To begin ...

As the twentieth century fades out
the nineteenth begins
it is as if nothing happened
though those who lived it thought
that everything was happening
enough to name a world for & a time
to hold it in your hand
unlimited.......the last delusion
like the perfect mask of death

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Anne Tardos: Seventeen poems from NINE 1-63 (2009-2011)

First you practice nonviolence on yourself then on others.
All events that occur are caused by earlier events.
An idea for a form originates from another form.
You could say, “being alive means defending a form.”
These phone calls are strong enthusiastic and uniquely restrictive.
Anguish chagrin discomfort despair grief depression guilt and
A group of gentle friends and their mixed emotions.
Is Nothing the inertia of Something, asks a friend.
I’m confessing that I love you, now, this minute.

We try subdividing space and time into infinite segments.
Our apparently random behavior fits within a deterministic
We run around like titillated and tantalized windup toys.
“We feel and we know that we are eternal.”
If we understood infinity, suicide would have to fail.
We know nothing as uncertain as a sure thing.
Feeling happy can be as gentle as sipping water.
Even a hedonist must have some concern for others.
How they managed to dirty the very word “liberal.”

Marxist writing, Marxist writing, woman’s work is never done.
My view of reality is vague if I’m vague.
Why can’t scientific research ever reach a perfect truth?
The purest moment of perversion and its clandestine sites.
Tranquil moment in the life of a northern town.
I look at the page and I start writing.
Dog drives car—breaks the rules—wrinkle, Volvo, sniff.
I loved you in the middle of the afternoon.
Carey’s 6-word poem: “Oh Mom, it is so beautiful.”


“There’s no way to peace—peace is the way.”
Miles Davis says play what you don’t know.
Everything we seek is guided by what is sought.
Sources of my knowledge are sensation, memory, introspection,
Every thought is first thought, and also best thought.
I feel obligated to live as excellently as possible.
A phony Somali passport and a screechy mythological gargoyle.
This elasticity is overrated, so don’t mention it again.
Dripping with compassion, oh honey, I love you, too.


Obedient daughters eat their dinners alone—and harshly isolated.
Kaufman’s amputation pornography, she was exactly like her
Her sleeping sea urchin could only lose ten pounds.
Milton’s Paradise Lost in the realm of spinal amalgamation.
The musculature of a daydreaming animal lost in thoughts.
Retallack’s magic rule of nine and the decimal system.
Umlaut behavior and the massive éclat of somnambulant
The bio mimicry of elliptical ice terriers’ parallel curves.
Terrifying and reciprocal alterity actually happening in real time.

All life has been a preparation for this moment.
I look at the canvas and I start painting.
Now I am a solitary loner, barely denying it.
If silence is a form of speech, then speech . . .
Demand openness and open doors with another open door.
Blessings will come again soon, let’s graciously not complain.
Every moment matters, we were lovely, the lights on.
California Dexedrine Las Palmas I will not be sick.
Stop-the-car-near-the-ocean-goodbye-forever poem.

An essay concerning human understanding John Locke volume
The supposition that words have a certain evident signification.
Ideas, also of substances, must be made of things.
A gentle and kind orangutan represents my personal death.
Avoiding constriction of internal formations by limiting one’s
How two different beliefs occur in two different heads.
We eventually calm down without understanding the mechanism
Yentsia bakoondy eeleck, ta-dee-doo-dah, bentsey la cozy fen-
Bit baloon timi zin zah, timi zin zah, zimbudah.

I’m a conduit between my surroundings and my output.
We all operate simultaneously and together on different levels.
Thoughts clear enough to land on paper do so.
Understand me as a continuity rather than a changelessness.
I’m going to the store, do you need anything?
A slumbering kangaroo who is capable of wordless thinking.
Nothing compares to the bubbling of a blubby blabber.
One thing is certain: use it and lose it.
Invent a Self who will then invent other Selves.

Certain forms are available to us only in discourse.
The thing is that we all just fall apart.
Overexposed concretized language, primary writing, a caress was
Happiness is just one of those words people use.
Intense project feminist critique progressively pissed them off
Was it a business move reinforcing hierarchies, Ron’s blog.
Esteem recognition salute honor rave regard appreciation notice
Imagine the intersection where language and reality might meet.
Fluctuating life caught in the “endless flow of becoming.”

