Katie Degentesh
The Anger Scale
Combo 2006

Thanks to The Anger Scale there are a dozen new as gumbo descriptors to add to the poetics lexicon.

Ex credo hyperatoxicity: The Bible is as dry as dust / With antiseptic and sterile towels draped around it...

Winter shun shine: she's already "I go back to your place..."

(Paris) Hiltonesque: a certain level of "twitch factor" / which is in fact welcoming AND / trivial...

Anticipatory heteronormative anxiety: Long-term fungal infection / Tingling down his arm...

Missing antlers: the largest fish is sorting pebbles, shoving at them with / doors, windows, cars, traffic lights, bridges, etc., / anything his precious webbing / would stick to in this rain.

Bucking the current: Over-masturbating since a young age / the new grips made it easier...

Adjacent-nominals intrepidness: riddled with pomphylix / like Binkie my budgie. // My "Fucknoids" hurt like a mofo...

Preposterous culinary apologia: No one felt they had the right to have her committed / while baking cookies...

Merger talkathon: It started with being attacked by a large male pigeon...

Plaudit grubbing: O my soul, I have given thee everything / But I note that my hands do not warm back up inside you.

Petrified by blood stains: If you saw Blade Runner, then you had a glimpse / Of the life of every man of God / The day-to-day variation of teeth / But you still probably wouldn't get to do all the things you wish you could.

Developing export capacity: It worked! My bike was set free!


Television has ceased to exist. It's two decades into the present. There is no other operative story. An engineer and a woman, stark exteriors and flatlands. Internaltionale Isvestia translates itself into digital nourishment and beverage. (On the side.)

Central to the present is channeling Kathy Acker and composing poetry that's published in engineering journals. Isvestia and these journals. There is no other press, much less a small one.
In Memoriam to Identity

The un-will is a brilliant psycho logo-ist grounded in common culture.
Falsettos remain outside the motherhead of polarity's failure
& parenthetical judgment. The male pop group fails to mushroom.

I liked you guys more before I met you, Goliath. Duchamps. Sinatra.
Now I'm discovering ignored wisdom on human terms.


Wired (or some such). Sunday's Demolicious teams two comedic egos. Silly Gary Sullivan and sillier Sean Cole. Gary's blown off his last few gigs in Boston (circumstances), so he's urgently recalled and we're waiting, already giggling. Sean is Boston-based but fun and um explosive -- a forbidden preview of his reeling tradework in the almost-released Queering Language, here. Sunday, 2/4, Out of the Blue, Prospect St., Central Square, 2:00 pm.


The Recognitions

Shadows warned me of your refined emblem and approach.
I'm not religious. I took note of what you like about me.
I had a few ideas in mind (after a few minutes).
I put on my pants and left.


In the marriage of my dreams there was a happy hour.
You look tired. Your fly is open.


One history of modern poetry takes place through interplays and changing social arrangements among practitioners who "call" for attention and cultural authorities attempting to shape institutional "response."

Today there's a countertrend, many coolly conservative arts commentators, poets as well as academics, academics as poets, consensus makers -- so many and so many hybrid variations it's hard to tease them apart from the practitioner-sort that are callers, first, and genuinely leftist (deep in their heads).

Fair game to set up conservative v. leftist?

There's need for a new way to narrate consensus as influenza. First to check out, I suppose, is the one, ones put off by a term such as leftist. No one smart thinks in polarities? Sure thing, director sir, grants mistress.

Concentricities are traps. The big tent jerk off. The academic avant. Ashbery as everyone's touchstone, for instance.

Less as more, concentrally, if you find the late Stanley Kunitz, Dana Goia, Billy Collins appealing (in the least) you're not alone, but hellbent. There are sound arguments to compare them (deep in their heads) with Elizabeth Bishop, Walter Benjamin, Samuel Beckett. There are sounder arguments to separate them by acres of tiers.

Why lean on old farts, anyway? How convincing is it to read someone sucking up to what's been established?


Tim Peterson
Since I Moved In
Chax 2007

Poor philosopher. Lewis Mumford. Captaina, your blandishments assure me u R assembled for the little muskrat (finger extended) and all the others in this unusually junto form as they pique. Call me ridiculous, but the Rose of Sharon fisted right back after the clock says / the idea of sleep will cause... what, childnoid? There's glow in Tim Peterson's argumentation. A reddish cloak? No, a huge spanking pink cashmere sweater. If the lyric is in the plural, some provincial pizza entrepreneur asks, do I press the buttons or take it in the hand or, messier -- in the first poem of 15 pages, "Trans Figures," wage a bout of "voice"? -- not finding voice, but voice craving to turn itself into a body. Yearning qua pathology takes on the status of gold, since Tim forgoes pizza on a private boat (a ghost script) pirating desire in a supreme state of careergirl drool. (That's why there's a clown in the bed.) The sentence (the class I call sentence) is requisitioned to feel the spray and cure the sea floor of foam, catching its breath. These contradictions to be aimed at in a parcel. Verbs twinge in the center and the vast middle ground with all the undecideds be damned. It's a microphone bare and boned corset style, shiny like a teakettle. The shine is the glow radiating out of a whole school from fruits.

Perhaps we need to take this seriously, feel the heated slap of the high, black cape breeze amidst the epidemic. Tim's lyricism is germ-spurred. Dark, slut, camphor, / duct tape summer. Higher still and sick I am -- I was inside the / nose that took in that ancient odor's nomenclature. I am, finally, most freaked by his view of what big words mean, ones that sounded good...swayed to that sheen, all the glitter that awaits everyone in the perpetuity of the beyond: I move / through space with shopping bags...

On the other hand, Tim's title poem is absolutist in its punk-rattle no vote against forces of interconnective light, and, tougher to stomach, conspicuously social-democrat in its spirit-weapon approach to satirical, concatenated, macaronic narrative.
...ate Popsicles in winter at the pharmacy
were phrases "second pair of eyes," "proactive,"
"on top of things," "move forward..."
One gets it that the elements are strung together out of desperation and a deeply ingrained will to power like technology?
Screws up where you get to move
twist and the other up-to-the-minute dances. Gee...
You see, yeah.

One also can't help but try to shake off that old-humanist, lab-animal-overboard feeling that Tim would rather drink imported beer (come home from bars / exclaiming just a little too roughly) than keep composing journal and verse at this self-erasing, funny valentine pace. This is a poetry of jaded domesticity, then, brought on by now-documented, windup proclivities toward substance abuse (hairnets, St. Joseph's aspirin) and all those attendant occasions for occulted confession (People stampede just / to be the first in line…) Moreover, something like universal oversight (a vending machine) is achieved, making Since I Moved In all the more tediously oozing of nature. Overdosing on fascination with the skinhead boy, Tim keeps sticking himself with his own pert middle finger, an often-hidden side of nature, potentially life-changing, albeit network-threatening. I mean watch it, childnoid, when one asks,
it look like we could not be torn apart
unless someone took a saw and lopped off
my reasons for waiting...
This is not a sitcom. -- Tony Snow



1. Paxil.

2. Plavix.

3. Alberto Gonzales.

4. Colts.


Move your A, Yummi Bears.

[Note trade names and slogans are protected rather than kids.]


Farewell my Pelf. Anne Bradstreet gets off her duff to do YouTube. 'Bout time, witch. (Thanks to http://hor.de/.)
Nicholas Manning on Espitallier’s Theorem. Worth a read-through.
They navigate within a self-contained, almost ostentatious pensiveness. Roberta Smith on Sleepwalkers, MoMA.
Note to astronaut: all discourse is indirect, especially when it's most pointed.
3 wicked page-turners from the acquisitions catalog.


You already know this bias fluttering around in the filtered daylight -- New England curmudgeons, we love'em, their feats of polity, veiled courtships! Bill Knott raises the question of whether poets should go political, "even the most mallarmean of us." The political is difficult, he says, "I want to hide from it, too. I'm frightened of it. It crucializes me." He points out that 100% of Adrienne Rich's contributors to BAP were blackballed by Harold Bloom from his Best of the Best American Poetry. In this instance I just don't know how Knott can question David Lehman's getting "burned" by Rich's politics while faulting Lehman's choice this year of Heather McHugh (whom Knott admires), further questioning, "why didn't Lehman choose as this year's editor someone like C.K. Williams or Sharon Olds, poets who have evinced a belief in poetry with an overt social and political agenda?" So, the question has been raised. But the response feels circular, barcoded in contradiction. Also, is it up to Lehman alone? And could the burning be triangulated? Maybe Bloom burned Lehman, after all. Maybe Knott should declare his love for Olds and be done with it. It being BAP.
Last several entries at Tom Beckett's blog, link to the right, catch up with a dizzying variety of poets and their enterprises. Success stories.


Michael Carr imitates condo scansion.
The south which is whole ... in part ...
the document cleared. I got informed
my pronunciation was wrong.
Rights of women to fear codicils create Romanism scrubbed into the Chinese frame, the jeeps, the prequel, the low-end. Who the fuck?

Passing the test leads to an appointment (folding into nervousness).

The micropoetry of property transfers has yet to be contained. It was the extremity of them.

Decades after there's blood on this coming down, standing tall, fiercely refined --
my lung is not
Oh, tell us a little more about your miserable ontology affecting checks, balances, and the mantra logjams -- stall for the archival laying on of bland -- question being (gosh a permissive overturn), How did worldviews crumble into environmentality to pantomime the inference undercutting American literacy, you aspish psycho? That's what Michael's Platinum Blonde (Fewer & Further Press 2006) sings like, in paraphrase. Or if you need textual backup:
this is the prequel, disrupting the
announcement gives it a makeover effect
       external panels
creating a layer more enormous
and low. We had to ventilate the inoperative
woman, the flower
man must be so sad...
...don't talk / about rough sketches. And so forth.


How did Auden begin? Green song of oursevles...

From Iraq to Hiroshima, graphic measures of comedic obliteration.

When a golden boy loses faith, what loss. Faith in what? Loss of faith in naiveté's marketing plan.?

The funny guy was so shaken he dedicated his life to corpses.

Enjoys hearing from his adoring borrowers. Takes time to organize, understand, and manage his tools and compensation.

Darfur's survival amid the disaster of horrifc luxury.

A war-shadowed no man in an increasingly phase-y pluralism. Anime simple McPherson.

This has been a productive dialogue far from the meeting that's more than a coup. Good, for a good people.

(for Kurt Manners)
Oh, that battle between the sexes? The rich won.

Makes you run out and become a feminist all over again. Except feminist converts (and especially the reconverts) have runny noses. "I can't live without my glasses," Xtina writes.

To combat our most basic ideas about slavery, her first line in her first poem -- I'm talking about Xtina Strong's Anti-Star from Openmouth.org -- the poem is titled "That's the sad thing about you" -- crackles:
People are perfect: jerks. Lorainne
I love it when poetry digs in and flails.

Try this title: "For every pig, there will be Saturday." So much bitterness, so much grime. Lines Two and Three are these.
Leak is
That about covers it. (It is that emotional core between personal and professional spaces.) (I'd like to speak that in the semi-questioning tone popular with Level B undergraduates, so it might read on screen or on paper like this -- It is that emotional core between personal and professional spaces.?)

Oh, and Xtina signs off a poem titled "Postcard" with this.
Your scarf et arms
Becoming free is a moving and intimate narrative.

Got to run, nose.


To him who has more will be given. -- The Matthew Effect


What is good? Drawing on the insights of gentlemen, it doesn't feel like a diet.


C. A. Conrad has a poem, an "Aria" he calls it, for Kevin Killian and Dodie Bellamy that quotes Magdelena Zurawski saying
to say i'm
secure means
i'm okay
being poor

Xtina Strong, meantime, has a new poem titled "I an a cliché." That's a sic sister.


Honeybunny. What's this snafu shit?



Gerrit Lansing & C. A. Conrad
Jan. 7, Demolicious, Cambridge

If heroes don't perish, it's comedy, right? Gerrit Lansing takes up the heroic and comic, again without the acrid foretaste of self-defeat, sarcasm, or hedged bets. He twists impressions of friends, fellow poets, resorting to oxymoron, reversing order and received logic, speaking to "downs and ups" of John Wieners, noting how "faults" are "fruits," remembering unkingly Steve Jonas as "socially available yet without a horse," filled with "jovial rage." Gerrit shows some of that same rage, choosing a few unpublished pieces but more from A February Sheaf and The Heavenly Tree Grows Downward to chant jovially to other boys, the late David Rattray, the living Tom Meyer. Thoughts of poets are metonyms, for the art of pursuing poetry is Gerrit's main business. He's dealing in bold, community-wide revoicing that's knocked down for now as "entropy in city glare," but also audible off in the distance as a "rebirth of the American republic [that] is not awaited... but... redoubting." Gerrit's allegiance is to "pondering process values" in the present order, the "black waters," a lived experiment that is "vaguely political" but also "godly" and "uncanny," everyday pursuit, then, turning in one's bed, compost-building, throwing rocks at the waves, dailiness, in other words, perhaps more aptly grounded as homely "husbandry ... what it takes to make the world splash in your hands."

Another non-tragedian, C. A. Conrad came to Boston to throw in his own values, just a splash, reading almost exclusively from manuscript pages and two rare chapbooks. He led with "Frank" poems, not O'Hara ventriloquisms, but dialogic pieces involving a comedian who consorts with rockers. Frank asks, "'Would you sign my book, Mr. Poe?' 'Why, certainly,' answered Frank in a different voice." The double flip follows from a thesis, "part of the dream is to accept your waking life as part of the dream." The conceit lets C. A. slip into those cosmic panties made of soaked bungee cords that most of us cravingly save up for -- it's just that Frank already put them on, and he's shredding them, adding "milk to the instant cowboy mix." Part of the wonder of C. A.'s reading was a set in stream-of-consciousness, poetry hand-scrawled for blank pages at the end of Deviant Propulsion, each piece a thank-you outpouring to an individual purchaser. This work is so top-of-mind and trashy, convincingly so, that I won't comment, except for a personal aside: if I had had a mother, as C. A. claims to have, living down the road from a sign that reads "Grave Covers and Mixed Nuts," I too would find waking life a trance state. I don't dream this fully, at present, and another strand in C. A.'s poetry touches on a reason why, addressing our president with very little guile: "...i'm sure you need a good massage maybe we could go to the creek and paint secret mud symbols on our naked bodies..." Finally, a poem with a massage for Bush, pure comedy, no lives lost.


