Chicago, IL | March 1, 2012

Episode 61: A Reading and Conversation with Alice Notley, Sponsored by Wesleyan University Press

(Stephanie Elliott, Alice Notley, Steven Evans) A reading by Alice Notley, followed by a Q&A guided by poet/scholar Steven Evans. Notley has two new books: The Songs and Stories of the Ghouls (Wesleyan UP), a work of poetry that gives voice to victims of genocide—both ancient and contemporary; and a poetical fantasy Culture of One (Penguin). Evans, who has interviewed Notley in the past, has a keen understanding of her work. The discussion will allow the audience to gain a deeper understanding of her complex poetry and writing process.

Published Date: May 22, 2013


Speaker 1 (00:00:04):

Welcome to the A W P podcast series. This event was recorded at the 2012 A W P conference in Chicago. The recording features Alice Knotley and Steven Evans. You will now hear Steven Evans provide introductions.

Speaker 2 (00:00:28):

Thank you everyone. Apologies for some of those little delaying moments, but then again, it gave us all time to find this nearly invisible room. Right? It's a deep honor to have been asked to talk about a poet whose work I've cared deeply about for many years. I don't feel that I can really so much introduce her since I'm sure that each one of you are sitting in this room with a very particular introduction to her work already in your minds. I would say in these first opening remarks, which I'll keep brief so that we can then hear Alice and then she, and I'll talk a little bit before opening things up to the room, that the work in the past 15 years is of such depth and profundity, such radicality that it would be much more fitting I think if somebody could be standing here opening a four day conference on the work of Alice Notley. Then on a simple q and a following, a reading,

Speaker 2 (00:01:24):

Every aspect of it, the Prolificness, the profound unsettling ness of it really warrants more thought and more attention than it so far has gotten. And one of the ways that I think many of us think about Alice's work is that it made a change somewhere in the late eighties and was made manifest in 1996 when Penguin published descent of Valette. And bear with me, it's a little cheaty, but if we think of that early work in the company of, if not always the mode of the New York School, we might detect a sort of horatian poetic underlying that spirit of prosody, prevailing of a sort of secular subject matter of a concern for the everyday and the quotidian. Something. Another tone was probably already always present in that, but it's become much more pronounced in the work since descent of, I would say that it was an oric turn.

Speaker 2 (00:02:22):

If however, I wasn't reluctant to assign yet another patony to a body of work that resolutely commits itself to the disobedience of all patriarchy and refuses to have itself subsumed under any prior name, especially not a male name. Most of you will know the way that Alice signaled this turn in her essay on the feminine epic. Her words would do better justice to it than mine. She says, I know that some poems of Emily Dickinson's are as epic as an epic ruling out that epic is merely a scale. Yet I want to write that large public poem. I want to discover a woman's voice that can encompass our true story, existing unconscious and unconscious levels in the literal present, witnessing more than one culture. We live in that total international multicultural nature list world. I may have to sound even more different from the traditional epic.

Speaker 2 (00:03:20):

I may have to sound funnier and she does or more eccentric and she sometimes does to do it properly this time. I mean, I'm thinking about it again. I'm writing currently as a unified authorial I who must with a capital M speak, there may not be a story next time I write epic. There may be something more circuitous than recognized. Time and story more winding double back. There certainly will be a voice. I think it is essential that people like myself and my brother be heard. I can only do this by speaking out clearly, so perhaps I will write the epic of my voice. She has in the works since the set of ette heroically transcribed that voice and not merely transcribed. In fact, that's exactly the wrong word to use in this case. Sometimes the way we think about Alice's compositional method in the last decade or more, and even I'm guilty of this, is something that somehow befalls the poet and maybe that's partly what the or poetic is prey to, but this is a work of profound thoughtfulness.

Speaker 2 (00:04:23):

It argues with us as readers. It argues with itself. It creates characters in order to carry out arguments. It is a profoundly philosophical, it's thinking at all points and at all times. It would be I think an error to make any other kind of comment about that. However, it is a thinking that does not imagine itself to be rigorously the other of dreaming of vision sometimes of a hallucination and of course of that utopic projection of a possible future, which somehow seems always diabolically foreclosed on us, but that poetry somehow calls us back to and restores us to. So in mysteries of small houses in disobedience, in grave of light, which maps the whole arc of the career up to 2006 in The Pines, the 2007 book from Penguin and then most recently in Culture of One, which she will read from this afternoon, and also her Wesleyan book, songs and stories of the ghouls. This project, this epic project, this transformative project, this magnificent project has been underway. I hope you'll help me. Welcome to the podium Alice Notley.

