Paratactic Verse and the Poem as Object

Here is an excerpt from Disjunctive Poetics, by Peter Quartermain:

“…Williams and Zukofsky both write paratactic verse — in their syntax there is no subordination, there is rather a stringing out of beads on a string, as Aristotle complained, where everything is of equal importance…

“…the poem is an object…in her 1909 essay on Picasso, Gertrude Stein distinguished between things, things seen, and things known, a distinction that reminds us of the ineluctable and intransigent quality of things: unknown, probably unknowable. The poem as a thing is resistant, and must baffle us, leave us shall we say at a loss?”

Smoke!

Smoke

Slowly

Fills the room,

Then the house.

The fire is not

Extraordinarily high,

And the chimney flue

Is open.

So, why, the smoke?

After a few hours,

The smoke alarm

In the hallway

Comes on.

I turn on the exhaust fan,

Above the stove.

I open the front door,

With the window up

On the screen door.

I open the door to the garage.

I turn on the ceiling fan,

Sucking air up.

Finally,

The blasted smoke alarm

Turns off.

Now,

We’re not toasty

Anymore.

Time to put more wood

On the fire.

A Fire in the Fireplace

A fire burns

In the fireplace.

It is hot.

It does not burn

My dog,

Who lays near it.

It does not catch my house

On fire, no, it is safe.

However,

On second thought,

We haven’t had the chimney

Inspected in several years.

Maybe,

It’s time,

Perhaps,

Past time!

The fire warms the room,

Indeed,

It even warms the house,

Takes the chill

Out of the air,

As my wife says.

The fire was easy enough

To get started,

With those chemically-treated

Fire logs to get it going.

Just light the corners

Of the paper package,

And it blazes away.

Simple enough.

Not sure if those are bad

For chimneys or not.

We get firewood

Delivered

To our house.

They back their truck in,

And carry the wood

Into the back yard,

And stack it up

Next to the fence.

Makes it nice

When you need some wood.

Life is Relative

And it’s not just an alienation from language, or communication. It’s rejection of the individual, lack of acceptance, judgment. Words are empty when trying to express the grief and sorrow that results from this situation, a hopeless condition.

Lack of connection. No community. No friends. No religion. No god. Just a meaningless existence with no purpose, no focus, no hope. Everything social is either scripted or random. There is nothing real out there, or in here.

And there is only the chance to connect based on a common existence or perceived state of loneliness, ennui, loss of meaning, relativity. Everything depends on everything else. Nothing is certain. Life is one absurd action, thought or event after another.

“Disjunctive Poetics“ and Objectivist Poetry

Another update with current reflections on unpoetry from 2022. This results from research into “Disjunctive Poetics: From Gertrude Stein and Louis Zukofsky to Susan Howe” by Peter Quartermain, and several works on the objectivist poets.

This meditation concerns itself with “language as object.” Alienation from the English language, or, in my opinion, any language at all, creates a certain relationship between the poet and the words in his or her poetry. Syntax can become difficult, and meaning, impossible.

Words are used like pigments in an abstract expressionist or cubist painting, in which a bunch of objects are juxtaposed together in a seemingly random (though sometimes, but sometimes not, with carefully chosen placement) and detached manner. Whether it is a flick of the brush, a dumping of a can of paint, or just a very barbaric collection of images that shocks or confuses.

This is unpoetry, folks! It’s the same thing, just done with language. Word as object, in a collage, or maybe a series of nonsensical statements. Absurdity abounds. An alienation from reality that results in an alienation from society, and an alienation in a failed attempt, over and over again, to communicate.

gsb3

Home

Floor rug used to be there now it’s laminate and tile cold floor cold on bare feet in slippers sometimes when it’s cold outside and sometimes inside

Too rarely we have a fire in the fireplace but not often she likes the fire to keep warm and to watch it and it’s toasty so sometimes I make it.

Pets we have lots dogs cats and birds they live indoors they stay here sometimes they go outside the yellow lab is a guide dog my wife is visually impaired so the lab goes to work with her every day sometimes we go on trips and the chihuahua comes too

We are going camping soon with her sister and her husband and I think they will bring their dogs too it should be fun I went camping with my family last year we had a good time we ate well. We went to a county fair there were cows and horses there were amusement rides and lots of food there was a car show too and big tractors.

Buried

Stove cook eat necessary live dog doesn’t mice aren’t welcome yard full of grass and dirt trees full of birds and squirrels nothing too strange road is busy sometimes but not often no sidewalks in my neighborhood wires across the yard from poles to houses maybe some are buried

Far Away

There are no words

That come to mind,

Seeing things pass by—

Another day is gone.

My sweet is far away.

I hear her voice,

But she won’t stay.

She has other things to do today.

Many moons will rise and fall

Before she comes back to me.

Many lonely days will pass

Until her face I see.

When she returns,

She will find me

Exceedingly happy,

Joyful, thankfully.