Mark Russell

א(the book of moose)
Sections 1-5


kick off


conceptions are best with strong liquor /
conceptions that is       undressed by teeth /

tales of conceptions that crop up late at night /
tales of conception that live at the bottom of the lake /

get a head
Species Central


Some beginnings are touted China /
Some beginnings are laid out in deserts /


This is the book of moose


Let us take the face     paint it red

          fake its taste     suckle it green

          paint the face     compel it to wink

Let us taste the face     fix its teeth

Let us open its grin     peel it as we do our avocado

Let us visit the house of bondage
          now that it is closed
               now that its sign swings in the wind

                    now the workers have shown up
                         grinding out their penniless songs 

Let us give them succour     reinforcements     

Let them run from us     past the sharpening hillside

Let us force them     mimic their labours

Let them face us alone     ask them nothing      


we have three days to make this work
we have three days to break this jar
                show him how to handle ropes safely

we have three days

we have three days to complete the course
we have three days to shop for boys
                who have three working parts

we have three days
                                              one mass                               all energy

we have three days to bang the nickel drum
we have three days to cheat the monkey’s agent
                of his leavened bread

we have three days now

we have three days
                                              no less                               noblesse
                                              no dice                               three days


And the scribes search structure           And arrangement

And the scribes have bodies too            And status           And stature

And the scribes need statistics

And guile           And guise                        And guys             And fettle

And they are without etiquette

And they have each mislaid their modus vivendi
          One of their own          of course
                    And two belonging to somebody else

                              And a cousin they would like to marry

And these are the stones they must carry
And these are the stories they just tell
And these are the secrets that weigh them down

And we will reveal nothing to them
And they will slave into the long nights
And this is the colour of their silence


the book of moose opens with ‘Great’
the book of moose has black feet in the margins

the book of moose contests
the book of moose exists
the book of moose waits for winter

the book of moose closes on Interstate 95
                                                                                           near Fredericksburg

there is no middle section to the book of moose
there is no hamartia in the book of moose
the book of moose is Norse in tongue
there is no trace of Norman in the book of moose
the book of moose has no homeland
there are no Latin phrases in the book of moose

but there are recipes

the recipes in the book of moose are forbidden

Mark Russell has published two pamphlets, Saturday Morning Pictures (Red Ceilings Press, 2015), and Pursued by Well-being (tall-lighthouse, 2013). His poetry, vispo and asemic writing have appeared in Tears in the Fence, Otoliths, Molly Bloom, Shadowtrain, The Rialto, Lighthouse, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Interpreter’s House, Under the Radar, Gutter, The New Post-Literate: A Gallery of Asemic Writing, M58, HOAX, Streetcake, and fourfold. He leaves small traces at: markrussellat.wordpress.com

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