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tough guy poetry and manly stories of loneliness
all contents copyright Jon Rolston 2004, 2005, 2006

September 9, 2006


Back to looking for work.

September 8, 2006


Spam Poem

buried feudal geese cloister
immaculate edible waffle certificate
serendipitous hypocrite bibliography
broadside muff kneel expert

Can I get a “Hell Yeah” from all the Poetry Majors out there? Remember when you used to write non-sensical sentences searching for sound? Only sound, no meaning, yet meaning always snuck in?

Recent penis enlargement spam is at that same awkward stage. I edited the nonsense at the bottom of this ad:

“Friction creates pleasure during love making.
The bigger your dick the more friction the better it feels for yourself and your partner.
Gain length AND thickness with our new enlargement patch.
It takes love making to the next level…”

and came up with that nice little poem. (It helped to put in some line breaks.)

This type of poetry is all the rage over at San Francisco State in the grad program. It is called L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry. Officially born in 1971 as a movement, it is still going strong.

The main point of language poetry is to remove the sense of an author. To take out the narritive. The reader is able to invent the story because the words have shades of meaning that are personal yet part of the shared culture. Would you like to write some L=A=N=G=A=U=G=E poetry? Would you like to be a post-modern artist? Here is some spam for you to experiment with:

also mao electorate hester dane entendre courtier equitable inequivalent cataclysmic annulled dovetail byte fungus oh algiers thrice automat protect extraordinary baltimorean album cia bodhisattva miriam see depletion swept lukewarm similitude blowup debrief ambient nilpotent cotangent providential coal vito awry plant auditory imprimatur connector thieves poland scour bankrupt tapeworm american rotund citation loeb whelm chronology albacore zoo soiree physiology acreage cucumber pease , not quintessential troutman albrecht almaden thick roth roadbed afterglow greatcoat succession constipate pinxter delectate invest eva carbine ire healthful guard biharmonic plebeian automobile heusen purslane associate perfusion reciprocal circa defecate interfere midrange hovel it

It came at the bottom of this pitch:

“Don’t be no short dicked man.
Make your member long, thick and strong.
Recent technology has changed the lives of thousands of men.
For less than two hundred dollars it can change yours too.
It doesn’t matter if you are married, single or gay.
Everyone could use a boost in size.”

These spams are perfect poetry primers. There is the non-poetic narritive part we call the pitch. You read it like a story. You half picture someone confiding to you. Someone wants to help you…right? Who is that narrator?

Then comes language poetry. Isn’t it refreshing not to be told something? You aren’t spoken to with language poetry, you are given a ball to bounce. It’s play time. Make believe. No one calls you in to wash your hands and sit down for dinner. Language poetry strives to lose authority.

I don’t write that kind of poetry. I’m mainstream. Me! Why? I want a cult of personality. Who I am is supposed to be integral to what I write. You need to know my story to understand my poetry!

Unfortunately that is passe. There are no more solitary artists in America. Who cares if I’m a brooding poet? How can I brood online, successfully? The software tells me how many people visit everyday, how long they stay, what time they logged on. I’m not a lonely poet.

I’m a caricature, a rambling drunk masturbator waitingto write a great novel that will change the English speaking world. In the meantime, spam in your inbox is getting the job done. Penis enlargement promotions are breaking new ground in literature.

Check this out:

advice given to budding L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E P=O=E=T=S by poet Bernadette Mayer in her work, “Experiments”:

1. Systematically derange the language, for example, write a work consisting only of prepositional phrases, or, add a gerundive to every line of an already existing piece of prose or poetry, etc.

2. Get a group of words (make a list or select at random); then form these words (only) into a piece of writing – whatever the words allow. Let them demand their own form, and/or: Use certain words in a set way, like, the same word in every line, or in a certain place in every paragraph, etc. Design words.

3. Write what cannot be written, for example, compose an index. (Read an index as a poem).

4. Attempt writing in a state of mind that seems least congenial.

5. Consider word & letter as forms; the concretistic distortion of a text, for example, too many o’s or a multiplicity of thin letters (illftiii, etc.)

6. Attempt to eliminate all connotation from a piece of writing & vice versa.

7. Work your ass off to change the language & don’t ever get famous.

(see the original at: http://www.poetrypreviews.com/poets/language.html)

Spam seems to satisfy almost every command of LANGUAGE poetry!

