As many Futurepost readers out there already know, the illustrious Dana Ward has been hard at work on his second volume, The Crisis of Infinite Worlds, which Futurepoem is proudly thrilled to put out in late fall of this year. Here’s an excerpt for all you Wardophiles, happily proffered in the spirit of community and collaboration that distinguishes Thom Donovan’s own book, The Hole.
And continuing in that spirit, we hope you’ll consider supporting Futurepoem through our Kickstarter campaign. We have raised $1,540 virtual dollars, but won’t receive an actual cent of it until we raise $2,160 more. Don’t forget, all fiscal contributors become future contributors to a poem of Dana’s! Only nine days left! Click on the link on the right for more info.
For Thom Donovan
I go out in the dark & come back in the light. January 3rd 2012. The first real deep freeze of what has been a mild winter. In the meantime, the P key has broken on my laptop. First gracious Oulipo spring of the year.
& now that it is dead, what was it? A little oar in violent water we’d been vigorously rowing, or a flag used to hail someone down out of traffic, broken stranded somewhere hot or cold.
I heard “Like A Prayer” on my way home this morning, then I heard “One” by U2. I luxuriated in their religious grandiosity. Then, Selena Gomez & the Scene sang “I Love You Like A Love Song.”
I luxuriated too, in that, & combined, they had occasion some nice church I could walk into, for my own Swan’s Way a cathedral at Combray both smaller & larger than whatever Proust so lovingly remembers.
These last few days I’ve been reading his letters. Our edition of them had been slotted in a sequence of books I now believe, in their winking portent & their poetry are meant to be a gift I think
to me, coordinates of the still elusive present—Tracie Lords/Youth in Babylon/Rainbow Road/Proust. Four books on our shelves I’ve never read or even looked at, in that sense like the present
then as well. & though life is a mystery we do not stand alone. I’m with Marcel when he writes, “Would it not be sweet, to find again, beneath another sky, in the valleys vainly promised
& fruitlessly awaited, all those one has, or will ever leave behind.” 2011. When so many made that other sky, & did find one another, now it’s winter, a moment to conspire even further, as the
mirabilis flora has outlived the finished year, the sun remains as mistletoe & we invent “here”, indiscriminately kissing as our old discriminations meet their end in new affairs, though it’s true
we continue to consume…to produce…a bloodied vapor of the dark we photosynthesize with lungs inside our brains…ferns, born just today, that my lips taste like I’ve been thinking
telluric May thoughts through cold water in the evening, “& I am jubilant with horror”, though you have to hear the moans I hear, our halcyon confessions, knees touching in our folding chairs
like we were at the reading when Selena Gomez sings a perfect “Internationale”, then a few oohs & ahhs & little sighs waft through the room. They ricochet like goldfish as they move through our Grand Canyons
dying from neglect in the middle of the night. It’s like I need a stopwatch, or Catholicism maybe, to develop an ever more harlequin faith, for the espionage of our small ecstatic secrets & the ways
they will become a non-possession. I somehow think those moans of lost delight become the present. I think their spectrum is haunting our sky. I feel like pornography could die today, or live
its definitions are expansive, & inclusive, like democracy is. What does either word mean for the future with its triple X of moonshine, the intoxicant made outside the confines of sovereignty, potentially
explosive for its chemists & a poison to the revelers if things are poorly measured, excessive omens flourish when the mixture is too clear, as if billions of people were changing it
not Paris nowhere still, the moment of ‘the moment of’—its swill, & fine Kool Aids, & pivotal truths. I hear those moans beckoning from nowhere through the morning–Tracie Lords/Youth in
Babylon/Rainbow Road/Proust, & I follow their sound to the church those songs made when they blended & their beneficence threw me down a tether. Madonna is an acolyte, & Bono is an acolyte.
The former I adore & worship still & the latter I endure like the piety of others when it curdles into something loud & boring. In the church, where the stained glass should be, there are screens
alive to touch & breath, & to feeling, they are unbearable, more sensitive than mediated faces somehow plunged into a pool of living sensory materials resistant to thought like the density of matter
that existed just before the Big Bang. The light that they emit is both serene & strangely scary, as if the great big clipper ship in “Heroin” sailed farther, to a childlike peroxide that
that illuminates our smiles, when the real is badly wounded by a miracle Da Vinci angel ringlets dampened eyes & mild sunburn colored lips, faces, new secrets of Fatima, invite glossolalia matrix
biolage & streaked mascara. When I heard “Like A Prayer” did it seem old? I don’t think songs change in that linear way. Who thinks that anything does? For a moment, the face of
Kirsten Dunst consumes one screen. The face of John Giorno fills another. They laugh or gaze away. There’s nothing there to meet their looks with hunger & indictment. There’s only
something disembodied, supple play of feeling, approximately someone vaguely lit by their machine, full of torpor & excitement an enervated gelatin cohering then so open-ended it is not a thing.
But maybe John & Kirsten don’t see heaven’s face at all. Maybe they are staring through spangled walls enclosing the non-rooms of Frank O’Hara High School O paradise a needle in the hall
they shoot up time, & it’s after the rhetorical murder of abjection in its sterling form & just as salvation has opened its pillow. This showers some kind of snowfall or fallout stuff all over Lexington, Kentucky.
They see the prized racehorses grazing out there, Secretariat’s godchildren fed strands of freshwater pearls over years, their lustrous coats inventing coats to rival silks, & their fine
blue & terrible blood. It’s a form of control become prettier & stronger, than the form of hate their masters, sleeping, dream is re-embodied in such lovely dying creatures. They were broken at birth
but now they’re free? Death to the fixity of breeding! Death to the fixity of me! Death to economy! Death to death, to starvation! Death to the banks! Death to false consensus! Death to the farm
of this world behind the sun that crashes into us but never yields annihilation’s bliss! Free Kirsten Dunst! Free John Giorno! Free Bono! Free food & shelter & water! Free Selena Gomez!
& the scene, of our abasement & cathexis, free that too! I love you like a love song is a miracle of form an incitement to be artful & common because in our lives time is totally appalling thought it can be made
to stop in the street & made to die. I didn’t get to see “Melancholia” last year. I didn’t get to sleep in a tent in Piatt Park. I didn’t see Weezy & Ross at Coney Island. I didn’t find the Palace
of the Muses. Traci Lords/Youth in Babylon/Rainbow Road/Proust. “I need to get this P key fixed.” I think. All morning I’ve been typing E for P– to alleviate the absence in ‘A Void’ its Noe Valley
some verdant place forever without it. It made the word present look strange like ‘e-resent.’ Another Internet firm that sells resentment I guess. I should have typed X so as to mark
the hidden treasure beyond which is a face that I could look on like the no-place that resides behind the sun.. I call this repair place down the street that fixes laptops. I speak to someone
named Josh. I tell him this is sort of an emergency for me, I really only have today to write, & this broken key is killing me. He’s reluctant though, to diagnose the problem on the phone. I say again
“Only the P key won’t work! The rest of the keyboard works fine!” He thinks it’ll need a new faceplate, which he’ll have to order, & which should arrive no later than tomorrow. The repair
will maybe take about an hour. 100 dollars for the face, 80 dollars for the labor. I sigh, & resign myself to doing whatever. Read Marie Calloway, & look at Wallace Berman, tingle
when they both combine to realize that “Last Supper” tableau of antinomical positions that comprise me, E where Christ would be, & then the moralist pleading with the libertine, the radical
conspiring with fatalist, the coward & the narcissist, the child, hypochondriac, & clown the predictable apostles gathered there around the table while the E remains deleted & inscrutable,
revealing only its patina of ridiculous opacity I mean it’s like crack. I’ve never tried it but I’m hooked in all my dreams. “Where’s Excalibur?” I wonder “I should slash this painting’s throat.” It’s then
I get another call from Josh. He has the compatible faceplate on hand, & an hour free to do my repair. I take the laptop down, to their place on Chase Ave, where Élan Technology is housed
in this retrofitted church they’ve made suitably austere. I hang out on a big, soft black couch while Josh works. I try to picture where the pews had been, the altar & the candles. The cenacle is throbbing
like a cloud. I fuck around with my phone absentmindedly, & then, before I know it, Josh has brought my laptop back. It looks new. All those years of accumulated dirt & spilled coffee,
all that archival residue of my degrading body, gone, & replaced in just under an hour. I go out in the light & come back in the light. At home I do a search/replace so that P overtakes
all the E’s I had typed. This stupid mistake makes an even bigger mess & leaves me endless E’s to restore to their habitats, eating up another precious hour. It feels deflating too, or false somehow,
to do it, “But I have to!” I think. I’m not sure why. I liked all those improper E’s dispersed around the text. The way they became anything, or nothing I guess, like E, or like X, meaning MDMA,
meaning Ecstasy or Calvin Klein’s Eternity of mandarin & sage, of sandalwood, amber & narcissus. Or in math, E persists, an irrational constant like this poem where the present stands for E.
John & Kirsten burning bright
I made you with my eyes
the way you look tonight
the little softnesses that die
over years, & the vigilance
inspired by the way it seems
cremation day is here
but not tonight. John & Kirsten
it’s all right. Tie a choker
of shells around the living
porcelain doe. Every kind of
god watches over its roof
protects its sleeping head
brings perfect food & bedding,
soft like a doe’s bed is always
the softest core exponent
of the tone arm dropped
on Brahms. John & Kirsten
are my mom & I’m their
mother. The featherweight
engines in our death-drive
fly away. There’s a picture
of the young Michael Stipe
from his days as a shy Christ
that filters the sunlight it’s
our pilot & the stove glows
with that pretty color. We
make rose-water drinks,
& cheap soup & hot tea.
We are genteel. We eat
the lotus in peace, we have
a kind of esteem for one
another achieved without
the teeth of structured gazing
that makes looking eating
& when we have to feed on
one another’s endless beauty
we do so with a feeling for
the excess it provides as kind
luxury designed without
extraction. The sap of
critique mixed with love-life
makes the new growth arboretum
deeply sticky, ambisexual
& so polyamrous we don’t
know who we’re fucking when
we reason. Me, & John
& Kirsten ride out to the French
countryside where we find
an Art Nuevo poster we
mistake for the visage of a
saint & fall to our knees in
supplication. This is what
is called the pious error. We
download some software
for our eyes & see the undoing
of tedious cruelty & god
we’re so tough, naïve, sheer
& daring these must be a martyr’s
eyes dissolved into architecture
sight can not impede upon this
absolute transparency of feeling
deep down in cloudless ether
where things really burn & seem
clear. The present holds its head
in its hands & sees a city.
It can’t be kept from what’s
now loose & will undo it.
John & Kirsten hold their heads
in their hands & see reflections
of a doe asleep, guarded by a huge
ring of light. It idles in advance
of taking off toward brilliant green,
the color of a new affirmation
disposed from its antique & voracious
emanation in the winter when ‘yes’
lost its serrating warmth.
John & Kirsten know the disowned
hear the most pristine happiness
as general tone in a backdrop
of salvation moments
converted to music through
Artemis signs & the isotropic
glow of children wishing
happy birthday to a genie
through circadian landlines
wired to slumberous Vivian
as she finds the last cowering
despot & kills him by laughing
that punk laugh both rotten
& divine. There are no child
stars in the Milky Way tonight.
They have all joined the liberation armies.
I hear Bruce Boone reading Blake through my headphones & the sound of Blue Ivy in the morning.
Joey wedged the Billy Ripkin ‘Fuck Face’ card into the corner of a mirror he gave me. When I look at myself that’s what I see.
The keys have a good sort of skeletal crack, popping bubble wrap, typing this up I touch that.
The house smells like the house I guess. I don’t go out much these days so I’m never quite sure what it’s not.
The present sort of tastes like a virulent anachronism loosing its flavors by the day to become just
surpassingly sweet, I mean bruisingly so in the end (almost) more than we could take.