Speaker 3 (00:05:50):

Can you hear me suddenly? I don't have the water actually I think it's there. Oh, it's ah,

Speaker 4 (00:06:05):


Speaker 3 (00:06:09):

I'm going to read from my two most recent books, culture of one and songs and stories of the ghouls, which are both highly narrative and they're certainly both poetry. Somebody said culture of one was pre poems, but I think they forgot to read it. So I will read an excerpt from Culture of One and then read from songs and stories of the ghouls. Culture of one is kind of an epic. That's a minor regional novel. It takes place secretly but not terribly secretly in my hometown of needles, California, and it's about a woman named Marie who lived at the dump. In this episode you'll meet Marie, the Goddess Mercy, a dog named Tawny and Eve Love, who is a rock star who used to live in this town and some terrible girls. Okay,

Speaker 3 (00:07:25):

Parol, brightness that it darkens in the snow and coughs. February whispers, oh, you're going to meet the author who mysteriously lives in Paris, France and not Needles, California. Now I must start again. Paris doll brightness. Then it darkens in the snow and coughs. February whispers. You fit well in my monotonous hand. Don't even be a person, a character, a flash of prerogative and intent. One espresso weather isn't pagan anymore, not here. There's supposed to be a flood. Sometime we breathe nanoparticles of our city disinterest. If you've made everything that's killing you, all of us, why we must have been in love with death? Do you love death? I say to a mind, it replies. It's where I was before I wanted to feel at home. My mind says I disagree. You've never been dead except now you're just a mood composed of sulky clocks. I am a noble culture. The mind says 300 years of violin lessons hit by a meteorite one day while she was breathing. Beautiful breath. She resembles gravitas because of a label on her upcoming grave played checkers with the snicker matador. That was what we still had. Epitaphs. I don't mean a thing and it is raining in the ambulance called a city.

Speaker 3 (00:08:57):

You wing it, you grey harm you insect letters. You un spurd and aggressive. You population of gers seeking ploy. You crumbs you people, you unani animals, you voters, you bad weather. I didn't want to live among the millions of secret agents. A person says spies for the government of the mimics of living hierarchy of male men like a father feather, brain leaking, suspect consolations, hope and cosmic acquittal. Isn't she a natural too? Is change a hairdo? You get a cut in some disappointing foreplay, you get word. I get words Marie says, but you get the drift a claw on the nape of your neck. Be my valentine. The cruel chicks think they're thinking again. She's undemocratic. Let's beat her up real bad, lying awake at 4:00 AM there will be no substantial advance in stigmata removal before you die. Though the tattoos of the codex will never come off, but the girl's faces shine thinking he's mine. The latest mouth running for office to run you Marie is practicing new camouflage techniques in the goalie of escape. Avoid the authorities but the girls are in our hair, even are our hair. They have so much of it. Love ya. America.

Speaker 3 (00:10:22):

Primal duration. What if Marie's dogs is half coyote? Her bushy tail is black tipped. Her muzzle is pointed and she stares the way Coyotes look at you an instant before disappearing and she howls. Yes, A song dog. People know she's half wild. So the girls have decided not to burn Marie Shack to repetitious. They've decided to kill this dog because she's wild. Marie calls the dog Tawny. The girls want to feed Tawny glass. They bring a can of dog food in an empty dose Eckes bottle waiting for Tawny to run off alone. As she does, they hide where the gully twists away from the dump and towards the mountains they know Tawny comes here alone to hunt for rabbits. This is her root one says they open the can of dog food, break the bottle and mix the glass in carefully with a fork leaving the food in the shade of a creosote so it won't spoil.

Speaker 3 (00:11:20):

Before Tawny comes, she comes here every day around this time the girl says the doll breaks. Tawny drags herself back to Marie, blood dripping from her mouth. I must help this child die. Marie holds her a streak of red brushed by Tawney's tongue against the open Codex page, the symbol for my baby. Marie had drawn a face like her own, but rounder my baby, her eyes are circles, blood on one cheek. Now Tawny whimper Marie strokes her the other dog's watch the sky darkens inside my eyes. Don't let me think or act or I will be violent. This has to be a moment of love. I can't see as Tawny dies. Mercy envelops them. Helplessly I couldn't leave you. The darkness is now gray and moist like a tear. Mercy touches them all. I have gone wandering but I always hear a call

Speaker 3 (00:12:33):

Parados of kings. There is no culture anywhere in these countries I almost live in though there is history and there was once, but now only monolithic companies I drove through town nothing left a two story ragged portion of a desert theater. Another building almost torn away, leaving a structure with scant paint a couple of windows. Our culture. I don't want to live in one of those in the past future perfect tents. It isn't that I don't want to live in the south of France. Who saw the contemporary poet will now read. He sits at a table facing a black window that reflects him. I stand behind and stare at his image intently. He is so plain a woman staples her poems together that he cries out in a note. What a musical genius. We are so fortunate to have him whom no one cares about. I don't. I'm my own poet. You don't need a poet, you don't need anything but a big store. You don't even need yourselves and that's fine. I guess there wasn't anyone to write to. I did it for the universe of ghosts. Half coyote, half Motel

Speaker 3 (00:13:45):

