June Poet

...........John Moore Williams

VK: Out of splatterpunk, erotica and slipstream, which style do you most identify with?
.....That’s a very interestingly phrased question, and I’m glad you asked it, as I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the relationship between the writing self and the identity. My initial reaction is to say that I actually identify most with poetry, in whatever form it takes, though this is in fact the hardest sort of literary product for me to create (and it is perhaps this labor that makes me identify with it so strongly).
.....But on second thought I’m inclined to give a more complex answer: which is that, in the moment of composition, I identify most with whatever it is that I’m writing (and this may be less with its ‘genre’ than with the individual piece). In a sense, I feel that the person who creates each of the various genres I write in is a distinct entity, a ‘self’ consumed with its product and wholly identified with in in the moment, though each of these is subsumed into a greater whole, which, if not ‘me’ per se, is unified by my body, the mechanism that thinks and types. The person I am when I write a piece of erotica (and even within each genre different ‘sub-selves’ manifest, so that the one who writes realistic pieces and the one who writes fantasy erotica are not really one and the same) is in reality no more ‘me’ than is the person who answers those ridiculous questions employers insist on asking during interviews. For me, identity is a phenomenon primarily of the body – it constantly returns to the body, and would make no sense without the simultaneously isolating and uniting body – and so, insofar as the erotic is the literature of the body, I suppose that I would have to say that I identify with erotica, or rather, with the erotics implicit in all forms of literature.

VK: Please explain "translation as composition"
I think of translation as a means of composition in a variety of ways:

