Saturday, November 14, 2015

M E S S A G E  T O  T H E  U N I V E R S I T Y   ( B A L L A D  I N  F I V E  P A R T S )
************* M O V I N G  P A R T S *************
1. THE FURY (00.00); 2. THE CLINIC (10.37); 3. THE BUILDING (26.04); 4. THE REACHING (52.19); 5. THE LIVING (1.05.17).

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The final two stations to total, against Barnett Newman, fourteen: 1) Pound / Stein; 2) Harp / Altar. Words on the Pound / Stein sheet from the opening lines to The Cantos and Making of Americans. The Crane sheet likewise simple.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

This sheet. A partial curriculum for the study of contemporary radical Anglophone poetry. Unfinished.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

To remember my deeper commitments, and perhaps more specifically to renew enduring affinities and redirect my lesser attentions away from the nascent simmering of smaller ambitions, I turned yesterday afternoon to a file here from 1997 on the NY3: Herman Bell, Nuh Washington, and Jalil Muntaqim, three members of the Black Liberation Army convicted in 1972 for the murder of two New York City police officers a year earlier. Searching then online to see if Bell, Washington or Muntaqim had yet been released, I was shocked to find instead a cheap investigative expose on Herman Bell published 12 March 2015 in the always already disreputable London-based tabloid Daily Mail. Taking clear aim at Bell and no doubt responding obliquely to ongoing fallout from continued police violence against unarmed black men in the US, the inflammatory title of the tabloid article reads somewhat predictably: "EXCLUSIVE: Black Panther double cop killer sues for freedom because he plays the FLUTE."

Mugshot included in Daily Mail expose

From the fall of 1996 through spring 1997—while working with the Paterson Anarchist Collective, the NJ incarnation of the Anarchist Black Cross—I labored toward building an article comparable in scope and intensity to the Daily Mail feature, though the investigative article I imagined aimed at offering a militantly sympathetic view of the NY3: Bell, Washington and Muntaqim. Regretfully, the article never came together as I hoped it would. Repeated requests sent through various Department of Corrections offices here and there were effectively shut down each time and most every attempt I made to coordinate in-prison interviews was blocked. And so, after six or more months of struggling to conduct the interviews and complete the article, which remained nothing more than a small handful of notes coupled with a mass of research files, I shelved the endeavor, at the time only to attend to other matters, but in the end indefinitely.  

Herman Bell | Comstock, NY | 2002

Rather than return to the endeavor with some fantasy of completing it, what I would do here is simply present some of the research and ancillary materials that accumulated around the unfinished article. In conjunction with pamphlets, a newsletter, legal documents and an interview proof, I include here also part of a short but meaningful correspondence with the NY3. The correspondence with Herman Bell was particularly meaningful to me, and he is a figure I am always honored to have met and whose generosity and sensitivity I felt deeply moved by during visits to see him at Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock, NY. I was working somewhat closely with the Paterson Anarchist Collective at the time, visiting political prisoners whenever possible, tabling pamphlets and other literature at ABC-No-Rio and other venues. Comstock was more than three hours from Paterson, and so to abide by the prison's visiting schedule we would depart at 5:00 in the morning, and I recall at least once or twice sleeping in hungover while a horn relentlessly blasted outside my apartment window at 181 Wayne Ave in an effort to jar me from my idiot slumber. But more often than not I would wake when I heard the horn, throw my clothes on and jump into the car waiting for me. And the visits. Comstock where Bell was incarcerated also held other political prisoners and I recall now meeting David Gilbert, a former member of the Weather Underground, during one visit with Bell. Now at Auburn Correctional Facility, David Gilbert was arrested in 1981—along with Marilyn Buck, Judith Alice Clark and others—in connection with the Brinks Bank robbery. In one instance, during one visit to Comstock, after saying so long to Herman Bell, I was introduced to David Gilbert, and I remember it was his soft eyes that most struck me, a care which is not theater written into them. All their eyes struck me this way.

1. Untitled pamphlet contextualizing the NY3 conviction.
2. Text of NYT 13 May 1993 article titled 'Ex-Panthers Lose Retrial Motion."
3. 24 Oct 1996 letter on torture to Amnesty International Secretariat from Jalil Muntaquim's attorney.
4. 15 April 1997 letter from Jalil Muntaquim with extensive bio and legal history.
5. 28 April 1997 letter from Herman Bell on regulations regarding in-prison interviews.
6. Proof for pamphlet of 1997 MRR interview with Neil and Matt of the Paterson Anarchist Collective.
7. April 1997 Anarchist Black Cross newsletter.  