Eve, love hooked. Eve's gone back to LA and gotten hooked on methamphetamine only temporarily to get off all the other drugs. I wish I was her right now. She's beautiful RevD and cheery. Her lipstick's on a little crooked, but she's writing genius songs. I always feel so much better on speed, walking faster than corruption, blood uncluttered. Who has a need to be a girl scattering pollen programmed on a biological lead. No one could do anything about her. Think heavens not for this unflawed vagrant moment. You are the pearl in the distance you always sought wearing yourself in the hollow of your neck, a cloudless sky. You don't have to feel for you, you don't cry. You the one you love loves transparent to the world of folk lining the street like ance. In April, I want to stay in the afterlife, but I'm getting a rasp in my brain. I'm going to come down

Speaker 3 (00:14:49):

Pieces of mercy flood. The downtown mercy cannot bear the death of Tawny. She's on her own floats wherever. Having left a machine in her place, the Tara jackpot is what it's like. Pull an arm and get a coin. Well, wasn't money what you wanted? Oh, this is all a metaphor, but compassion is something to keep you going. Dirty. Currency go back to work. No one really wants to change the world. You're still always waiting for later. Mercy despised her job, but the agony of a half coyote dog with glass in her guts hurts like hell. There's no reprieve and we won't celebrate Easter for you. A mud, a female mud Mercy's arms go crazy touching everything in the vicinity, the dump and the gully, the cemetery in the downtown near the railroad station she descends and cloud tatters onto front street where I first saw her in a dream a year ago, retreating into the old drugstore out of fear. I was afraid of her touch. Now it's all I want. Cover us with gray relief. We the denizens of the elementary school, the primal hoard,

Speaker 3 (00:16:03):

Rendezvous with a final fish. The death fish comes for Tawny, the soul canoe. The shark death eats you as you eat rabbits. My dear, the canoe carries her and eats her encrusted with shells and pigment. No, she's an animal of a desert. The desert boat comes for you. A lightweight river canoe know the coyote spirit comes for her the great coyote shaman. Marie watches her own mind's. Imagery, settle on a coyote with darker coat than normal coming closer and closer to them. Then taking a pub sized figment of Tawny away between her jaws. Tawny expires. Marie's lap is filled with blood. The epic of the guilty mesh.

Speaker 3 (00:16:59):

It's years before I'll be able to gamble at the casinos. I could kill a wild dog and I could fuck the cruel girl babbles already, but I can't vote and I can't bet cash. The cruel girl says the one who's had sex. The other girls are awed by tawney's death crouching behind tall bushes. One is crying, M knows they're there. She removes tawney's head from her lap and walks towards them. You're murderers, the crying girl. Whales, louder. I have no feeling for you. I'm supposed to hate you but you don't even exist. You aren't even animals. Everyone in town knows you're dirty. Shouts the girl who's had sex. I'm not a murderer, Marie says, and I don't burn down other people's houses but saying these things is so banal she thinks without thinking the word banal people are awful. My mother thought they were good but she was wrong.

Speaker 3 (00:17:51):

Marie will bury Tawny herself with a dump, found broken shovel. This is so banal. They could be warriors or serial killers or vengeful, rejected courtesans. They could be anyone who votes for a commander in chief of the armed forces. Marie turns and says, you are just anyone and that's the worst thing I can say. I'm being so banal she thinks without thinking the word because people hurt you and make you confront them. So banal diary. When I awoke I thought of the word benediction for I have blessed other humans in one respect. By living consenting we the alive consent to the procedure. Do I consent to the casino? The ultimate result of our experiment, but you don't even handle the shitty dirty money yourself. Progress doesn't have the flavor of actual finger smeared devalued bills. It's tasteless and odorless. My check on its way from Alabama and the plateau high level brokerage.

Speaker 3 (00:18:57):

The real money's manipulated by the diage but the guy above him, deity never even touches the stuff though. He grants us currency so the myth of corruption can be played out. What else would he do? He, she or it. Do you get it? Marie earns no money doesn't use it. That's why the girls really hate her. I try to get it when I can without doing anything except maybe writing this. The casinos are redemptive if you like to be bored. Redemption is boring isn't it? Streaming payback out of the pink and orange slot mouths you're paid for having lived. I think like this. I eat Mosley for breakfast. I write poetry that will be obliterated or not depending almost entirely on the actions of others who aren't sensible. Want money. Roar ahead rich people's coils. I have a will and I have a supplementary will.

Speaker 3 (00:19:59):

The king said I will that guan continue to care. I will. Your obedience to my notions a rope ladder of continuing stipulation the self same one racks down from what I want. I want you to get it. I mean your compassion is my compassion. I am meditating you into a continuous existence. I am causing you. I am causing your grace to imprison. Your reason why you touch with pity. Every lamentable situation I have caused for my own good. I mean your good. I'm not confused. Leroy is sick of unpacking cans of tomatoes and creamed corn. Was I only someone when I lied? But that was no one shrouded in the clamor of silence. Marie enters the store blood spattered. The girls killed my dog. She collapses onto an unopened carton of cans. What can we do? He says nothing. She's already dead. I keep staying alive. He says in case what it's like changes blind options. No one says depending on the choices of 5 billion people who mostly don't know each other, I buried her. Marie says More momentum tomorrow now a Greek dusk. Okay, we move into songs and stories of the ghouls, which I have no, which there is no possibility of explaining

Speaker 3 (00:21:42):

So I'm just going to read and maybe you'll buy the book and read it and then figure out what happened. Or maybe Steve and I will talk about it after I've read a few poems. There was power in that room. I saw it because my eyes were crushed out. It's my judgment on this almost face holding the mouth so the scars on my right side won't fail. I've come back wearing them instead of a conscience or a guide in order to cause a breakaway culture trembling white vertical lines in black sky above sea. They spell what it might be. The emotional tone of the old universe was vicious. It had no care for me.

Speaker 3 (00:22:38):

Was supposed to be endlessly interested. I don't want you driving towards the danger coast. I don't want you, I won't remember the beckoning grant won't remember the grave. I don't want you screamed, burned, ripped. It is a fracture that at first is taken for a joke because it's your first break. Heavens the servant of memory, explodes, creation have done with it. No, it's not even old or odd and when no word works, there can be no notification. I have the wrong in my hand. This handle staggers and loses its furnished shape. How much interest they pay. Is that what interest is? I have this hapless cot. I might have caught it already. Remember me cries hooker. No, she's up on the hook still in the days of a looker and can Don't you think you ought to arrive if you are traveling? I was finding the middle of the handle howling. If it remembers me at all and if it does leave. I think so.

Speaker 3 (00:23:48):

Felix the fortunate and how was the city first purchased? A woman who founded it said to be betrayed as if no matter your courage, you're only haunted by sex. There was always another story, a different form of betrayal. She will enter the country desperate powerfully cognizant. She has done this. Re mons guilt is freezing me inside the gul tatters midnight glass. But I'll be frequent and not stand aside. Even a monster can found a city. Don't ask me to open up. I'm out here. This is what I can give you back. We were invaded, assimilated, tossed, but now are not repugnant to each other because called lost. I already know this song, but I've already founded the city before when I forgotten all the rest streets fire opal. So you see there's no moisture in here because I never cry. You say I don't know which part I'd be supposed to cry for. A tear became a rate of exchange for goods of recognition, but that was before the new founding. So what is the name of this city? Is it really Carthage? I think the name will do for now. Do you haunt it to devour our condition? Again speaking this older way, it's been so done, but I've never been here before.

Speaker 3 (00:25:10):

I know what happened to you. I know you can hardly stand. I never did anything but run from the phantoms in your head. You cost me my house and body when I come back. A Madea to haunt your controls. I'm no poor girl. Now have you ever seen a black cape like this? I could still shake you up by pressing my finger to your chest. Now that you're old enough to have failed at the good, oh have you? What do you know? Except for this haunt, I am turned away the artist to incorporate myself into this shape. Can you see an army's knees? Can you see a leg blown off? What do an army's needs look like? Name the future tent. Sign in the first conjugation, a beautiful adjacent inflection flexing the knee of a woman myself, sure to make up such separate words as leg and self. Why should I leave myself out when I'm not here? She gave the last kisses to them, but they will have omitted her first chaos containing you say the sounds of landmines exploding and greater explosions, more pieces tossed. What do an army's needs look like? Flesh chunks. World round in hurricane

Speaker 3 (00:26:37):

Black sequence compression only the pressure is certain. Lay this next to another. She'll turn around on initial discomfort. The sequins are appealing beside the violets that are paper seals. At first it was too compressed so I've diffused it. She says, I'm looking back at the future so it won't hurt with its depravity dead man and no one went with me that smooth because these jewels when nothing cost. Don't you see that once there was no cost because there wasn't really a compression because there were shiny Quin, there's something I have to destroy. Place the humble sequence next to the light waves. Ayman struggle takes the eyes. She takes a mask to use its eyes. I remember this. Have eyes for light posed a given. You needed to see if you were a maid. She took the light and broke it as heart as she could so you couldn't tell it. The black disc scattered deaths of details to place there. All the change I had

Speaker 3 (00:27:49):

Flat gold. The color is no longer in her clothing. It's in you. This is what they used to call light when light was a story. Now you don't know if it exists, does it? I'm stripping the conqueror's word from the secret of my body to the desert of my feet. What color? I can't follow as if it were light or you. That's because I broke everything. You are what they used to call light when light was what they kept making. It isn't there anymore. See inside the lower spine of the pianist, his back's cut open. I watch what they once called nerves move as he plays. Learning to think we are redefining relation, not looking at each other.

Speaker 3 (00:28:38):

Woman with antlers. Dear headed, antlered, woman in black against black lace blackhead. Dear woman, lady of the mountains whose antlers melt into lace. Lady of the mountains emerges from my right side and all the lacy scars there. Why is she a dear? Because I'm not anthropomorphic. Soul of the mountain night. This is my echo from before, from what I had made for you vocally and from before. We exceeded to the timeline never like lace lady, the mountain middle of no spatial universe. I have the antlers she says, which extend from the deer head in the middle of our echo. Lady of wild animals for whom the animals return the deer with the heart or breath line through the mouth to the center echoing. Do you hear the words of the conquerors or do you hear the voices of dear echoes? Can you find a center in an echo? I'm finding with the finder, the antlers paths leading from my head. I am the center of it. The center of the lady

Speaker 3 (00:30:01):

Colors. Osa scene that was for a while. Now I can't be change the terms of my existence before your eyes so I can't be. They wanted to see it in me. What they put there certain that their instruction would be received having seen the true advantage of the story of Cru burning in a dress. You did it. They could say to me, Madea or that the children to give me the guilt that would freeze my actions or make me despised. I am that despised or pitied so that I could stand to the side. Issa not a lead part though. She suffers. I'm offended yes, that she can't be a lead. I have no interest in dramatic hierarchy so no one could believe that whatever the age I stand for a fiery truth that every being is a lead. How else? Talk to a bird, a plant.