The most important thing is making sure you have a definite diagnosis of powder dependency from your doctor. As for using euphemisms, well, I think it's just polite to say 'powder' instead of 'poo,' because people don't really want those images conjured up in their minds. Besides, we who work in the powder industry reap substantial tax benefits! However, poo based network marketing can be as daunting to the beginner as to the more experienced in anti-drug crusades, especially when considering the size and powder of the heartland. Dropping powder is a strange business for the son of a polonium user.

So I'm replying here. What about that asswipe's inability to clean up the mess? While we're at it: Looks like poo-effect methane chills live science. If this were a baseball team, poo'd bat in the number fourteen slot.

First a tooth falls out, then your tongue wags, won't stop: Shit. When did powder start leaving spears?



Tagged by Rodney, but not clear with what? Little known things? I don't keep little known things. That's 1.
2. I've been a vegetarian for 20 years and still feel lighter, faster on my hands and feet.
3. Every day, virtually, I fluctuate between needing esthetic recreation and realizing I've got it, and well, it's rather repulsive. The Post today has a recipe for cannoli garnished with cannabis. Can't be all that bad.
4. My brand of feminism is stuck in cultural autobiography, Susan Suleiman, for instance.
5. My next place will have a greenhouse.


Who next? Ange Mlinko, come back come back! Thomas Basboll, leftest fielder of theorems. Yuri Hospodar, leftist. Lisa Jarnot, 'cause we really, really want to know. Steve Evans, ditto.


On a couple of fingers I can count the successful team players in poetry. I'm stretching definitions for success and players and team. Metaphors for publishing two or more together often create confusion or false impressions of cohesiveness, teamwork. Objectivists, for example. The language poets formed a league of individuals, some of whom subscribed to poststructualism translated into American idioms. (Subscription itself does not put you on a team.) The New York School(s) would be neighbors, a few of whom messed (mess) with one another as neighbors do. I don't know of any member of the first or second New York generation who admits to the authenticity of the term school, much less the notion that a school is a kind of team. Teams can be fun to watch, winning or losing, but they are antithetical to singleton output or authorship. A gross irony that I'm sure is to be unpacked about contemporary practice: while intensely anonymous, algorithm-driven technologies prompt the (con)formation of subgroups to experiment with and subvert the apparatus, the apparatus burns on, more often foregrounded, while a human agent fiddles; yet, or more, a genuine group behavior, the now-global impulse to spit out crazed data, is markedly overdetermined textually by the one in the group who would own the production (or reduction), the one who puts her name on it.


If there is language poetry, surely there is queering language poetry. Rather than out the writer or smell her fragrant 'content,' look at the flexing pornografia in unsayable tracts set for game as well as unmatched as game against dull, told, and wrong.

Queering language stands idle and still divides; it attracts hunters.

How? How can language maim and be hunted and stay queering, ardent? In its heart of hearts the language can't say it's pleased. Unmatched, yet never alone, queering spans language. She makes no sound -- queer, she stands by the door, in the background (the foreground in language), in moonlight, in boycott, looking nearly the same. Poetry then gets addicted to this difference, piled, aloof in fallen heaps, bad language and moods washed away. Queering per se makes language wander; no surrogates remain.

Can you forgive queering language poetry for its wasted life?

Queering has its faithful footmen, its Matisses, its perception machines. It pulls you in. Queering in the world (the figure doesn't figure) is only language, Brazilian girls celebrating their speech overlapping human bunraku. This six-year-old offering his sister for sex.

Pizzazz corroded in language, the queering of rogues, of the human presence felt as a fleck crushed into the hat worn too well by language; the pioneering minimalist queering of vignette supported by a partner, the prodigy queering in the title role, the ring of truth and style, the forceful tenor casting his sex, also his disaster, in language.

Mini-skyscrapers of queering simulate the future of language's extra glass houses and ubiquitous reflections, moony and slack and overemphatic with action wizards, stunning, cocky men, coincident, shadow-drenched women, and elongated others eating the flesh off language. Visitors in queering, loose lips and weekends of treasure, discussion marathons, radiant voices, the hundreds-odd queer heads of state. Their lips don't just sink language, they put dents in the tallest poetry, testing the limits for height.

After a while language insists we are queering it. No, it's not trying to make you queer. It really wants to sleep with you.


It's too late to beg. Invitation only.


2007 / 3002.