Firstly, it’s a way of taking Pound’s dictum "Make it new" seriously.
It’s a way of saying yes to Bakhtin’s statement that "another’s words are always on our tongues."
It’s a means to acknowledge that inspiration, and language, never take place in a vacuum, that another’s thoughts, feelings, etc, are always taking their place in the words I have to say. It’s a way of stripping the veils from Keat’s muse’s face. It’s a path to transcending Bloom’s 'anxiety of influence'. It is, finally, a politics; one that transcends the contemporary binary of conservative/liberal, via an awareness that one can both preserve the past, the path, to point back along the road one has taken, and yet move forward, to blaze new trails while remembering those who have walked them before I.
VK: Do you think the aesthetics of poetry need to be taken more seriously?
.....As for aesthetics in poetry, I think that there are really two types of aesthetic at work in any piece I produce. In the moment of creation, there is a sort of acquired aesthetics at work, a faculty that keeps in constant mind all those technical aspects of poetry that give us a language with which to speak about aesthetics: metaphor, synecdoche, assonance, meter, etc. I want to call it a gut instinct but I’m afraid we’d be getting into a chicken-or-the-egg sort of a territory there, and much as I do believe that language is hardwired into the human body, I’m no disciple of Chomsky, and I don’t think you can downplay the role of reading in the development of a writer’s sense of the literary.
.....For me, though, there’s a second type of aesthetic at work in what I’m doing. In the last year I’ve begun working almost entirely in ‘projects,’ sort of embryonic chapbooks, which are unified not only by subject matter but by style, and few of my recent poems come out of the vacuum outside of these projects. So, as the project develops, I try to articulate an aesthetic theory that, if it does not explicate the work, is at least exemplified by it. The theory becomes a sort of retroactive justification for the style and content of the work, though ideally the work in no way depends upon it. For instance, the ‘android’ poems (the first of which are up at Shampoo right now), have developed a series of aesthetic postulates which parallel the texts, and which are, in a way, my method of trying to make ‘sense’ of the poems. In a way, this goes back to your earlier question about which genre I identify with, and partially explains why I can’t really say that I ‘identify’ with poetry: the android poems began as an experiment in self-abdication, in the creation of a productive algorithm which takes ‘me’ out of their composition as much as is probably possible for me. In one of these ‘postulates’ I claim that the poems are the product of a ‘fictional construct’ and the more I write them, the more true that claim becomes.
.....On the other hand, sometimes I can’t help but feel that too much weight is placed on the theoretics behind a work. I still think that it is of the utmost importance that the work stand on its own, that it draw a reader in of its own power, through whatever means language has to offer, without recourse to some overblown philosophy. All too often, an artistic work and its buttressing theory seem to be at odds with each other. Many pieces of conceptual visual work, for instance, seem to hinge entirely upon their theoretical justification, leaving little of interest inherent in the work itself.
.....In the end I suppose that I would say that the work and its attendant theory can each be appreciated in and of themselves, and that while the one may sometimes illumine the other in unexpected, startling and productive ways, the reverse is also true.
VK: You have a group of poems which are forthcoming in Shampoo #30...Are you an android? Or, do you suffer from android-lust?
.....Every product of human ingenuity (or whatever you’d like to call it), from the poem to cars to computers, reflects the ways in which we think about ourselves, and the android, especially as the purely imagined/fictive product that it currently is, is probably the most elegant of these manifested metaphors for ourselves, a contemporary Frankenstein’s monster (and of course, there are no end of fictions which run wild with this interpretation, Asimov’s "I, Robot" being the most famous). It’s thus particularly interesting to me that one of the first concepts of the android our minds currently leap to is that of the object of desire. As a will-less entity the android is really the culmination of Western conceptions of love and desire: an autonomous being which is nonetheless plastic, shaped entirely by our desires, acceding to every impulse: not only the perfect lover but in fact a mirror of ourselves, another with whom the dream of a seamless melding actually seems almost possible. With an android, there would be a perfect transference of desire; having no desires intrinsic to its being, it would only echo back our own longings to us – would, thus, be us.
.....But my original interest in the android probably came from Ridley Scott’s "Bladerunner" (which, though I am a huge, huge fan of Philip K. Dick, is probably one of the few film versions of a book which outdoes its source) and the way it humanizes, lends will to, the figure of the android. The film’s central insight (which is the heart of the novel as well, of course) that the modern human being and the fictive android are, for all intents and purposes, indistinguishable from each other, really forced me to think about the kind of individual contemporary society shapes. Its really that idea, and (hopefully) its complication, that I’m pursuing in my ‘android’ poems.
.....Soon after I began the ‘android’ poems, I read Christian Bok’s essay on RACTER, the poem-producing computer program, in which Bok suggests that our generation of poets may be the first which will produce poetry read by androids, robots, perhaps even aliens. That idea, to me, poses a challenge to the contemporary poet to surpass strictly and familiarly ‘human’ ways of thinking, to pursue the possibility of speaking to, and perhaps even from, other forms of consciousness. And whatever the realities of human-android or human-alien contact might be in the future, I honestly feel that current and evolving technologies like the internet and robots will force humanity to question its own modes of thinking and being, to reevaluate our consciousness, and that it is the duty, as it always has been, of writers and thinkers to pursue the initial steps on that path.
.....On the most practical level, however, I began the ‘android’ poems as an exercise in exploring the relationship between a work or text and its title, the way in which a poem’s title often encodes the ways in which we read the poem, in a sense, therefore, doing almost as much to produce the ‘meaning’ of the poem as does the rest of its content. So I decided to create poems which are directly and self-consciously the product of their titles, the texts of which create the same sort of startling frisson that springs from first viewing a Magritte, and then seeing its title. Essentially, then, this comes down to an exploration of the relationship between a thing and its name, the map and the territory, the signifier and the signified. I eventually decided to use the android as a central figure in these poems exactly because the means of their production seemed so algorithmic, almost mechanical, that they might have been the output of a program just like RACTER.
dr. awe practices vivisection, or brain surgery
your egregious ruse, no I-arbor, no I-tech, sieve vivacious, sectarian,
it carves pews in the... furrows of cognition, ewe arduous
and true
rotten ewer of dna, sour drawn eons it ignites igneous occulation, war
rough ....and unsubtle.
ether ensues... sweeping severance of epees’ severe rake,
......tiny ions exuded,
rat caesarian section...sows I see, avid IV eve is in/ad hoc
‘et I on robbed ray ion assure.
.......genuine genius, erg row you.
; o yew or gracious ensue in any gene nigh unique edge. error, us.
sans o’ i... yore ebb bore no I to code... company had sinuous even amidst
ease is... swollen snow it ceases no
I-race, alternating current of a steaming tar...dead uxorious snow I yon
it in.
take care ere
vessels eke perilous foes of circumspect narrative...eve singing...the
pews weep
sensuous rate...tubs of eld, insubstantial
dna. huge, rough and raw. no I this tallus...occulus ossuary engine set
in get and get ties no end to the war, dr. you, us, the flowers of net
binary code
though he is not, apparently, aware of it, Dr. Awe's first language is
that of binary code, dominated by the dialectic..(no! not dialectic, for
in this there is no synthesis, no half-way point nor (d)evolution) of
insane /sane, shapely /angular, zero/one (0/ One)...the fact that i can
understand this speech is only further proof that i is an android.