Speaker 3 (00:30:56):

If it isn't a lead, you can't even let cruza fill up her own death. And then suddenly that damned implanted image cluster was inside me. It had probably been the Greeks. I can't extract it. The butcher said not so far from where I began, but probably much later than when I'd begun. It's always like that. I had asked him to remove it form of brain surgery. Have never wanted anyone else's thoughts and feelings to be mine. What would you have if you didn't have those Madea? The butcher said he thought you started out empty with the mind with existing. Does it even start? Does a two millimeter tall man click it on? They were trying to set up their action in my mind way back then in ancient Now a greeky blonde woman slipped it in Before I could know, I began to wait to see it happened.

Speaker 3 (00:31:50):

To have to deal with it. Hallucinations. The blonde hovered. I'm messing with your head. Why? So you can see a story. All of us want you to see it. How are you doing this magic Get out in the hypermarket. I see it though. It doesn't blot out the whole other one. It's their cruises story playing in the middle of the shopping for food. I see what they said. The low, but she's burning. I didn't do that. Yes you did. The blonde says it's in your memory now it's in your psyche. Greek word. And now we all know, know it and know what you did. This is your internal Corona. She says she's low forehead, bossy without much intellect. How does she know about magic? It's wherever anyone finds it. So I go to the butcher, suggest surgery to get out these two most ideas that are the people's pleasure.

Speaker 3 (00:32:39):

Oh fuck the people you did it didn't you are like that, aren't you? If I say no because I thought it was a thing, my mind's too textured for this crappy story. Do you know the language of the thrush I do above you? I have seen sometimes I can understand all language. You understand too much. They said we must drive you mad before you change everything. Madea, you are a murderer. So what did I do about this? Use my magic. It depends on what you think that is. I pushed the story out of my mind. I'm a technician, aren't I? No. How did I get it out? I made my mind hard a specialty and pushed the implant out of my head. It still existed in everyone else's head. It still exists in the world. The story, the lies about me, images that you'll always believe that I poisoned another woman killed my brother and my own children.

Speaker 3 (00:33:35):

The purpose of the story to establish as a reality that a woman of power can only be evil. This phenomenon has been truly magical. We want you Madea to be the worst thing that there is. I make my mind as ancient as I can to expel you. You the story still alive. A larval slime, a grim little being they love. So here's the expelled story in my hand, writhing puss. Do you believe one thing about yourself? I'd ask all of you, you the world, but you'd say yes. I'd say there's nothing in your reality but random stories. If you want to kill something, kill that story of me. No, you love it too much flames everywhere in front of me, but they aren't a story. They're an example of who I talk to because you could talk to anything and if your mind isn't full of implanted stories, anything might talk back. The guild of scientific percentages, we'll call that projection. I don't work with them. The flames have to be burning something. You say how destructive you are. Madea, they're burning all my old thoughts. You've done this before. I do it over and over. I have to in order to continue to be this gul I am.

Speaker 3 (00:35:05):

They're all luster pushing on through endless layers of words to be my own master. I warned you.

Speaker 3 (00:35:19):

This famous orchestra conductor proposes a vague intermixture of the feminine in his masculine because there's no woman in the room. What is he talking about? There is no feminine masculine. There is what I say. Even insults create grief. It's not enough to silence you by killing your close ones in war with grief. You won't care anymore. Would this be feminine of you voice? Women are simply the best that we have. If you die soon, you may not have gotten everything you might have wished for. This could happen to anyone. It's chancy to be a poet. We only insulted you when you misbehaved or weren't up to our standard.

Speaker 3 (00:36:02):

Do you remember when you were asked to stop reading your poetry on stage? Three years ago you had supposedly exceeded the host's time limit the genius who'd earlier read a poem comparing his PHUs to an artichoke. Do you remember the famous poet drunk? You'd written just a few poems then who in front of a room full of people asked if you were wearing any underwear at all? Fell red face down on the floor beside his wife's feet, killed himself. Some years later after I'd written white phosphorus, an allergy for my brother, the veteran, a man presumed to tell me what white phosphorus was as if I hadn't written the poem. This man hadn't been near the Vietnam War. Emotion as structure, delete most of the list of insults accumulated during lifetime as poet. All right, they'll just call you a complainer and nothing matters. Now emotion defined as an outburst and not the structure of his inquisitiveness has led to a logic of domination. It is not emotional to flash one's artichoke. It is emotional, not factual to write an elegy. I went down there and saw the figments again. The most beautiful thing I can do has no relation to sympathy for you. A beauty reason falls into place with glowing the sounds between the vocal sparklets, the ingenuity that could have been its own reward. He wanted to kill you off with by you off. What's the difference? He has lost it. It's mine.

