring at a different major appliance. And now no waiting for commercials--you're right in front of your favorite snacks!
Snacks!? Should poetry be the portal for snacks? Where is the apprehension of your application? What is the purpose of process awareness?
Perhaps F off is more appropriate, here; perhaps most deserved for perpetuating the condescending persistence that must be met with persistence; but F-ing off is no less a symmetrical, mirrored response. F could be Klane’s follow-up of last resort to B——iff his senses of nothing/space don’t work. But B off to get on is perhaps, thee choice, here. Get a horse, a spaceship——something that’s as mythic as it is real. The question is now, how do you get the Being turned on so that you’re not just switching appliances, as suggested, from TV to fridge? WTF? WMDs? STDs? As Charles Olson suggested in The Maximus Poems, when Coca-Cola knows and employs the art of melopoeia, poets should get a job, and not with Coke. My point about this is that in B, Klane is working hard to offer a sense of something else——namely, his own take on the appliances. The case could be made for word enjoyment with such Magnetic Poetry Kit™, but tethered by magnetic attractions to the fridge and a mere 440 words, this kind of creation is about as near-sighted as a Palin supporter——I mean, can she really see Russia from Alaska? You’ve got to be out on the vaward tip of the Aleutians, right? Which way are the tectonic plates moving, really? What plate are you on, for real? Which way are the magnetic plates on your fridge moving, really? Geez, make a word map. Chart an ephemeris of what you want. Get a bird. Or a horse. Or both, and take some intellectual-cum-poetic risks. Does it really come down to accepting the pathetic sensorial Ponzi Schematics between appliances——television to refrigerator? B a chasm jumper. When even aggressive irony is about as dull as a Senate or House watering-down session, or a cookie made with palm oil, it’s time to find out what’s on the other side of traditional irony. Disable your preferences. The pathetic notion of liberal synthesis——the watered-down, diluted ideas of “process”——by activating other means of making could be a kind of photosynthesis, a way of growing unique to the applicant.
So note: It’s a matter of appliances in this sense: How are you applying your words, and on what, for what’s sake. What are you growing? One is really stretching a fragile rationalization for irony’s economic power if you settle for a quaint 440 freaking words in The Poetry Magnet Kit™. I mean, you might get some cheap poetic sensations, nibbles, and chaste thrills, even some bites. But we’re still talking about sound bytes——the hits——the limited selections of popular phrasings, that creates the very regurgitation of language in the media outlet streams flowing in from elsewhere. O that perplexity. I mean, there is a whole dictionary out there waiting for you——a world of things. & there is still the best work to be done. What is at stake is the very sense of difference that is oozing from the chiasma between war and football, and all other such systems of overlapping abetment. Stuart Kauffman says technologies evolve as species do, and that the more appropriate biological approach to economics ought to be based on the “emergent behavior of systems rather than on the reductive study of them.” [See November 2006 Scientific American.] Now then, look at what this ad says, and do it yourself. Employ yourself:
Ages 10 years +
Made In China
Our toy experts have indicated that The Original Magnetic Poetry Kit strengthens the following Intelligences:
What are we making here in the US, right now, circa 2009? What does it suggest about our processes and our awareness of them——to B, as poets——if one can purchase a Poetry Magnet Kit™? Or, for that matter, use “mashups,” for a plump, domesticated i.e.? I mean, IEEE. Collage is collage. Technology is technology. Get a wild IEEE, a mythic IEEE. How far can you go to be all of yourself? How much of the vaastness can you loan? B is answering this sort of spatial calling. It employs you, for you too are a part of the technology. How much proof do you need to exceed yourself, so as to become all of you? Is it merely a case of purchasing the application or going to the website, and you can do it too? How are you applying the application? Are we still in Tzara’s Paper Bag™? Word junkies: How diluted is our idea of Process™? How watered-down does it have to get first? Get over, or it’s going to flush you out of your burrows. I mean, sea levels are rising, and methane is leaking from the tundra as the permafrost is becoming less permanent. Where on Earth are we? Have we learned anything from the 20thC, and the one from which it emerged?
To sum, when you start thinking about all of this, you might realize——nascently in the most exciting of ways——that it’s time to strengthen your own poetic intelligences. We need to increase our intelligences by our poetic intelligences, to be in touch with the means with which B points in the way with it. Not with The Original Magnetic Poetry Kit, per se, but rather by Thee Original Poetry Kit for Earthlings and Terrestrials, my fellow earthlings. Survey your poli-geo-txtual terrain, get aboard that bird, or B——and, remember, your B can sing, because B could be for bird or bard or both. All of this could be for a book: A Book of Earthlings, for even with your API capabilities (your application interface programming potential), it is still always about you, space is, always about your appliances. How you’re using them——not just what on Earth are you and not only that you are——but where you are on it, because of it, and how you get back in there.