Synthesizer

for Marianne Morris

THE CITY

 
 
1.

When the state’s insufficiency cannot secure the good life.
When the state is unnatural and offers no perfection.
When home to dumb animals and gods,

++++++ interstate flies inscribe the orbit like irredeemable cargo.

+++The gods build houses in each district
+++but they can have houses here and there, high up
+++like eagles and low, moles. The gods accrue nature
+++around their houses like mantles, or padding.

This is polishing security. A digital garrison.
+++They put clips in their ears, their cars go fast
+++up the hills into the trees as the suspense burns.
+++They are in the same league as leopards
+++or granite.

The gods live without each other, like wild animals.
Sufficiency is only perfect in the moment of the state.
A spoiled hand is no longer a hand
but dinner, the hermit obscene before his rocks and papers.
The state alone can be alone
without horror or confusion. Zoo tray

++++++full of grubs and a rattler among
++++++Western ironmongery
++++++shows us appetite defying
conglomeration at the level of simple
++++++and complex structures. He sucked the wound
++++++the way they do on tv and got shot
++++++in his teeth for common interest.

The state contains our diversity of needs
like a slipper, like a delphic knife.
In the produce aisle insufficiency gleams
a wax skin must be dusted with water.

• Wheat growing at the police station, brassica
• on the railway cuttings, an archaism.
• Hogmeat and corn bread, buried hams,
• hard tack and middlin’ meat. Only in extreme democracies
• are workmen participants: they speak with their mouths.

Hideous clicking.

Insomniacs slip through the gym floor, rolled
a ball of rice, it’s all in the prefect’s letter.
+++Steady victuals. Sufficiency is a cold perfection.
A farmer gardened with rosacea
+++is beyond redemption
as he is beyond the Ludgate or the boated occipital.
 
 
2.

+++The marketplace is the divine scene.
+++A thin girl smiles thinly at a thin boy’s
+++thin excuse to touch her. Their confederation
+++is neglectful and will come again
+++and again until the state is made,
+++bursting out like a star from a welter.
First get a house and a wife and an ox to draw
and the judiciary follows, cornfed in its balloon robes.
The house is the original scene.
I’m going to put you in my pocket,
which means to sell you.

+++80s woman unclips a large gold earring
+++to answer the phone. She is only a chatterbox,
+++less discrete than a man talks to a brick,
+++twisting the knot of her idion in hand
+++and burning hate mail in the afternoon.
+++She learns to rule by being ruled: dry goods are
+++his to win, hers to preserve. She boxes up.

+++Her natural urge to propagate herself is the origin
+++of the state, state duplex, state boxer.
+++Foxes lock on under picnic tables,
+++children twist out into smokeries
+++and are furnished with commemorative cups and bowls.

The state is a container of duplication,
conservator of the basic minimum.
The phrase ‘cardiac arrest’ conceals a stupid truth:
heart knackered like a punctured football,
the heart is a working component owned by the state.
Our bodies bound to morter and decay.
The property heart, waiting for use
alongside a pop gun and a silk handkerchief
eases the load on the ox hearts, their feelings
an electrical discharge as they tow and hoist.

++++++Now the state’s insufficiency cannot secure the good life
++++++the swollen heart, myopathic, sits on an altar
++++++just free of dancing embers in the residual house.

As we relax our pulse beats
heavily on the sternum, where opening
a crab shell would make its wettest sound.
 
 
3.

The element that can use its intelligence
to look ahead is by nature ruler and by nature master.
This is philosophy, self-canonized,
televising projections since dawn.
For alibi the philosopher-king appeals
to the public fact of his chemical castration.
With immortal cunning soul
tyrannizes the body, the father bullies kin,
intelligence tempers desire like a president
kneeling on the senatorial neck. Except
no president does, having made a reduction.

Kennelled by reason, a free body
is erect and useless, suited
for the life of a citizen, divided by war
and peace. The slave body is of course.
The use of slaves is not a form of knowledge
that has any great importance
or dignity. A morbid fat woman
whipped us a little, but only with buckbrush
and only around the ankles. It is diminutive
and feminising, deteriorates the squires
the house is the original scene of tyranny
as prophylactic against female hunger.

My father’s tyranny is imponderable
in the political realm: the red mist of a house burning temper
enables his own emancipation as he rolls in from the suburbs.
He is speaker of the house, house a pork barrel.
How he acquires human properties
is a skill for soldiers and hunters,
raking it in the year of jubilee,
taking dogs to the base of all trees,
forcing runners into muddy shallows.
To be muddled with lime is a sin against the clear
proportionality of his race now he’s
having trouble keeping anything down.