Speaker 3 (00:37:51):


Speaker 3 (00:37:56):

Repetition of sand colored patterns till nothing wins. I want to win. I don't exist. I have the skills to win. Everything is still hidden heart in sand and tearing you apart. This is new form of protest. Why protest against the long gone coward. Your heart lowering the scale against Mott's feather voice. You are going to enter an African country called mot or judgment. I've been here for days disposed to cruel meditations, dark forms pile up in my heart to be weighed halfway through the poem. I am another person. Leave the drunk man at the table. There is no consecutive order. Whatever you've done doesn't stop or start. But haven't I already been here? You are always here. I have a ferret on a long leash pulling me on. I have a ferret in a long lash, a alive unpeeling curious form. I have a history. If I choose it, can I un choose recast it, apply for another. The ferret slips it to a cage. It is a monkey's cage. Then the monkey tears out its throat, my throat rip it out on my way to declaim at the who is your history? Because frat boys had to hang Greek letters over the Alamo. Is that my history? No. Almost my throat.

Speaker 3 (00:39:32):

The Egyptians didn't understand that Mott weighs your heart continuously. That's why she's so tired and why it hurts. I have no throat for this aria. Do you recognize my heart? You are the public reading a book wondering if it can be yours, but I came here to be you long the leash pulled at my throat taking us to any last stand heart composed of tragic moments in sung patterns who can stay near any more of his telling and drinking. The man sinks in the rind world towards the table poised to prop up our pose, but he's dreaming of Mott. The dead woman's voice comes out of the cd male version of her fury. Her masterpiece. How can Mott weigh her heart composed of his action creation? Once more. The ghoulish task of waiting for righteous renewal. But all GULs are not women. Can't I even be judged? This will be the last one called city of voice.

Speaker 3 (00:40:56):

You had to turn the baby into the authority. The dead woman watched far because not seeing the fate is too far from some. How can I show you how I happened and remain? I don't know why the guns had to tell us everything as if it were only a city, a power position. If no one you care about judges, you can kill anyone. I have a drop of your blood in my mouth so I can continue to speak. If you are dead a soldier, child of violence, what is the of your life? Answer me. I am not found. Let me find you. I am not to be appeased. I killed in the weight of the real air. I was small. I sank from sight. It was logical. The earth hadn't grown me high enough. A fate. There is still a gloss on these gloves. I need to hear you better.

Speaker 3 (00:41:54):

You can't love me. There is a thread of being from the first that I am I will be that no intercession offered. I wanted a better gun. Now I can't want that. What could I want? The assassin eye. You won't have to remember we're making a ring of uncontested lace to fill memories. Place the origin ornamented with gold discourse of what is bird like arising from the east and owed part? No. My name was pierced. I cannot owe. She took a grenade down to hell, a ball of wildfire for all who would die in his hall. Yes, I did that. I killed many. They're martyrs to the gratitude of force. A kind of power lady has none though to her milk and blood, it be attributed. Mine would never cure, have cured you. Only words cure us now are power to remain, which has as its source, its own being.

Speaker 3 (00:42:52):

Pure self. My granite, foundlings killers, the lace loves you think you should know who's speaking. If we name ourselves, we are owned. Now that you can't see a mark on my body, will you listen to me front and back covers matching. You can hear me without knowing who I am. Heal the dead. I am known as the quarrel or the souvenir. How could you heal such abstraction? A woman entered everyone was saying mankind of frigid insult. It's lasted since I've been dead into the rot. Freight of a ship, of a death whose star is not to be in my lace. Gender, death. Your old freeze dirt refuses. We will not grow from our past. Will the dead child grow? You had been counseled to kill him. After all he had a gun begin with death. Not the throwing away of weapons. This head still frenzied, not calm and intricacy but mad of it.

Speaker 3 (00:43:55):

I can't bear the pattern that's happened. Let me go into my own death. You don't have your own. No one deserves and we're not bound in godly jurisdiction. No one knows what's fitting, but if she did, how could she endure it? Can we change from being crushed to pattern light? Unlatched nothing wrong with pretty words. I believed your book, never you. I must turn in the baby so they can judge her female and I take her and run from that land. You've already found her wanting. I am running until I die. Am I still running? No. She's sweet. A book of art, all magic. My will still alive and free space could seek a grave. Truth formed in un varying color, blood of influence flowing. You were faithful and frank. I was destitute often too soon they died. You'll forget all the talk has been of remembrance. See my love a light. I don't want to a light of yours.

