Techne is a higher form of art? Art dehumanized becomes mere techne? Today I bring you a poetic exercise in which I try my hand at a synthesis and truce in the war that, one hundred years after the Futurist manifesto, rages on in artistic and humanist circles, lately masked as the utilitarian arguments of those who have the assets and the Kantian counterarguments of those who need the endowments to survive and safeguard what they treasure and believe in.
There are works of art that should never see the light and still I put this piece to the test of your patience and criterion. No serious magazine would ever remotely consider publishing it. No serious reader would dare go beyond the second line. And still I root for its outright deformity, knowing that within its lack of proportion there is order, and even bits of poetry to be seen under the naked eye. That’s a good enough definition of contemporary art for me.
So, let’s start with an explanation of the playful nonce form I created, the Word-Spin, in case you ever decide to play with words yourself.
The Word-Spin builds up on the cogent incoherence of Flarf and proposes a return to its surrealist inspiration by imposing an order that, at the same time, enables the writer to communicate freely a unique “frame of mind”. That’s a mouthful…
1. Start by giving a title to your poem.
2. Permute the letters of the words in the title in order to arrive at a list of words that will guide your poem: that is your word-spin. The words in the title must be part of the word-spin too. For instance, my word-spin for a poem entitled “EXAMPLE OF TRUTH” would be: EXAMPLE, AMPLE, LAME, EX, AMP, LAMP, MAP, LEX, EXAM, MAX, PAX, LAX, OF, TRUTH, RUTH, HURT, RUT. What is your take, your own unique word-spin?
1. Any coherent linguistic structure in any language counts as spin-word.
2. Made-up words and neologisms are allowed.
3. Words can only be spun once.
4. Self-censorship is allowed, i.e. words that don’t fit with the poetic project can be disregarded and the order in which you arrange them in the word-spin is also free.
5. The use of technology (Google+) to enhance the capacity to generate unexpected word permutations is encouraged and essential to the form.
Word-Spin to Exhaustion
– This is the case of the poem I’ve posted today, a more radical version of the Word-Spin that will leave you literally exhausted… Absolute obedience to one’s own word permutations is required: words are spun into the list as soon as they are found, no reordering is allowed and no words can be eliminated from the list.
And here is the monstrosity in question:
Human who Permutes Letters to Create Cultural Artifacts Shows Off his Capacity to Flarf and thus Adumbrates a Nonce Form, the Poem by Exhaustion, Hoping to Humor Readers and Convince them that the Bullshit he Fabricates is Worthy of Attention, so much more so than the Ornate Baloney Others Try to Pass as Transcendental Art
I’m a human, nothing more, nothing less than a man, son of Uma. Life is never austere, I say ‘mu’ or ‘moo’ but will always say ‘blue’ whenever a cat says ‘woof’ and you can find an allegory of life, underwear and writing anywhere you like but namaste to you, stranger, don’t walk this land planting salt like a Hun, let it’s music grow and hum like Han Solo would, geez I only wish nu was the measure of… nah, but if it reads like Scottish, walks like a Scottish and drinks like a Scottish, the lad’s probably from Glasgow, all of us have a ma and she once was a lass but all I wanna do is permute and have some fun and all I really wanna say is that ta mère est mon bitch, Frenchie, so mute your flute, life is pay-per-death: ter little monkeys jumping on a bed, one fell off and messed his perm, so ma called the doctor and the doctor said there are only two stupid monkeys left, I’m calling chimp-support but thanks to Buddha the term is over, bells toll and academia metes out punishment to flarfers, stamps out the riotous, but that pert… that pert ain’t gonna ‘cause I don’t wanna, ‘cause I’m an emu: watch me fly out of the window. You can mure yourself up but they’re gonna find out someday and who doesn’t like to read ere taking a shit? Tupac would tup a tup and then rap about it to all of us but he needs a new rep, his wee-wee never gets any gigs, of late. La mer la mer toujours recommencè, si si, vaffanculo Valéry, eppur si muove and who the fuck can ever take a decent shot with a disposable camera. Hereupon I reach REM-phase and am at last at peace. Peru Peru, Tupac-Amaru –not the other Tupac, mind you. But it always depends on your point of view. Rue de l’Odeone was once an accordion of love but Adrienne left Sylvia for another beach. I meant to say beach, really, I promise… you the letters and let them speak I’ll ret in language, plunge into it and smother myself, let my tête roll free, not into the basket, don’t put all your dreams into one basket, let your head wheel down the street but remember that revolutions die and Guillotine