Slaves are tools made for action. Diptherial robotics,
cogs in their hipbones and tightly wired
phalanges nipping at bobbins. If shuttles
could fly and a plucker play a tune all
self-moved, then masters would have no needs
and the cabins, empty, become national trust.
Watch them dance to heaven like the tripods
of Hephaestus shuffling into the assembly of the gods.
However by nature you can
and therefore do belong to him.
You participate in reason so far as to recognize it
but not so as to possess it, for possession
is barred to you are possessed so thoroughly.
Your speech, approximate (I’ve put
the breaks in):

++++++I ’members de time when my mammy was
++++++alive, I was a small child,
++++++afore dey took her to Reems Creek. All us chillens was
++++++playin’ in de yard one night. Just a-
++++++runnin’ and a-playin’ like chillen will. All
++++++of a sudden Mammy come to de door
++++++all ’cited. “Come in here dis minute,”
++++++she say. “Just look up at what is a-happenin’.”
++++++And, bless you life, de stars
++++++were fallin’ just like rain. Mammy was
++++++terrible scared, but we chillen weren’t
++++++afraid, no we weren’t afraid. But Mammy,
++++++she say every time a star fall,
++++++somebody gonna die. Look like
++++++a lot of folks gonna die from de looks of
++++++dem stars. Everythin’ was just as bright as day.
++++++You could a pick a pin up.
++++++You know de stars don’t shine ++++++as bright
++++++as dey did back den. Weren’t
++++++long afore dey took my mammy away,
++++++and I was left alone.

I make the dead work.

++++++The element that can use its intelligence
++++++to look ahead is by nature ruler and by nature master.

In the year of jubilee we will have transformation.
Money that grows on bushes, squirrels
and wild things, cotton for free
and good calico, shoes lined with dog fur.
Corn, rye and goober peas, mush and milk,
pepper pot from the cook shack
everyone down at the frolic and nothing partial
such as sleep, warmth, or skins.

++++++Do I know this, your names, your prices.
 
 

THE POLICE EYE

 
 
1.

The day bluelighted to an infirmary.
Take myself off to conjure
thoughts of dogs
rioted up a tree in the dark
and a silly rotten stick liquors up
the other hand. Fear is a powerful
inducement to club up: clear the backs
sentinelled, looking for freedom
portioned and in regard of: every rut
Ocado may be able to deliver.
I’m heavily pregnant. The horror film
I come into shot they come in crying ‘Meat, meat’
Rhiannon covered in puppy blood
a claw reaches in through the stable window but that’s
the part of the story nobody questions
is a threat to fealty on the island of the mighty.

At the return of relief
– all fields squarely – and the modern houses
I apply at a gate shackled by a deliberate block.
A paddock with deer, too docile and thick
among nettles and rusting gear
boiler pots and winches to make this
place than mortal foreboding. Eaters
nearby, scanned by the rolling monocle
that twitches its history of terror
from only one side of a monumental face.
No wilderness here, even for fodder
coruscating inside their commodity hides
their hips and shoulders move through ragout
the muscleman is hiding his pointed ears in the long grass.
Everything I see is the state. More dogs.
Their owners.
 
 
3.

Man is an animal who needs a master
who is an animal who needs a master
that is an animal needs that master
who is a mastered animal, mastering
the animal of his master who is animals
and needing a master is an animal master
for the animals who need a master and a master
of animals is also an animal among animals
who need masters there is an animal
and masters for those animals are animals
who need a master who need a master
animal animal animal master animal.

The duty to obey. The duty waits it out,
down at the mouth and pitifully small indoors
and governed in lesions at the big-box stores
with a woman in pain as the standard bearer
who begs the latch as court-appointed carer: but she
represents no one juridically,
her talent’s symbol. And her nature
restrains her litter at two, as otherwise
she would have as many tits as a pig.
You think they’re numbered to match your eyes?

So quantity is a function of necessity, and
for grundnorm take the tyranny of the family.
The forest regards its infant oaks as luxuries,
silva lisp a word for tender:
the merciless criticism of everything existing.
The thumb is just long enough
to pleasure the mouth without choking.
 
 

Domestic Interlude 2

You remember the rowan tree, light
++++++filled apart as clarity
+++swinging down became a fixation.
A multitude devised as one, brided as one
++++++eventually but not yet.
Still summer with bright gold appearances.
Heavenly grasses. Work spread out
+++++++++on the table
specie piling up with the ashes of letters

to map your body traditionally to own it.
Food. Irony. Music piped into the ears
+++that otherwise tripped over birdsong
+++and otherwise halted in the future.