Speaker 3 (00:45:02):

I loved you and so why not anyone? I don't want to call you. It isn't your business anymore, but we're here now. This air can still hurt with flat crystal foliage we're making. If living had to be about the body, who made it So in our old language we'd say we are free, but the words are empty. When you're free, he got more money. You got more money than I did for your sex heart. I forgot to bring mine to the abattoir. It wouldn't have helped. They slaughtered us even though we loved each other. No God no. No religion. You don't have to wonder if you should be doing something else. Was there one I loved? Doesn't make sense. Is the pattern too cold? I'm burning in it that other fire, someone made me do it. No, I don't believe you. The sun is all I am.

Speaker 3 (00:45:52):

He got money for his pornography. I wanted to sell Eros too because I would have loved then if that was money. All I had to exchange which one they blend. What was powerful was in vision. Sold myself for eyes. Have too many now know so many so you don't need to watch it here in the lace. Putting your hands. You may not have to show the redemptive power of sex anymore. Remember all the feelings inside that no one said or would've let you have. I could bear the ones I didn't understand. The others were subject to approval. I'm combing them. Parting them from thief. You could have infatuated a planet. You'd say you could have infuriated a lampre you from my body's unconfused silk. I drew my mind up a ladder from flatland to an open opera. I didn't. I was dismembered who loved me. You lurked and struck. No God, there's all us or innately an eagle as chosen now in our art. Your pieces, the precious stones giving power to our sensible fabric. Touch the sex so bitten by the weather. Touch a thorn, a number navel be true.

Speaker 3 (00:47:14):

Each is sea and all the seas. A city I'm fighting with you before the three fates crochet with brown yarn. They have brown hair pulled back in a style of some C. Do we have centuries? Every time I loved you, it was now in all the seas. The theme of my stay is the fertilization of the self. Oh, raped one. They dragged her down. He took her to his world. But I founded the city. Un angelic eyes. It's searing in front of them and on the white ocean I found you. You can't have me. Was I faded? You don't know how to mure. The city isn't static. I shouldn't have been given three glasses. Don't find me. But this is forever. He tried to keep us in only one part of the manner. Grim one who betrayed you. It was a collective order out of the unthinking bounded lake where we'd rot refusing to believe the future of the dark of his man.

Speaker 3 (00:48:17):

A cannibal God each a sea in all the seas to fertilize the self. You calling to a city. Don't remember now I'm losing sight of the stark tower in the snow that I'd never seen leave the champagne. I rested it against the house of the fates. So tender young one's intent on this work. It was all about love. Now they pretend that it wasn't the power to kill belonged to someone, but I had no power except for this on rushing. Now keep saying go back. Oh, I won't climb down. There are no levels here. You lost your purse. You lost your conception of yourself. I've fertilized another self. You don't ever have to testify again. I don't have to be for or against you. What if you hurt me? It is impossible now because there are no gods. Only a city of so many fates gone on remembering presences. We are now going to change into another arrangement.

Speaker 2 (00:50:04):

And supposedly you're going to hear our voices, but we'll see. We

Speaker 3 (00:50:07):

Don't know about that. Are we still mute?

Speaker 4 (00:50:11):

We can.

Speaker 2 (00:50:12):

I know. How about now?

Speaker 3 (00:50:14):

How about

Speaker 2 (00:50:15):

Now? How about now? They're they're trying to unmute us. The hands are up. Sparkly fingers. Alice, thank you so much for that. This is a funny little set we have here, isn't it?

Speaker 3 (00:50:28):

I don't know. Can you hear me? This is on. Okay. I can't hear that it's on.

Speaker 2 (00:50:37):

So we'll act like we can hear one another and we'll pretend they can hear us and just to,

Speaker 2 (00:50:45):

So here's what we'll do. We'll talk for a little while up here and then we'll open the room to questions for Alice. And I want to start kind of easy since you just gave a demanding reading and talk with you about a couple terms that seem essential to the body of work you've accumulated over such a long time. And the first one that came to mind, seeing you again after so long, and talking about your movements between Paris and Needles is the word desert and the word desertion. That seems to really move so much through both of these books that you read from today.

Speaker 3 (00:51:20):

Yes, but I hadn't noticed that because the desert's very concrete and desertion is another thing. I've been deserted by all of my loved ones who died and that's like desertion. But I grew up in the desert. I guess I must've expected to be deserted, but I hadn't thought about it that way. It's very astute of you to point it out.

Speaker 2 (00:51:46):

Well that sense of having lost all companions is a difficult one. It's also an epic sentiment. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (00:51:54):

Well, poets are deserted. They're deserted by culture, by the culture, and they keep going on. And one feels ultimately deserted as a poet.

Speaker 2 (00:52:04):

So maybe that's a way to talk about the title Culture of one to the Limited Mind. That's a paradox.

Speaker 3 (00:52:11):

I got it from Eileen Miles, but I didn't notice that I had done this. There's somewhere in an essay of hers, she talks about the art of writing the way she writes and she goes out and she does all this stuff and then she goes back and writes by herself and she says, then I am a culture of one. When you write, you're a culture of one. Marie is different, a culture of one. She lives at the dump and she makes art out of things that people have discarded. Now, she didn't do the art part. She did the living at the dump part. And I made up all the parts about her making art because I didn't know anything about her and I couldn't find out enough about her. She lived in my town as I was growing up and I was terrified of her.

