archives spring 2008



In My Numb Heart a Prick of Misgiving

I want a poet who can be toilet trained to prevent the shit from spilling out of his mouth. 

If you can’t feel the tickle on your genitals that this poem provides, please contact the manufacturer. 

I like to cuddle.  I am loyal and intelligent.  And I will sell myself for the mere thrill of seeing my name on a bathroom wall, or anagrammatically in the pages of Paradise Lost

I do not own this poem; it is the responsibility of the poetic community.  

If you cannot sex this poem, then listen harder. 

The wind has fallen.

The words don’t know what they mean. 

Four out of five poets complain they are jealous of new arrivals. 

The best poet in our town lives in a cage at PetsRUs and says fuck the son of a bitch every time a customer walks by. 

I prefer the jargon of capitalists to the jargon of poets. 

I love the word:  “liquidity.”

I love the world:  “asset.” 

I learned from television that the area between the testicles and the anus is called the runway. 

She slid her finger along his runway and read from the Cantos of Ezra Pound: 

That profit on deposits should be used to cover all losses and the distributions of the fifth year be made from remaining profits after restoration of losses no matter how small with the sane small reserve against future idem, and so on.

I believe in the rapture of syntax, and I take no responsibility if this poem suddenly falls into a coma, or if the economy of the poetry market experiences bloated bouts of inflation due to the overvalued chunks of language that glitter like diamonds in the glistening pool of vomit that spreads across the floor like the shadow of a lover long forgotten. 

The poet scared her own children with her excruciatingly meticulous word choice.

She exhibited aggressive behavior in public when she recited her serventesios.

Her best poem consisted of three hundred and fifteen gaseous staccato eruptions

The emcee suggested that disappointed consumers contact the manufacturer. 

The poet was lifted from the tenure track and dumped onto the customer service desk at Home Depot.

The poet went bust but the bank took over the practice.


State Poetry

This poem was written in the office of a state employee, and typed on a state-owned computer, and as such it is a violation of state ethics rules which prevent state employees from using state resources for work that is beyond the employee’s job description. 

Because this poem was written on a state-owned computer, and printed on a state-owned printer, and copied on a state-owned Xerox machine, it is, by law, the property of the state.

This poem willfully submits itself to state ownership.  

This poem feels that there is no better owner of a poem than the state. 

This poem feels that state-controlled poetry is the poetry of the future. 

When the author of this poem is appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois, this poem will instantly transform into an important work of literature. 

This poem has an active staff of fundraisers who are seeking corporate sponsorship. 

This poem is static, and in the stasis of this poem, a community of poets shall be blown to ash by a force that believes in art as a government and military weapon. 

This poem speaks of the world, but in its attempt to speak of the world it is interrupted by bureaucrats writing poetic memos; by generals writing poetic death orders; by refugees writing poetic love songs to sheep, Israeli Uzis, and virgins. 

This poem carries guns, prayer books, maps, cash, and manuals for heavy machinery.

This poem contains poet-interrogators who shove into terrorist mouths a variety of sedatives in preparation for gradual neurological reprogramming. 

This poem is to be read through a walkie-talkie at a convention of poets who long to be institutionalized. 

This poem institutionalizes poets by granting them immediate tenure at state universities they will never be able to leave. 

The university is a fitting place for these poets:  lots of sodomy and bitter fights over misplaced semi-colons and poorly formed ideologies. 

In the world of this poem, a ball of dust is a Neanderthal man with a club; a cobweb is a poppy field full of landmines; and a horse on a road is fourteen illegal immigrants in a stable. 

Critics hate this poem. 

Editors laugh at this poem. 

Poets shit on this poem. 

Babies and graduate students eat this poem. 

There are bivalved mollusks in this poem, and hemorrhoids, and a dog named Chucho, and coyotes who kidnap immigrants. 

This poem speaks of a sheep-herder’s wife in the same breath that it mentions a cheerleader from the Upper East Side who fashions pom-poms from the hair of poodles captured by her Canine Detention Brigade. 

This poem is an ally of the Metrosexual Insurgents who waged war on Banana Republic after maxing out their credit cards. 

This poem is actively recruiting insurgents to terrorize exurban outlet malls. 

This poem is a representative sample of the Chilean-Jewish school of Western Pennsylvanian Poetics. 

This poem is rhythmically unappealing. 

The form of this poem has little to do with its content. 

This poem feels slightly uncomfortable referring to teriyaki-flavored-tofu dildos and macrobiotic lesbians. 

This poem longs to be doused in gasoline and shoved into the mouth of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay. 

This poem has no desire to withstand the test of time, and its author recommends that all copies of this poem be burned two years after publication. 

This poem is firm in its convictions and compassionate at the same time. 

This is a people-poem, not a political poem. 

This poem is committed to public service. 

This poem is simple, unobtrusive, and easy to use or ignore as the reader sees fit. 


Daniel Borzutzky is the author of The Ecstasy of Capitulation (BlazeVox, 2007) and Arbitrary Tales (Triple Press, 2005). He is the translator of, among other works, Port Trakl, poems by Jaime Luis Huenún (Action Books, forthcoming) and a special issue on the work of Chilean fiction writer Juan Emar in the Review of Contemporary Fiction (September, 2007).