For you
+++were everywhere. No material
+++a likewise possibility. Great tips
and chords, even the bottlenose sighted
++++++a celebratory sleeve for Curtis Mayfield

Spending money on other things like sweaters.

Some drinks in the distance
the muezzin and other dawns
++++++blood loss. Occasional pinches.

+++To march, to peal and wish nakedly
++++++feeling nothing and/or an excess
it came up at the cinema, there was a book in it.

Then there were the children

But not yet.
Rummaging. Appears on the doorstep,
+++extracted from her bicycle. Teapot hens
puffy for dawn in Paradise Park, slappy,

fish in the sink,++++all the shelves taken,
+++home a home for recording sessions.

Your body spread out under the pitching.

An excess of luxury soap. The thing
we both knew would be lost to each
++++++if we vanished

And a building site, the plaster all blown
rendered and made good

breakfast up there, under the plants.

++++++What kindness, circled
++++++by your unprepossessing
++++++sky

Coming back, coming back
coming back and coming
back (wild combination)

Listening as the night-bloom
jasmine listens,
+++and the dealers in their parked cars
+++and the invisible man behind the partition

for baking, strumming. Squashing. Speaking
always with very great interest
+++how the multitudes devised one.
++++++A retro design

beautifully done, lively. The children.
The house and its work. The children.
Where they came from. Suddenly

++++++over time turns into history

too much to talk about

eating the bread I made in labour

they learn to speak, and then they speak
and everything they say begins to finish the puzzle for us which they are
just beginning

++++++suddenly

I feel old now, the day

++++++bright gold appearances of all your faces

this is what my life was, and becoming

++++++how we wake up when we have been there

bracketed to your body traditionally
no other

++++++oh my profound heart

the days work and the nights of knowledge
which has turned out to be knowledge
only

++++++of you everywhere, and there
++++++and here
++++++and here
++++++and here
 
 

THE PRINCE

 
 
1: Holland

The electors of Holland dance to bronze music,
spin the Victorian dynamo in the modified foodmart
chocka with maize, decaf peace, prosperity.
This so Fed-Ex home town commo
freeze the liquor licence with moral temperature:
children cluster and spatter the streets
with taffy goodbar, good in pastel
sugar shades of salt water. Give’m
enough spank to get the job done
take shelter in the urgent and compelling
which is a blank cheque drawn on endless government.
They will always hear your footsteps,
offering plausible deniability for food
and aching corporatist bullyboy spirits for hush money
in Kolleen Park, in Abu Nuwas.

The Free Companies are the scourge of Europe,
their ideal bivouac in motorland,
al fresco on Windmill Island, flush at Tulip Time
with republicanism and Jean Calvin.
The Duke of Ferrara held with no less effort
principality crated to the Great Dismal Swamp:
a day’s drive from Khartoum to Port Sudan,
check my look in the mirror,
lipstick blandishments go alchemized harrier
vanity up corporate warfareground and her precious
pins in L’Eggs and her precious deconfliction
hour in Calgon. Dominions
either accustomed to live under a prince, or to live in freedom,
the pin switch stay where you are with your hands.
Aere perennium the crater mouth
of mainstreet sidewalk of the stars’
general pow chicken and the starry ears.
God’s own infantry linked to
white-side seals, armed tap dancy
from the DeKlomp factory
to Route Irish via the BIAP.

For when Christian men, take not
their Christian Sovereign, for Gods Prophet;
they must either take their owne Dreames,
for the Prophecy they mean to bee governed by,
and the tumor of their own hearts
for the Spirit of God; or they must suffer
themselves to bee lead by some strange prince.
The prince. A theocon master of the universe
poured in China into plastic:
six kids, Roman Catholic, ex-Navy
who appreciates the smoke and bells
and the facilities (confession),
blooded on gays, wombs, cord banks,
Hillsdale’s volunteer firefighter
swimming through ice of an inland sea
in search of the dead, sniffy
oh my dear profiteer pater.
 