Speaker 3 (00:52:58):

And I admired her a great deal. And she lived out at the dump and she wore these raggy clothes and she was always kind of brown dirty. And she would go to the BuyRight market and with her dogs. And this guy, Leroy, who was a pathological liar, would give her water for the dogs and then she would leave and then he would tell these horrible lies about her. And that's kind of all I knew. And then one year the army came to the desert and ran over her because they didn't see her because there wasn't ever supposed to be anyone walking by the road. So they would run over. They did this twice, they just ran over and she got back up. She was that kind of person. So I admired to her,

Speaker 2 (00:53:45):

And maybe there's a couple ways to go with that. One thing that seems to me is there's currently a figure of a person who's either been deserted by their culture, exterminated by their culture, s scapegoated by their culture. And part of your project seems to create a poetic from which those forms of sacrificial community are abolished somehow. Is that a fair way to talk about the figures that the DDoS, the meas, the Mary. I'm

Speaker 3 (00:54:18):

Trying to make voices for all of them. The last poem, there are two poems in songs and stories of the ghouls in which I try to give voice to all the dead who are the victims of genocide and all the soldiers who are the victims of being made soldiers and all the people who have died and all the women who have had no lives whatsoever. And just all those people, the whole history of the dead. I want to talk for the dead and I want to talk to the dead. And so that's what this book is about. They are the ghouls and am the gul poet.

Speaker 2 (00:55:02):

I got curious about the etymology of Gul, which comes into English very late, like the 18th century. But from an Arabic

Speaker 3 (00:55:10):

Word is from Persian. From

Speaker 2 (00:55:11):

Persian, is it? It's from Persian. Yeah. And then ghosts has that other etymology back into early Germanic languages. The geist kind of line. Many people I think who think about what might be wrong with the society that's condemned in your body of work might see the ghouls as somehow the 1% or something. Whereas you seem to construct it as a kind of human universal, but it's an unsavory one.

Speaker 3 (00:55:40):

The ghouls are all the dead people who are waiting for justice. I'm waiting for the people, the dead people who are waiting for justice, they're all ghouls. They live on these blood sacks. In my book, in my fiction, these blood sacks are distributed to them. Every evening they eat a blood sack and they go on waiting for vindication, waiting for justice. I mean, why shouldn't someone who lived a shitty life have justice somehow? Somewhere. So I'm giving it. I'm making it for them. I'm constructing their city. It's a city of their voices. It's the only way I know how to make a city. It's the only power I have. I'm powerless.

Speaker 2 (00:56:24):

Powerless. And then also resolute in the idea that the power of the word seems very fundamental. That there was a poem that you read even in the set where what's been done to Ddo, what's been done to Meia, these two figures that you go back to try to kind of recover and recreate very pointedly leaving out the men with which they were associated. I think you mentioned Jason reluctantly ones. Oh,

Speaker 3 (00:56:49):

They're creeps.

Speaker 2 (00:56:52):

Creeps. Right. Can you talk about that image of founding a city restoring DDoS? Well,

Speaker 3 (00:57:00):

Dino founded a city. She founded the city of Carthage. And then Virgil wrote his beautiful stupid poem in which he stole from her the fact that she had founded something and created instead, a more powerful founder. The founder of Rome made her commit suicide and then had on sail off to found his wonderful city. I mean, she's denied in his story. Everything she did, everything she did. There are a lot of different interpretations of Madea actually. But she was a woman who had power, who knew how to do things with magic. She was very skillful. And I think she founded a city too, but I can't remember which one it was. These are women who founded things and have been turned into either wimpy suicides or evil people. Madea has been made evil, but she was a woman with a lot of power. Power. She had the power they didn't want her to.

Speaker 2 (00:58:08):

Yeah. So in thinking about that, I want to talk about becoming ancient. One thing that struck me when I read mysteries of small houses was the way that you could stain two very different orders of temporality at the same time. So on the one hand, a fairly conventional linear unfolding of a life and at another, a blaken vision of sort of the abolition of time or all time being present at once. Is it fair to say that as you work through the thinking that you're doing in these projects, that you're becoming ancient? So are you

Speaker 3 (00:58:38):

No, I'm becoming a still moment with all of time around me. It's a little bit like the way Boethius describes the mind of God, time in the mind of God. You can get to the center of your mind, the center of the echo if you think of yourself as having that sort of mind. And then the time collapses and all of the events are there, but they're not in the order we are accustomed to. They're just there.

Speaker 2 (00:59:11):

And I'm struck as the evolution out of your primary identification with the New York school because we all associate maybe too lazily, the Fran O'Hara poem, the Ted Rigan poem with clock time and Linical time, secular time, really the time of capitalism, the time of whatever. Did it feel like as you moved into this more mythic order of time, did it challenge some of your assumptions about who you were as a poet and company with others?

Speaker 3 (00:59:39):

I don't know. I'm not quite sure how to answer. Could you rephrase that? Is there another sentence

Speaker 2 (00:59:47):

I'm thinking about? This is the kind of temporality you wouldn't meet in a Fr

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