One two three four La Cumparsita the old tango.
Calm serious civilized people stare thoughtfully at the floor.
Humiliation, and the shame it brings, fills my heart.
The difference between negotiating the stairs and not is critical.
The sloshing of warm water resembles and reassembles us.
Stacy Ess Zee’s comfort versus deadly fatal bodily discomfort.
The Moondance Diner and the Weird-but-True Section.
A reflection of the Self now reflecting on itself.
The now—always the now—always the same now.

Love is found in all the ways friends speak.
Vacillating between what is possible and what actually happens.
Bouncing between understandable resistance and the inevitable
     eventual progression.
What makes you think that living is not dying?
An overexcited person cannot see or hear very clearly.
Glacial scorn inside our throats worsened by our contentions.
California dreaming and a dreamy dream for future
The future sits loosely enclosed inside the human mind.
Because it’s good to leave some time between pieces.

The act of writing has reversed the empty space.
And death can always come in the next minute.
The notion of form and formlessness is being contemplated.
Music is heard through headphones near a brick wall.
Discourse aligns itself along multiple staves of the score.
Everyone knows that common sense is direct and primitive.
All sorts of origins are being ascribed to structures.
The infinitely increasing distance between everything and
     everything else.
And then suddenly Pouf, it’s all gone, you see.

You see how interchangeable and reversible how pliable delicate.
The keyboard’s keys are the tentacles of the matrix.
The fractal pattern of which we are a part.
The human body as a cumbersome and genial vehicle.
Nobody enjoys being tossed overboard suddenly and without
Flaubert to Sand: l’homme c’est rien, l’oeuvre c’est tout.
The human being is nothing, the work is everything.
Another way of saying ars longa, vita brevis est.
And here is the ninth line, not saying much.

Be careful out there, bundle up: trust your instinct.
Demystification through writing and a constant calling into
Making what is unspoken speak by touching without grasping.
Steely and forbidding situations are often met with reserve.
What an extraordinary privilege it is to be here!
Porn sites searchable by fetish, the need for intimacy.
The impulse to revolt lurking just under the surface.
I turn inward, loss of uncertainty, the incest taboo.
I sense the mysterious unknowable present at my fingertips.

Hear the lovely baby grand piano at my feet.
Feel the sounds, hear the music, sense the moment.
Feel those feelings and mostly keep them to yourself.
Sense the obsession and take a distance from it.
I read as I possibly can, to tell myself.
I tell myself to possibly read, as I can.
Believe it when I tell you an inner truth.
Listen to these words and the sounds they make.
Imagine having an appetite and not finding any food.

I avail myself of all that’s available to me.
To be elaborately bypassed and left out really stings.
Trying to help one friend shouldn’t necessitate hurting another.
Well what did I expect, what did I expect?
The pleasure of power and the intoxication of lying.
A chance to look at me before I walk.
Impending ending at safe distance, a chance to sleep.
The subtext of certain reticent writing must remain inaccessible.
Viable children must kill their parents to make room.

Often when I say “you” I really mean “we.”
Stylish hairdo notwithstanding, what a ridiculous character you
Do you feel the need to be always happy?
I’m afraid stupid Cupid bit me in the ass.
Now I am completely powerless to redirect my attention.
The sphere of the private, the erotic, the repressed.
The false Self, the as-if personality, the trivial matter.
Jackson was blessed with perfect kindness in his heart.
Our cat understood this reality as a direct experience.

[NOTE.  The selections above are from Tardos’s newest book, Both Poems (Roof Books, 2011), two series marked by notable formal constraints – “a menagerie of pronouns and a nine-by-nine word/line count.”  Of the latter, “Nine 1-63,” she writes:

“In the series ‘Nine,’ form is unified with content: The phrase ‘Nine words per line and nine lines per stanza’ fulfills that requirement exactly. By counting words, not syllables—‘I’ has the same value as ‘kangaroo’—the resultant lines are nearly always irregular in length.
“I think of each line as a microcosm of tempo, tone, and beat. In fact, you might say that each line is a free standing poem. While some lines appear as neologistic word clusters, most are unilingual, subject-based texts.”]

No comments: