John Bloomberg-Rissman and Anne Gorrick

from My Beauty is an Occupiable Space: 37 Prosed Sonnets

Sonnet 1 - My beauty sounds like itself

My beauty is not a story. My beauty is not free speech. “Twenty-three, with black, straight, shoulder-length hair / and tight T-shirt and jeans, my beauty looked / like it could be a Ramone, The bartender / thought so; before the show, he kept / serving it free drinks.” My beauty is a Last Chance Beauty Queen. She’s restless for an Ikea rodeo, wears sushi bar sandals, stale green light, Styrofoam skin care products, government faucets, formaldehyde iPhones, my beauty is reading this to find out how you can get free stuff, Evanescence edits my beauty. You lied about the number of atoms in other elements. Go photograph a deck of cards and separate them from your other nouns. I’m injecting my eight-year-old son with Botox. ‘Tis ma belle (mah bel), my beauty, an indexical. The night I met Einstein. Ah, Whitney, après la deluge! My beauty sounds like itself. Is my beauty base or superstructure?

Sonnet 2 - Naive realism

The moon is free and is often undetected in Spanish. The summation of parts, the beginning of terror, is Tramadol really a narcotic? Telephones amendments, attorneys prepare a clay wedding. All the tiny little rhinestone poets are invited, because my beauty is a tiny little rhinestone glued to the nub of the 7000 nerve endings. And she has fantastic dress sense. And she smokes a rather elegant small pipe. My beauty swam out of the water and walked home. Please, Master, drag and drop my beauty. Then raconte-moi une histoire, énigmatique as a Rainbow Crow. Weeks are restless with pictures, contagious with rectangles. Is my beauty a felony or a parallelogram? Is its style contagious? Starfish, staph infections, a real bird is an occupiable space outlined in scarlet stitches. Our babies will be beautiful, won’t they? They might look like Congressman Narcissus Pasha TidBits.

Sonnet 3 - There are dogs in the night garden

An error reflected my beauty, while a very strange enchanted boy swallowed some snow. Aristocrats married China. Flawlessly, we divide into three sections. This is the easiest of all great books to carve: it’s a rectangle. And a conversation. Dear Anne, it’s 7:32 in the afternoon, the day after your birthday. My beauty is this, it turn out. I’m a cheerleader, or the nuns are watching, or my soul got stretchy in places. Your turntables turn litmus blue you should see them in the sun where they rub-a-dub-dub-my-beauty til the beats bounce thru the prisms into the what-world of Remedios Varo’s Creación de las aves. “Maybe my beauty seems foolproof to you,” Frida said
to Diego, after she kissed his diary mask “But you will note the few drops of blood that drip past the clamp, and the clouds in the background, the wind can’t control.” There are dogs in the night garden. We are already dead and the costs are variable. Rifle scopes and long range weather forecasts. Peter used the word “perfume-capades.” “Watches are less serious than warnings, my beauty.”

Sonnet 4 - The poverty of vitalism

This is my nightly meringue mask. Part of my beauty regimen. It’s basically egg whites, crème fraîche, powdered sugar, vanilla, growth hormones, gluten-free alcohol … I learned this when I left the shtetl — that means home town. That bottle you’re clutching. In the shtetl it's called the bottle of last things. Everyone gets one. But I’m a cheerleader, or a rocket. I got high and waited upon the lord. I see it in the knowable. I’m making Sand: The Movie. I am a recognized, builtin, functional name. Mitosis , ghosts . Are you a static member of my beauty school? My beauty is money. My beauty is a matter of national security. My beauty, you are wanted on a charge of infinite unicorn stabbings. With that stupidsticky roller thingy that picks up every piece of pet hair (or pennies … “that is just so dammit”. Harvey's 4-door Integra … Gromia: beautiful predatory grape … Sri Lankan safari – green turtles mating Dammit – the slideshows are .... Unicorns of the Hydrocalypse ... sunshine & unicorns: (The NSA has given me a great recipe for sticky ginger goocake)