1. .....'ey, doc, yer an I. Be!
.......ebb in are, 'ey cod, cad, yaw (and pitch)
.......way back decoded ye ran, nimble bee,
.......'e able, minor, eyed, documented cabbie's awwwwwwe.
2. .....Aiwas I was, 'e i black demented nemesis you coddled, eyer...a
.........elbow, 'e.
.........'e was! wobbly nino rare ye'd of eld, doc...You! O yes is emanated
.........remedied cabeza...saw i, saw i a
.........a i was,
.........i was a zed (a zero) a compact disc,
.........item errata et detained mess, sissy!
.........Oi, o, why?
........cod-life odd eye raro ninny...Pounds boy!
........Saw? eh.
3......he was. YO, boy! SIDS is a noun, puny nun
........or are ye doe filled o' see? Yeah? O i, o yes, s-s-s-s-se-se-se-
........seemed night edited.
........Tea? Ta... Are rapid eye movements etiolated
........scotoma of id, tender care ape. mocha erogenous, dizzy
assemblage, isolate
........awe, i AA was. i was i was assembled, air-conditioned, de-id-ed
.......died) emory memory erased. tete-a-tete, detonated,
.......mnemonic sigh (sign?) say of you a why.
...... what codification is left? the odd 'e, yer ars on in.
...... Yell! Bow! Say "WE!"
...... eeeeewwww
.......obsolescent lenticular irony rare as yeti's
.......delvings towards orange counties:
.......sememes deeded tons
.......emendate the cackle of abysses.

those weeping velvets still
like memory
and to forget: back-
lash scar-
those lines your fingers carved
from my meat
......................this room:
a black box record-
ing an in-
finite loop of
passenger's screams.
how your tongue carved my eyes
a night
in which to fumble
those sweat-dewed sheets a shroud
for untold shutter-
ed skins and vomitlace
upon the hardwood so scarlet
i couldn't say
if we'd bled or drunk
the night
this hallway a dream-
....................bling my
....to all those sor-

did al-
.....my finger-
tips on weeping velvets:
rattle moon.
rattle moon
rattle set rattle
sterling rattle sterling
silver rattle toy rattler
rattlesnake hot tubes rattle
snake tackle company ...
Creature in the Everything Else!
Avoid scams & fraud by dealing locally!
Be extremely wary of Western Union…
He secured each snake in a plastic box with its tail sticking out of a
hole, ready to record
hole, ready to record
the rattle...Moon needed
to measure the rattle
muscle’s force as the
pitch rose...Fortunately,
Soft fabrics & textured plastic provide teething relief.
3 contrasting patterns stimulate visual sense.
Smiling moon face encourages friendly play.