 
2: Moyock

Blackfaced to a jungle dark medlar swelling
under the black peat of Camden and Currituck,
this is the dark sticks river, gallons charged with
forgetfulness and the memorandum of notification.
The ghosted native swings on a palindrome,
going oogedaboogeda from the loblolly bay.
The digital natives check in 140 characters,
walk-ups with grudges whose intel can be checked
by solidarios milites only at the hot
point of a drifted metal.
Dyed with tannins, fringed with berries
for the foraging mascot bears, the cloth stapler
a reversible feedbag and containment unit
for the pure fire of platonic eyes. On the MRE
boxes of sassafrass and pin cherry stand
two wet feet, the Peppa Pig water-wings
slipped off far back in the pocosin stage.
They unclamp the jinga trucks, lock
and load arrears for policy as the oaks burn
giant candles like heads with livid inflammatory hair.

They’re the biggest employer around here
so we can’t diss them, 250 folks
in the steel target factory and on the ranges.
Moyock / mock city near the Jeremiads
are arising, pistol in one hand trowel
in other for an archaeology
of third-country nationals (screwed to the pallets).
RU Ready High, SWAT tango studio teens
scream their gutless piercing illegal Twilight.
Milites ad adorem pacis peiora molintur quam in bello.
Wan. Snooted. Friendlies cast
with hundreds n thousands light the sky for relays.
This fake city as diorama: anatomical displays
showing the gestation of a mil-bird,
from broken avionics and the works
to berthing in foreign service, how we build a state
from components of foreign manufacture.

Teaching that there are three courses for those who wish to hold them: to ruin them, to reside with them, or to permit them to live under their own laws, drawing a tribute, and establishing within it an oligarchy which will keep it friendly to you.

Elsewhere airstrip
and oceanliner for pirate practice
remote-control kill authority is the real thing
where the deer and the antelope play.
The Praetorian Guard in the summer of 69
drew targets for an extraction
plan by intrusive metal
and intrusive thoughts, while others
cashiered out and found themselves
at loose ends their venomous expertise. We are paid
to outsource blame, a poison ricochet
tamped to the market
instead of the congressional record
building a ‘coalition of the billing’
aka plucking the Durand Line like catgut.

That was a real ass-puckerer,
the Anabasis of Xenophon,
in a circle makes the red arc of an oil dash,
is shot-put, is hockey-sticks
in the comfortable lunge of the Black Bear.
Soapmakers and their sons for silver
have been made into knights,
sheep-dipped green badgers
who align teams as they align stars.
The warrior constellation winks his nakedness
turns lithium and gibbets to flesh
in a flash of an air asset, oh company dog.
 
 
3: Baghdad

The labourers descend from little birds
scuff up on the sandbox, go hoodless
to the Dry Sea / And come home via Qara Na’ur.
Our teams are not cooking meals
or moving supplies. They are taking bullets.
The prince, with little reluctance, takes the opportunity
of rebellion to punish the delinquents, clear out the suspects,
and to fortify himself in the weakest places,
the strategic chokepoints. You draw the shells
in coloured pencils cascade with rain-sounds
from their casing. This is the lethal finding,
drawn down straight from the imperial grotto:

he offends a minority only of the citizens from whom he takes lands and houses to give them to the new inhabitants; and those whom he offends, remaining poor and scattered, are never able to injure him; whilst the rest being uninjured are easily kept quiet, and at the same time are anxious not to err for fear it should happen to them as it has to those who have been despoiled.

When duty-honour calculations
are displaced by cost-profit and the benefit
shifts like oversight to the executive,
the acceptable face of pain gets masked up
and booted up till the money literally soars.
Jose Cuervo protecting the agave fields,
Zapata engineering the ammo stores:
they quadruple the army payout;
the bouge et gages du court seductress,
the outlivers have the correct figures
but the kickers a life without security
of finance, transport, interiors and health
made into an error against life set to zero.

So the lobby in Holland is marked out
for a private transport times event,
tradecraft walls swicker and rupple to a fervent
catacoustic grunge of election. Triple Canopy
swooning full cash for incredulity, for burning
the log-book and the model detonator.
Outside, through the shifting of the garrison
up and down all become acquainted with hardship
as a kind of burning.

Ramiro taken on pretence and executed
on the piazza at Cesena: the people at once
were satisfied and dismayed.

‘Cofer told him he would have flies on their eyeballs
within a week’. The recipe includes
only bad guys, cooling, stymied, deletable,
good fortune and great energy are needed to hold them
in a loving and deeply sexual embrace as
proof of the muj strategy with passion
fruit pudding ridge road.

Who leave out dog hits, we sniff
the traces, slip up on nitrates
and sink our dearly booted feet
into the hacksaws to cut the switch.
An own-goal, delivered in a handcart,
she wakes up to the smell of premonition
and her new heroic part. There is no uplift.
Disposable muscle and steel and packaging
of Hawkwood’s White Company blown up
to nightmare proportions.