Sonnet 5 - I have quickly learned to use my Shiba-scream

Wavenet structure. She text-messaged her perfume. The days are prom dresses, or titanium twin turbo engines. She canceled the maps to her beauty, and tore up her Neverland travel checklist. She laid down and watched the movies on her arms. I leaned in close to watch. I got the text. I fasted/feasted on honey water. Now which you are we speaking of? Labdanum, vetiver, galbanum? You cruel god snowflake pony. My beauty, my beauty, my beauty. Like a Shiba Inu, I have quickly learned to use my Shiba-scream. Your cruel god is a snowflake peony, my beauty. Is your house serializable? Are your paths compliant? This is not the new moon I was hoping for, not the Cinderella paranormal Christmas I really wanted, not the Hindi Highway Patrol. Are you the unstoppable Facebook Pocahontas? Your cruel god is a snowflake penny. And yes, I’m Pocahontas, a ground-cover plant, lying in a ditch, looking at the x-rays, being slowly poisoned by the sex-rays of the tars. When I say my beauty, do I mean your beauty? We are funny monkeys you and me. Are you Curious George? My beauty is a ghost monkey, a fictional walkthrough with three bedrooms. Do you think a ghost is attempting to contact us? Do our lyrics resurrect us?

J. B-R. writes:
"Process Note

The “source text” for this sequence is Lynn Behrendt, This is the story of Things that Happened.

Alternating lines, we took the nouns from each and processed them via one of two computing techniques. The first involved wetware and the hidden algorithms of the imagination. The second involved Google. Neither of us consulted or inquired as to how the other was engaging with these techniques. The only other compositional constraints were

·    that this was a poem revolving around the phrase “my beauty”, the “who” in “my”
      never being specified, and thus floating between personae and pronouns, and

·    that each time we hit fourteen lines we called it a sonnet and went on to the next one.

We turned these sonnets into titled ‘prosed sonnets’ when we finished the project. We did this in order to lose track of who originated what. We are both gladly responsible for all of it.

A number of the titles are derived from another collaboration, this being Crisscross, by Jack Collom and Lyn Hejinian."

John Bloomberg-Rissman is halfway through In the House of the Hangman, the third section of his maybe life project called Zeitgeist Spam (picture Hannah Hoch painting over the Sistine Chapel, leaving Michelangelo to show through) The first two volumes have been published: No Sounds of My Own Making (Leafe Press, 2008) and Flux, Clot & Froth (Meritage Press, 2010). In addition to his Zeitgeist Spam project, he has edited or co-edited two anthologies, 1000 Views of 'Girl Singing' and The Chained Hay(na)ku Project, and is at work on a third, which he is editing with Jerome Rothenberg. He is also deep into two collaborations, one with Richard Lopez, one with Anne Gorrick (from which the above pieces come). And his "50 Poems from 50 Books in (About) 50 Days" was just published in Galatea Resurrects 18. He blogs at Zeitgeist Spam.

Anne Gorrick is the author of three books of poetry: I-Formation (Book 2) (Shearsman Books, 2012), I-Formation (Book 1) (Shearsman, 2010), and Kyotologic (Shearsman, 2008).

Collaborating with artist Cynthia Winika, she produced a limited edition artists’ book called “Swans, the ice,” she said with grants through the Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.

She curates the reading series, Cadmium Text, which focuses on innovative writing in and around the New York’s Hudson Valley. She co-curates, with poet Lynn Behrendt, the electronic poetry journal Peep/Show.

Her visual work can be seen at theropedanceraccompaniesherself.blogspot.com.

She lives in West Park, New York.

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Blogger Tom Beckett said...

Nice work!

Now I have to prove I'm not a robot.

4:51 AM  
Blogger John B-R said...

Thanks, tom. It's a point of pride that we share an issue with you.

9:29 AM  

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