John Bloomberg-Rissman Responds to Page 26 of The Source

John Bloomberg-Rissman is Humanities and Social Sciences Collection Coordinator, UC Riverside Libraries.



I have a revolver in
my possession. I step from
the bus into a sequencing
tool that is moist and
carries the scent of quince.
I carry a bag with
severed heads. I keep the
eel alive until ready to
skin. In my view, this
tradition of documentary and the
idea of a native culture
waiting-to-be revealed stand
as companion myths. If I
could prevent entropy from rusting
the gears of the neo-
machinery, I could contact my
familiars of another wavelength. I’m
going to get a glass
of whiskey now; would you
care for a glass of
absinthe? In my mind’s
eye it is more like
one of those strobe photographs
in which each increment of
the jumper’s act registers on
the single image. I cut
off my bird to spite
my face. I’m sorry, but
I was born with a
towel on my head, which
“excited the cherries”. For this
reason, I have found it
necessary to rewrite Lautréamont’s famous
trope in the following way:
“Butter on the knife. Water
table. Itch of the coccyx.
Deer fetus wine of China.”


I mark you with my
little x and you go
all amen through new life
durable as the salt whereby
you heat your common use,
a matter of space, a
total fix inside the heretofore
dubiously infiltrated corridors of water
rather than toil with the
encounter with the widest sense –
I can remember it
all as if it happened
yesterday: the kids running down
the hill to the dock,
the woman on water skis
disappearing beneath the waves, the
dead fish floating on the
surface of the lake. Beautiful
poems aren’t my forté, and
I’m distrustful of poems that
make an attempt to be
beautiful. I perk up at
the thought of the summer
solstice, worried a bit, that
time is dribbling away; I
can hear Metatron’s instructions on
the imprint of my brain
like writing on the interior
of a stone balloon (the
specifics escape me). When
the Source is formed and
expressed in words, writing, it
is true, has shaped it,
but the spirit of the
Source—the creative urge it
represents, the feeling it expresses
and evokes, and even in
large part its subject matter,
comes from only two words:
‘is’ and ‘are.’ They don’t
know what to tell me
and anyway they don’t tell
me anything because the tests
show nothing. Except: my felisberto
is handsomer than your mergotroid.


[Word. Shall we adjourn to
that Celestial Emporium of Benevolent
Knowledge, where ‘the laughter that
shatters … all the familiar landmarks
of thought’ cohabits with the 
quotidian bureaucracies of monetized taxonomy?]


I feel bound to state
the obvious warning: Cthulhu is
not to be approached lightly …
Hyperstition strikes me as a
most intriguing coinage … We thought
we were making it up,
but all the time the
Nma were telling us what
to write. He was pulling
me along on an immaculate
silver table, larger than a
serving tray, I thought, sheet
over me then, white linen,
and their faces soothing, shapes
of words and eyes I
couldn’t identify. I assume that
we grant that Art, Love,
Politics, and Science are affections. 
Whether there are more affections,
etc. I am not debating. 
Rather, I wish to understand
how they topologically relate to
the body α as it
is paired in α1 x
α2 x α3 x α4.
What I’m trying to text
is unreduced to its molecules,
dark matter acronymically textured into
temperate understanding; money talks, dear,
and the silence is deafening –
or heartening – or – but, at
some point, wouldn’t it serve
us to consider other foundational
questions, like why “unicorn hardcore
softporn abortion e-cards” is
a rather succinct and accurate
description of contemporary consciousness in
the developed world in the
early 21st century, an immersive
media environment in which we
can “stay warm on a
cold night” of the “Ka
kaaaawwwwwww Ka kaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwww” 1 Star
2 Stars 3 Stars 4
Stars 5 Stars … (5.00 out
of 5); … patty melts and
corn dogs and shrimp wiggle …
bloody earlobes and other appendages
litter the aisle ….. the baby’s
still breathing .. maybe .. standing in
for the epidemic … in the
era of the global polka-
dotted lobster flu .. .. .. like the
aging white man of the
popular saying … Still, he worried
about …the fact that the
goat had …a beard, and 
he secretly consulted …an oracle
in a neighboring country, …who
assured him that only a
…bearded spirit could seriously threaten
his rule … And if you’re not well,
let’s face it … “Ka kaaaawwwwwww
Ka kaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwww” … up close you
look like the anemone’s tentacles …


[Note: A modified version of a process first used by JBR in the part of the 1000 Views of ‘Girl Singing’ Project titled “… high theory and daily life/speech crossed and crashed into each other. …’ View of “Girl Singing”, and therefore named the HTADL/SCACIEO Transformation. Since it’s modified here for The Source it’s known as HTADL/SCACIEO/TS Transformation.]

Modification: For this project I utilized a two-option process with a one strong and one weak formal constraint, and I allowed myself one (bracketed) interpolation, which begins with the last noun in stanza 2.