NB: The letters from Marilyn Buck and Sundiata Acoli in response to the February interview with the Paterson Anarchist Collective that appears in The Anarchist Black Cross Newsletter first appeared in the March 1997 issue of Maximum Rock-n-Roll. The remarks from Marilyn Buck on music and culture in her letter are instructive.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Niedecker, her Johnny Appleseed (1945): "When Johnny (Chapman) Appleseed | came to a place he didn't like | he covered it with apple trees. [...] His trees grew while he slept. | Gave to the poor, tho he himself | lived on roots and had no bed."

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Here details from three sheets currently underway: 1) Steve McCaffery qua Bill Griffiths sheet, with attention to class and dialect; 2) Old Left [no] New Left [no] Now Left, with attention to poetic production; 3. additional detail from the sheet on dialect; 4. sheet on backyards, the whiteness of Lola Ridge perhaps bearing down on the blackness of Gwendolyn Brooks in this formulation, a dialectic to be grappled with much further, residual traces perhaps of something small within me.  Still and so, this is a thinking, a building, a grappling, a learning.

Monday, May 04, 2015

These—three studies—for the Lola Ridge / Gwendolyn Brooks sheet presently under construction, the image built after artist and NFL athlete Ernie Barnes's picture MY MISS AMERICA (1970):

In 1959 Ernie Barnes was drafted by the Baltimore Colts. Barnes also built the picture used in the opening credits of the television series Good Times (1974-79), one of the few shows which, like Sanford and Son (1972-77) and Rosanne (1988-97), sensitively and rigorously attended to issues of class. So the Ridge / Brooks sheet, the object tentatively titled BACK YARDS after two poems, one by each. First Lola Ridge's poem "Back Yards" (1923):
Under the seamless snow
The sky is like a vast ash-pit
Where the buried sun
Rankles in a livid spot.
And then Gwendolyn Brooks's "A Song in the Front Yard" (1963):
I want to go in the backyard now
And maybe down the alley
To where the charity children play.
I want a good time today. 
Good times. Always.  

Friday, May 01, 2015

Mayday. Earlier anticipating it. Today celebrating it. The sheets below looking toward Mayday in the largest sense. STATIONS—these after Andrew Rippeon, his own stations within Priest, an endeavor I am presently working with and looking forward to bringing out across the coming months. Duncan and derivation, that the labor of our friends can stand as models. So the stations in Priest, the book split into three sections that repeat, so then a run of permutations, and "Stations" specifically, apart from the poems in "Priest" and "Flights," the other two recurring sections in the book, these stations break away from lineation, from the burden of the broken line, and break instead into a liberatory prose which is neither prose as such nor a longer line but something unto itself. And so I learn from this, from these stations, and I build my own.

And an open Mayday letter to Richard Parker, another poet-critic-printer, his the Crater Press and he inclined to imagine all of the varied activities he is engaged in as reading. And I for my own part aspire to include the parts of this object called me such that what Parker might call reading I see as a seeing, a hearing, a thinking. In the end this is perhaps no more than a thinking sometimes called feeling. So the canvases, these sheets and no name suits as it ought to and thus too these are leaves, pages, shrouds whose building I regard as worship, this from thinking David Brazil, CJ Martin, Shaker visual poets, others—and in this sense these sheets in their building disclose themselves as maps or a private curriculum at all times unfolding.

And also and perhaps mostly I take these sheets as an editing in the simplest sense, an editing as a listening and a seeing and a thinking. But they are inscriptions. David Jones, Stephen Rodefer, Blake, Dickinson, Sean Bonney, Bill Griffiths, Bob Cobbing, Dom Sylvester Houedard, Finlay, Francis Crot, Alan Halsey, John Furnival, Tom Leonard, and too great a number of others to list here. In concert with these models, I believe these sheets are also informed by the inscriptions on deer and buffalo hides at San Miguel Chapel in Santa Fe, as I understand it the first Catholic church in what is today the US, est. c1610. Franciscans built the hides c1630 so that they might serve as learning aids, a biblia pauperum, for Pueblo peoples. These like Eric Gill's Stations of the Cross relief work at Westminster Abbey. And despite their social function, when I first encountered these hides in the smallness and simplicity of San Miguel however many years ago I found myself moved. So too these sheets, alpha and omega, from swaddling sheet to winding sheet, these. This is not art. This is a thinking:

Whitman sheet:

Sheets primed on shed floor:

Prynne sheet:

Sheets in  process on shed floor:

Baraka sheet:
Final image: Portrait of Rosa Luxemburg—to celebrate—while all else—Baltimore—for all this.

Once the fourteen sheets are complete a catalog of the stations will be printed and distributed.