in our last workshop, rob mclennan had us go to http://www.ubu.com/ubu/ (a great site for post avant stuff) and choose a collection to read and respond to by means of a poem. i chose juliana spahr's response (i've read and felt affected by spahr's writing already):
in her poems, spahr describes a series of scenarios where someone's truth is questioned: the torture of military prisoners, the self stalking of a woman with disassociative personality disorder, the abduction of people by aliens.
in her introduction, she discusses the difficulties of representing what's real and what's not through patterns, through art, through history. my poem was triggered by her use of abstract language, her method of including everyone by not being specific in naming, her occasional use of very complicated sentence structure, her simple language and the following excerpts:
"some co-opt this language and paint a series of meticulous and beautifully colored (sic)
monumental images of people imprisoned alone and at the edge of a
"some [refigure [refuse] respond] call out for an end "
"rewritten the goal of the artist is to present reality in a true and concrete manner"
"another [generic human figure] says passionately we express ourselves in a lan-
guage of regulations. Symbols and numbers best convey our ideas."
"a voice stutters in the background of our waking mind"
"in the narrative she finds herself floating up and out of the bed"
"i can't say this happened to me and expect to be treated in the same way again"
"you keep shaking the secrecy tree
hopefully something drops out"
"as we try to look with eyes better than what we've had before"
"when terrible things happen they must be witnessed"
"how much of self can be removed and the self remain?"
and all of this VIII from page 79
"an attempt to speak to the human moment will occur
in these moments someone touches someone
someone claims to love someone
someone moves closer to someone in prelude to a proposition
someone waits outside for someone to come by
someone becomes unable to live his/her life and succumbs
this is information that might be left out of witness
yet it has a bearing that is all the more strong
it speaks to the safety of immunity that does not exist
to the various kinds of immunity that do exist
such as an emotional immunity to the world
a quarantine of engagement
a feeling of safety
which do you believe?"
untitled poem by me (amanda)
these pages are intentionally left blank
any attempt to find meaning
here is fruitless
abstract does not equal concrete does not produce sound does
into utterances decoded by ear
there is no evidence to suggest that saying no does not eliminate occurrence
or re o cur rence
to engage in hypothetics is incorrect
muscle memory is a myth
to obey / respect conspires against
solve this problem
where x is father
and y is mother
and z is child
x + y = z
x + z =
there is no answer
solve for why