Cleave Poetics 1-14

tHe mAgic typEwritEr

“It is a parasurrealism
that examines its own
lyrical structure…
a lively, dramatic
edginess, a visceral
sense of “being there.”
—Charles Borkhuis,
“Writing from Inside Language:
Late Surrealism and Textual Poetry
in France and the United States,”
Telling It Aslant:Avant-Garde
Poetics of the 1990s


“How much of poetry is
unprovoked thought?”
—Clark Coolidge,
The Crystal Text

what provokes—cleavage?
that which is—blank?
a new kind of—line?
three lines—in one?

how to be—simultaneous?
three-way—at the same time?
rearranging—past present future?
writing it—into a new tense?

picasso—does it
juan gris—does it
kandinsky—does it
braque—does it

but what—do they do?
do they do—cubism?
or does cubism—do them?
provoking—such cleavage?


“I remember waking up one
morning with the look of that
page in my mind.”
—Clark Coolidge,
Postmodern Poetry:
The Talisman Interviews

i wake up—in the morning
with the page—in my mind
the layout of—the cleave
long-lines—becoming one

the cleave voice—sketching
provoking me—to visualize
the phantom page—again
the usual way—linking lines

the overall—arrangements
pages waiting—patiently
to be written—to be typed
creating them—back again

cleaving—the darkness
fingers typing—magic keyboard
words of light—onto a screen


“the energy of word art”
—Clark Coolidge,
Postmodern Poetry:
The Talisman Interviews

cleaving—against it
seeing what—emerges

monsters—of the id
ghosts—of the ego

the body—as movie
dreaming—voyage imaginaire

i’m starved—i’m hungry
the way—poets eat poets
language—cleave du jour


“wait and see
what emerges…”
—Clark Coolidge,
Postmodern Poetry:
The Talisman Interviews

what’s happening—with cleaves?
the difficulty—talking about them?
designing them—as 3 texts in one
suggesting that—their meaning
somehow comes—from a “complex”?

when actually—the artifice of cleaves
performs simultaneously—paraphrasing
the old surrealism—thru LangPo research
into a new reading—worthy to be
called American—parasurrealism…


“This is very
unprovoked thought”
—Clark Coolidge,
Postmodern Poetry:
The Talisman Interviews

it opened—i caught it
versions left over—over the edge
they shifted—down the spinal cord
all the hyphens—slouching like cats
sniffing—soft paws on the carpet
here in the city—craning their necks
getting a good look—thru the gate
at the other—shape-shifter


“the great
—Clark Coolidge,
Postmodern Poetry:
The Talisman Interviews

it comes here—i don’t know how
i say this—i’ve lost so much
planting hyphens—slanting it down
how it grows—nobody knows
beneath a—night sun moon
blackness—dark at high noon
it’s coming—undoing me


“Just a sequence
of rooms…”
—Clark Coolidge,
Postmodern Poetry:
The Talisman Interviews

i hear it—when it’s coming
i don’t know—it’s different each time
ignorant me—an undertow beneath
my style—just flowing with it
failing—just what is needed
finally—entering the moment
when i am—into who i am


“or should I
say nonconnection”
—Clark Coolidge,
Postmodern Poetry:
The Talisman Interviews

entering it—the keyhole
the cleave—down the middle
slicing—cerebral hemispheres
the tale—of two cities
boulevards—left and right
drawbridge—across the channel
down below—thru the metal grating
tall ships—passing in the night
my brain—springs a leak
falling down—into sailboats


“He’s one of the
interesting bad writers”
—Clark Coolidge,
“Arrangement,” Talking
Poetics from Naropa

it lurks—my window’s open
i don’t even see—what’s coming thru
but it knows me—noxious yog-sothoth
spawn of primal time—tentacles amorphous
monster cleaves—threshold lurkers
frothing congeries—protoplasmic flow
opening the gate—eldritch netherworld
hip lovecraft—call of cthalhu


“to find a form that
accommodates the
mess, that is the task
of the writers today”
—Samuel Beckett

next to—next to
does it join—does it join
does it mean—does it mean
does it know—does it know
if after all—it does know
and I say so—does it?


“Language isn’t just
objects, it moves…”
—Clark Coolidge,
“Arrangement,” Talking
Poetics from Naropa

if after all—they do know
if i say so—and they agree
a marriage—a convenience
between us—our arrangements
parallel poetry—out of thin air
making it up—right then & there
with me—who am i to quibble?


“you go where it goes,
I think that connects with
arrangement in a way”’
—Clark Coolidge,
“Arrangement,” Talking
Poetics from Naropa

acetylene torching—working better
brighter down there—than flashlights
spelunking—inside trilobite time
stalactite organs—playing in the dark
intrauterine—underground journeys
passageways—connected arrangements
crawling climbing—using ropes down deep
reading rocks—rocks reading you
cleaving deeper—thru strata and faults


“metaphor chains”
—Clark Coolidge,
“Arrangement,” Talking
Poetics from Naropa

not everyone here—hears words turning
feels apportionment—mosaic night-soil moving
collecting in sleep—penetrating dreams
invisible stalagmites—slow motion overhead
older than pyramids—elvis’ blue suede shoes
cassiopeia’s taxi—outside the 7-eleven
the lady in the red dress—the queen of spades
words want to make us—faking us away
twisting crimping—that’s their style
give them some slack—chill your cool


“there are no rules,
let’s see what can
be written”

—Clark Coolidge,
Postmodern Poetry:
The Talisman Interviews

see the ink—egyptian papyrus jive
see the ships—on the walls of the temples
see the nile—inching back and forth centuries
see the birds—in the reeds along the banks
see the steep steps—hear the coffin creak & groan
see the antique palms—leaning into the sunset
see the piles of stone—beneath the ancient stars
see the gold mask—see thru tut’s time-machine
see the coiled caduceus—uncoil when it’s time
see the face that’s yours—when the pyramids fly

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