marriage basket,
wolf doll,
mother rattle,
high warrior,
rain rattle,
moon lodge,
wolf fur,
medicine woman:
It's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial
Moon pie.
4, Wealth spawns corruption ·
Moon Pie, Swater, .........................Decius, Rattle.
4, Frodo Fails. ...
The arches has a squeeky whoozit, cube
with mirror and bell, and a rattle moon hanging
down. On one of the arches
there is an area that has yet to be ripped and ...
There's a sculpted duckling,
and even a rocking horse.
The plate is accented with soft ...
rattle moon
rattle set
rattle sterling
rattle sterling silver
rattle toy rattler
rattlesnake hot tubes
rattlesnake tackle
company rattlesnake
warning sign ...
... puppy magic
stufffed magic
quilt magic
rattle moon
red moon chairs
refrigerator magic
chef redfish magic
round moon
moon chair ...
... remington smooth silky remington ultra smooth remington ultrasmooth
remington ultrasmooth shaver range slide in smoothtop
rattle moon rectangular smooth.
rattle moon; jungle love;
baby sunshine; man on the
moon. man moon
rattle, moon, and animals
Make a delightful baby shower gift.
Holds one 2" x 3" photograph
riding the meridian.
she soft intaglio in age-
yellowed ivory
less taut
he keen-
edged (pallid
shriek opening
to red
as tongue-
speak (rose
cannot cut such
buttery surfaces
petalthorns her
teeth pale
roots clutch
catch hold.
soft animal breath
roomcell viral heat pouring
‘round rib-
we insistent encyst.
body stretched in-
cised canvas.
(poem first appeared in Sein und Werden#14)
[eidolon: after Celan]

when you....... in bed

over otherlost flagcloth lie
by blueblack syllable, in snowlashshutter,
come, through thought-
the crane swimming, steel –
you... open nest with him

his bonemouth ticked you the hours in every mouth – in every
glockenspiel, in hotred strangle, a silent
unfree and free
mint eachother to death,
the scars, the sequins
rain hard through the pores,
second’s gestalt
fly you there and bar
the doors yester and morn, phosphorescent,
like eternityteeth,
blooms your one, your other
the grasping towards, under
the thrusts -: so dense,
so deep-
is the sidereal

None kneads us again from earth and clay,
none bespeaks our dust.

Praised be your name, none.
By your will
will we flower.
towards you.

A nothing
were we, are we, will

we remain, blooming,
a nothingrose, a

the pistil, darkbright,
the stamen skyravaged
our corona red
with the crimsonword we sang
over over
the thorn.

being, beyond, overnight
with word hold you here, there are you,
all is true and a waiting
for truth.

growing, the bean before
our window: think
who near us watches and

God, read we, is
a shard and a second, scattered:
in the death
of the scythed he

leads our seeing,
with this
we regard.
[i hear mermaids singing]
for mermaid’s read: wretched, recalcitrant muse the grotesquely,
ambiguously sexed poet seeks
from beach to beach, stroking at his wrinkled dugs while they lie
outstretched on acid-etched and yellowed

each to each

all the ancient poets' spines he broke to suck their succulent marrow
out, flaccid penis that will
not rise even at the sight of other’s sordid, heatless, congress...with

all their stolen tongues he thrusts
into the page’s desert-dry cunt ‘til their songs are denuded to the

empty clackings of dead teeth.
i do not think

the spider-winged
Underwood broods upon his desk, as poisonous and black as leprous

rats’ foaming maws...every page divine
pornography he cannot reach, can only, panting, watch, and wish for the

hanging arms of simians to beat
his withered breast to dust in dead man’s alley...‘tis the violet hour,

of course, when fairies come, and Coriolanus,
that motherless runt, thrusts his spear between the crack that breaks

night and day; he’ll be the next to rise
to come to grips with daddy’s dead and dusty bones...Madame so sinister,

that wicked pack of cards you
dealt him, dripping with your menstrual flood, has overcome and its

when the moon’s deadfleshpale pearl
rides nighest earth that men, the luna ticks, go mad with time...the

pearl’s of his eyes.
that they will sing to me