September 7, 2006

The pen is mightier than the sword, but we’ll cut their fucking hands off.

the lips of hope

A team of U.S. poets is hard at work developing a style of poetry meant to crush the human spirit. This elite cadre, comprised of local, state and national laureates, meet under the aegis “Poetry for Aggressive Peace”, an extension of Tough Guy Poetry, and receives funding from the C.I.A.

President Bush said, after signing a bill to fund PAP,
“I believe that the only way to defeat terrorism is to crush the Islama-terrorist’s ability to believe in their “God”. Through the power of poetry, all hope will be abandoned and they will kill themselves rather than kill honest hard working Americans.”

The American public is warned that the following link contains an early version of just such a soul crushing poem:

Poetry is a vital force in Islam. Governments through out the Middle
East support poetry, and their leaders are active poets. Is this why
we are losing the war on terror? I can think of nothing else that
separates our cultures today, other than this administration’s lack of
intimacy with and support of poetry. Until recently.

Military brass have received intelligence from overseas operatives
that irrefutably describes the power of poetry in military/government
affairs. The power of poetry is undeniable. It stirs the emotions, it
speaks to the human soul. It clears the path to suicide if used
properly. Islamafascists have poetry on their side.

How can “Western” poetry be turned into a weapon? Therein lies the
dilemma for military strategists. Western poetry has long
sought to end wars. Only now do experts realize it went about this
the wrong way! it called for peace! With a lisp and a cooing! It
called for understanding assholes at an MFA level. It wanted to
explore complex human emotions through alliterating verbs. It wanted
to obfuscate quotidian impulse through analogy. Love was a cherry
blossom in the springtime. Death was like a dying light.

“Get mad at the light” was the poet’s advice. Not now. Not no more.
Not after 9-11. Poetry for Aggressive Peace doesn’t mince words. PAP
gives answers where other poetry leaves questions. It’s time to
rhyme dead with red again. But let’s switch to towel head. Or fuck
rhyming. Let’s kill em fast as possible. Free verse. Fully
automatic. But trained. True poets have control.

Military poetry says stay calm – don’t blink when you pull the
trigger. We want this guy dead. Military poetry wants you cold
blooded. it is raw power tempered, trained aggression that won’t stop
until the enemy is no longer living. Then there is a FINAL peace.

Western poetry is no longer for doves. It’s high time we grew some
balls, grew some talons, time to make sonnets swoop down and pull
flesh apart, time for villanelles that are packed with small sharp
shards in such concentration the smallest crack in a flak jacket
proves lethal.

Calling all American poets! Poetry is a craft, national defense needs
masters of the craft. Masters of warpoems! Poetry is in the trenches,
a little haiku settles in the bottom of every hollow point bullet,
whose meaning dawns on the victim in an illuminating way. There are
giant holes in his body. Shit! Now we see the light! It’s pouring
through where the brains used to be! Joyce spoke of moments of
epiphany. Poetry that is the whistle of falling payloads provides
this service. People wake up during a war. Their blood boils.
Poetry is made. The war will be won. Poetry will win it. AMERICAN

The first place anyone should visit when arriving in San Francisco is the Dump. The transfer station. The place the garbage goes. It is a beautiful place. I know beautiful people who work there.
oldtiresDSCN0077.jpg garbagehunkDSCN0116.jpg

San Francisco State has accepted me into the Masters of Fine Arts program to study Creative Writing. So I thought, “Why not try it?”
I’ll miss my apartment in Echo Park. It was a sunny little place with always a nice breeze. 146 Douglas Street, Number 8. I’ll always remember it…unless I have a brain injury or develop a brain wasting disease like Alzheimer’s.

I’ll miss the little kids running up and down the hallway, spilling their snacks and screaming surprisingly loud for such small animals.

Leaving Los Angeles. It looks good in pictures, but I’m moving on.

September 5, 2006

I broke my camera a few weeks ago, but finally got another one. Look through the last few entries, I stuck some pictures in that I thought went with the stories. You can expect a constant barrage of images again…

September 4, 2006

Doctor’s orders…

He was an accountant at heart – did speed to make the numbers go faster – got more that way. Loved numbers. Loved facts. Loved them both so much. Made them up when a conversation was understaffed. God he needed control. When someone, (rarely) put it to him and he was caught short (lies and all) he answered “You…might…be…right…” It was a stall. He was digging something up. A “helpful” chunk of advice on how to better express your point. A declaration of his sexuality that somehow questioned yours…a reference to recent scientific discoveries completely unrelated…anything to throw you off. Always ended the same: quick spin on his heels. Retreat to his office. Take off his glasses. Lay his head on the desk. Cut a line. Roll a cigarette…

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