  • Option 1: I took the nouns in order and matched each with a proper name beginning with the same letter as the noun (e.g. Source/Frank Stanford) found in the index to Lynn Keller, Thinking Poetry: Readings in Contemporary Women’s Exploratory Poetry, or Caren Irr, Pink Pirates: Contemporary American Women Writers and Copyright (Stanza 1); Juliana Spahr, Everybody’s Autonomy: Connective Reading and Collective Identity (Stanza 2); Nick Land, Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987-2007 (Stanza 3); googled the resultant noun-and-name sets, took (and occasionally mangled) what I wanted.
  •  Option 2: I took the nouns in order and, using my own home library, matched each with the proper name of a author whose name begins with the same letter as the noun (e.g. Source/Frank Stanford), opened one of that author’s books, and sampled and (occasionally) mangled. I used p.26 when I could.
  •  Strong formal constraint: mostly all sentences, each with a first-person singular pronoun or possessive adjective in it.
  • Weak formal constraint: 5 words/line.


Stanza 1: Source/Frank Stanford: I have a revolver in my possession: Frank Stanford,“Play in Which Darkness Falls”, at Poetry Foundation (Keller index); respectful/Lisa Robertson: I step from the bus … scent of quince: Lisa Robertson, “The Present”, in R’s Boat (JBR copy); tradition/Roberto Tejada: a bag … severed heads and keep the eel … ready to skin: Tsvetanka Elenkova “Passport Photos” (tr. Jonathan Dunne), Roberto Tejada, “Keep the eel alive …”, as quoted in Ian Seed, “Barking at the Shape of Air”, a review of Elenkova, Tejada and Richard Gwyn, at Stride Magazine, Jun 2010 (Keller index); grounded/Jane M Gaines: In my view … companion myths: Jane M Gaines, “Appalshop documentaries: Inventing and preserving Appalachia”, at Jump Cut, Mar 1989 (Irr index); assertion/mIEKAL aND: If I could … another wavelength: /mIEKAL aND, Bystander: An Irreality (JBR copy); vows/William T Vollman: I’m going to get … glass of absinthe?: William T Vollman, interview with Kate Braverman, at Kate Braverman (Irr index); voices/ Diego Velázquez: In my mind’s eye … single image: Rosalind Krauss, “A View of Modernism,” Artforum, September 1972, as found at Multiply (Keller index); image/Brenda Iijima: I cut off … my face: Brenda Iijima, “REV”, in revv. you’ll – ution (JBR copy); one/Charles Olson: I’m sorry … towel on my head: Charles Olson, at BrainyQuote (Keller index);  sun/Brian Kim Stefans: “excited the cherries”: Brian Kim Stefans, quoting Ryan Dayley, Lynn Xu and Juliette Lee, “An Elegy for Brian Kim Stefans”, at Free Space Comix, (Keller index); journey/Andrew Joron: For this reason … following way: Andrew Joron, “The Missing Body”, in The Cry at Zero (JBR copy); sky/Ron Silliman: Butter on the knife and Water table and Itch of the coccyx and Deer fetus wine of China: Ron Silliman, Sitting Up, Standing, Taking Steps, at RealPoetik 2005 (Keller index). Stanza 2: Source/Lisa Samuels: I mark you … widest sense: Lisa Samuels, “It’s All Good”, in Tomorrowland (Spahr index, JBR copy); words/Lewis Warsh: I can remember … surface of the lake: Lewis Warsh, “Elective Surgery”, in The Origin of the World (JBR copy); writing/Mark Wallace: Beautiful poems … attempt to be beautiful: Mark Wallace, “Brief Reviews, at Thinking Again, 5 May 011 (Spahr index); Source/Davis Schneiderman: I perk up … specific escapes me): Davis Schneiderman, Dis (Or, The Shadow of the Dome of Pleasure) (JBR copy); urge: When the source ‘is’ and ‘are’: nothing in the indexes or in my library, so I used the bit at the head of the blurb for Noah Eli Gordon, The Source, at Futurepoem; feeling/Norman Fischer: They don’t know … tests show nothing: Norman Fischer, “Tuesday, 1 May”, in Success (JBR copy); matter/Michael Magee: my felisberto is handsomer than your mergotroid: James Tate, as quoted in Michael Magee, “Interview with James Tate”, at crossconnect (Spahr index); words: [Word. Shall we adjourn … monetized taxonomy?]: China Miéville (quoting Michel Foucault), “Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge”, at Rejectamentalist Manifesto, 4 May 011 (interpolation, in which I took the liberty of changing words to word). Stanza 3: system/Echidna Stillwell (Land index): I feel bound … what to write: Nick Land, “Origins of the Cthulhu Club”, as quoted in “chimerism”, at northanger’s Journal, 30 Dec 2005; frequency/Kathleen Fraser: He was pulling … I couldn’t identify: “Flowers”, in il cuore : the heart: Selected Poems 1970-1995 (JBR copy); babble/Alain Badiou: I assume that … α4: “The Elements of Affection”, at Red Slippers, 2 May 2010 (Land index); blessings/John Bloomberg-Rissman:  What I’m trying … anemone’s tentacles: John Bloomberg-Rissman, Flux Clot & Froth (JBR copy; also “FCF 83”, at Zeitgeist Spam, 26 June 2009)]

John Bloomberg-Rissman                                                                                    4 – 6 May 2011 

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2 Responses to John Bloomberg-Rissman Responds to Page 26 of The Source

  1. Thanks for posting this. One thing, tho: My job has changed: I’m now Humanities and Social Sciences Collection Coordinator, UC Riverside Libraries.

  2. Ed Baker says:

    page 26 of The Source ?
    where is it / what is The Source ?


    my job has (also) changed. I am now

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