faced his invention face up, his head is dust now, an accident of History, res, res de res, on no hi ha no es pot sacar, dialectal tangents but what matters is always the center, Spanish, I mean English, the ser, I mean the self, the self, to ser or not to ser that is the letter and the commonplace and the instance of the letter, forever set or unset and, though I like setters, E.T. really makes my day, that crazy alien flying around on bikes and his (her?) terse sayings, dubbed, of course, “mi casa”, as he points out to the window and the rest is History a rete of organic matter, blood vessels and nerves, être oder not ser, that is the pestering erethism of languaged mammals. Create create that’s the first rule and yes, I must confess I steal a crate or two to store the materials for my own edifice cause the fat one ate it all you see, the tic tac tic tac tic tac acts upon us and we utter disenchantment and consume tea, coffee and mate like we used to climb on trees but there are no proofs of that, you have to belief, ¡Cree! ¡Cree! Drink! Drink! Cultural routes, rote learning and again we’re stuck in a rut so I say a tomar pel cul and read rall. in the score and I tell life to stop, to go easy, and I can see life slowing down, see it whimpering, coming down to a musical halt. Don’t be fooled, the Ural mountains can never separate us. Its us and ur-life, ur-text, ur-sex, wow, everybody wants to try out for that cult, and there are so many artifacts you wouldn’t believe… art is art notwithstanding fact, facts never go far but I’d love to have a cat, cats have a nobler a ring to them, they put the cherry to a writer’s nest, cats are satiric animals who never die, sacred for the Egyptians, they love ham like Iseult loved Tristam. It shows. Effort shows or so they say but shh. Wait for your turn. How? How? – asked the Crow. The Who stinks, though. Sow and you’ll have to harvest and work so much more. Why bother? Better come and go off. And on. Off. And on. Off. And on the capacity to love I will only say: I’ll dress like a matador, walk around holding a capa, take you to the city, buy you a pita, I’ll let you pay the tip, have pity, tap-tap, who’s there? It’s knock-knock, stupid ass. Don’t tap your mouth to the tap you drunkard smitten with flarf, whoever adumbrates first gets the flat rate, the best mate, so don’t be dumb, google it all, google ‘raster’. Doused in mud, like a bum, come as you are little brat, who can find a ram nowadays? We are all marred and scared shitless by political Dumas, our pink stinked skin splurged with serum and while ‘nonce’ means nonce, in Britain some naughty men like brats, but that’s another story, said Moustache, and once upon a time on a no man’s land, non-amorous detached adults took econ, introduction to philosophical discourse and joined clubs. But the form is so much more, the form informs the content, why can’t you see what you’re doing to me? Because I love you too much baby. Cradle of rock. Watch the Roms roam. Don’t be politically incorrect! The poem is me. But it isn’t, it ain’t no mow. I’m the seed, planted to exhaustion, I’m it, I’m in the house, I’m the house, the haute écolier playing a recorder and recording us, us reading under a sky that breaks open while the rage of God whooshes down on Noah, who then became one of the founding father’s of the USA and now works for the private sector, a guy worthy of note hon, unlike you, and there’s no hoping to become, no hopes to hop over and it’s already tough to simply be, so you might as well play ping pong, I used to be a good player, a ping pong player, and I know a ho when I read it, some letters nip life and then life gives itself back to the world, I guess humor is the key and rumor has it that you are looking for readers. Sear. Abrade. Do you dare to speak up? Truth or dare. I choose red. Sed de vida. Dear, have you seen my earring? Dear, have you seen my fear? Dear, where is my coat? But, who am I? I’m a rad, an unabomber, don’t pay attention to what I say. You convince no-one with your dirty rhymes. I saw you once hanging upside down, beneath a poplar tree, beside a vine. Nine. And the first nine ex-cons moved into public housing and lived happily ever after. Travelled to Spain. Went to the cine. Hated Von Neumann’s guts. Signed an armistice with society and received payments of good faith, not the bullshit they were already getting used to. A whole life spent choking with shit while others promenade and discuss and sublime about the bull, the bull that mesmerizes us under the sun the beautiful bull under a moon that lulls the night away. I won’t drop names. Words. Words. Hit and run. If I remember right, the last one to sit down goes to Seville, or did she go to Seville and then loose her chair? Anyway, Seville rhymes with Ull who was a nice chap who apparently was fond of rings, the son of a God… the one with the hammer, what was his name? And you can slit the belly of a goat or slit someone’s throat but bits and pieces and bits, especially bits, dominate the world, the world that in turn fabricates us, and this we know: fabrications will never sate us, we want more, we want more of us, we can get no satisfaction and I try and I try but I can’t get anywhere without a car and don’t have a rite to call my own besides love and that’s fab, really, I’m an atheist, I don’t give a damn, I speak Brit but can paint with watercolors whenever I want to, and all came out of one single rib but I like living in a ribat of logic and pretend I welcome new ideas, I’m welcoming, welcoming, welcome, welcome ladies and gentlemen the taba, the game has begun! You don’t know the game? Neither do I, look it up, taba, google it, learn the rules, play, everything is for play, you’ll need a bone, but wait, here it is, abracadabra! I said: abracadabra! And all the worthy people disappear, thy worth is in the wort before fermentation begins and… Thor! That’s it, Thor. Mythology. I think we should let myths rot. Be playful about it. Go ask any of Roth’s characters: they fuck around a lot. Attention please, turbulence ahead, brace yourself, we’re going down, down, good nite, at ten, I go to sleep at ten, OK, not really, but I do see a ton of infommercials, I find them intellectually stimulating, they set a tone, a particular mood to my writings and my nights before I fall into a net of dreams, the bough of sleep that holds me up against the sky as I hear Nat King Cole and let there be you let there be me let there be love and what not, love is more or less like an Ent, wakes up every now and then from it’s sleep in the Middle Earth, love’s like a tin man, like a good tan, like a tit so ornate you can never catch enough sight of it and earn, earn a wage, earn love, earn respect, man, woman, earn your death it’s all about the ore er… ano? let’s not go there, but Tao is interesting, to have no clue about nothing and be straight about it cause all of us are searching for the center, the middle of, in the middle of my memory thereof is Teo, bless you Violeta Denou, I wish I was Teo, but that’s baloney, infancy, all that’s in store is to be alone, perhaps with a little good luck in Baly I will lay and forget spelling mistakes, I actually like driving on the left lane, I’ll retire to a little island shaped like a leaf, Nal will help me out, give me Yens, play a ney for me, I’ll listen, I’ll be that yon solitary stripper: “noly me tangere”, she said, “how do you spell that?” I asked, and looked up the first word in my bilingual Italian-English dictionary, but it wasn’t there. Others were there too, but they were busy holding a grudge, holding a line. All wanted to be hers. They were dying for it. Yes, I’m being ironic. Iconic. Allegoric. Just go try stop it: life. Life. Life will pass. But I’m fine, really. Sap flushed down the toilet, my blood spilling under the grass. But please, do contact me or my energy a.s.a.p., it feels so lonely here, floating in the middle of the transcendental nothingness, I need a good hot German punch or I’ll go dental but how, how can one transcend? You little rascal. Memory lacerates my heart. I see a Rasta walk by and wish I hadn’t cut my hair: crass error. The scent of liberty is a dent in the earth, a hole bore into this horrid den. Talc. I smell talk. I can only see the crest of the rooster, the cock, the bird, let’s celebrate Thanksgiving! Esta va por San Givin! But the bird, the corpse is lying there, roasted, staring at me, a crescent lantern in the raw sky. Alden! Alden! Your life’s laden with words: nascere nolite Buskirk. It’s just lots of Andes and no dales, you see, a pretty boring scene. A scar… that’s art. The boiling tar we dip our fingers in. Our life going down the drain. The rat that runs under the sheets, bites our toe, wakes us up and scuttles away.
And here is the key to the maze:
Human: man Uma mu an nam hun hum Han nu na ma um
Permutes: mere mute per ter perm term metes pert emu mure ere tup put rep mer rem Peru rue.
Letters: Ret let tete res ser letter set setter E.T. terse rest rete etre eret(hism)
Create: Crate ate eat tac act tea tree are cree
Cultural: Rut cul rall. Ural ur- cult
Artifacts: Art if fact far cat satiric trista(m)
Shows: sh how who sow
Capacity: capa city pita tip pity tap
Adumbrates: rate mate muda dumb raster mud bum brat ram mar Duma serum
Nonce: once on no non econ
Exhaustion: it house haute us Noah USA note hon
Hoping: ping pong ho nip
Readers: sear dare red sed dear ear rad
Convince: vine nine con cine von
Bullshit: shit bull lull hit sit Ull slit but bit
Fabricates: sate car rite fab Brit bar rib ribat taba abra
Worthy: thy worth wort Thor rot Roth
Attention: nite at ten tonne tone net Nat not Ent tin tan tit
Ornate: earn ore er ano Tao Teo
Baloney: alone Baly lay lane Nal Yen ney one yon noly
Pass: sap a.s.a.p
Trascendental: dental trascend rascal lacerate rasta crass scent dent den talc crest crescent Lantern: Alden laden nascere Andes dale scene scar
Art: tar rat