The blades on the Bremer detail
who twitch like eyes remote in their sockets,
slid back behind plastic, routed to semtex
and get jumpy off the X
scoot, shoot, as the stovepipes, shirt rips
on a quick twist and miscalculate a flight risk
they aren’t nearly fast enough off
but swish, one says, behind order 17.
This ilke worthy knight hadde been also
Somtyme with the lord of Palatye
Agayng another hethen in Turkye.
And everemoore he hadde a sovereyn prys

Raven 23 pins down in Nisour Square,
drop tackle on a hard site,
budgets rattle in the offertory.
They stuff into the BearCat, carbines across their knees,
Von Steuben’s children
Set off in soft-skins, heat-sought
behind a dirt berm, unapologetic.
Evan Liberty among the tard venus
endorsing Camp Ganci, Father of these Ravens.

“And this failure was due to the Naussicaans
being…” he looked up as
he searched for the words, “…beamed away?”

necessity, immensity, and crisis (many edges/seeing things)

There’s a more than critical criticism that’s like seeing things—a gift of having been given to love things and how things look and how and what things see. It’s not that you don’t see crisis—cell blocks made out of the general meadow, and all the luxurious destitution and ge(n)ocidal meanness, the theft of beauty and water, the policing of everyday people and their everyday chances. It’s just that all this always seems so small and contingent against the inescapable backdrop of constant escape—which is the other crisis, that is before the first crisis, calling it into being and question. The ones who stay in that running away study and celebrate its violently ludic authenticity, the historicity that sends us into the old-new division and collection of words and sets, passing on and through, as incessant staging and preparation. This necessity and immensity of the alternative surrounds and aerates the contained, contingent fixity of the standard.

The alternative, and the ones who stand (in) for it, can only be defended in what Mario Pedrosá calls its “experimental exercise,” which happens everyday, and in the recognition of its exercise, which is what I think Marx refers to when he speaks, in “Communism and Private Property,” of the everyday engagement in criticism that is an essential part of a communist way of life, and which sometimes he more than critically enacts when he engages in critique, in the elaboration of a general theory of crisis, and in the urgent address of specific instances of crisis. Questions concerning the theory and actuality of crisis are no less urgent now because crisis is always with us. Seeing things doesn’t hide the crisis that critique discloses; rather, it locates it more precisely, within a general tendency for upheaval that it constitutes. Seeing things, the alternative seeing of things, the seen and seeing alternative, which a certain deployment of crisis is meant to police, is the crisis of genuine disclosure and generative disruption.

The crisis of deprivation on a global scale is a function of policing that responds to a global ecologic of generation that regulative power brutally (mis)understands as a crisis of law. This is to say that crisis is not only a function of policing but that it has a policing function; it is also to say that crisis is ongoing, generative resistance to the regulation, the policing, that it generates. This poor description of the interplay of policing and crisis is trying reverently to disclose a reversal that already animates Policing the Crisis, the classic attendance of Stuart Hall, Chas Critcher, Tony Jefferson, John Clarke and Brian Roberts to the range and force of the generative social and aesthetic upheaval of the alternative in England since World War II. Hall and his fellows analyze the ideological manufacture of crisis as a mode of interpretive regulation. The racialization of already extant criminal activity allows its epidermalized “novelty” to be interpreted as crisis. But the criminalization of that activity, in its relation to the normalization of modes of propriation whose brutality and scale dwarf any and every instance of “mugging,” is the real problem because, in the end, it was never about this or that instance or collection of instances of law breaking; it was, rather, about the social self-defense of jurisgenerative capacity of which mugging can be said to be a particular manifestation, noteworthy not because of its brutality or venality or degeneracy but only because its enactment of self-defense through (re)propriative acts are susceptible to a condition in which they reinforce the brutal axioms of ownership and exception.

Criticism, the capacity to see things in their branching and unfolding and generative differentiation, attends to generation while critique, as Marx deploys it, attends to the regulation and policing of generation and while degenerate critique, which seems to be deployed today almost everywhere in the normal human sciences, is driven by its own implicit claims of national identity or political subjectivity that have themselves been made subject to a force, and been understood by way of a logic, of degeneration implying a mystery of loss and of what was lost. Here’s where the neoliberal lament regarding “the crisis of democracy” (which was, according to Samuel Huntington and his fellows, a function of there being too much democracy) can be understood as the animating trace of certain folks, claiming to be on the left, whose lament of the current loss of “our democracy” is driven by nostalgic fantasies of a democracy that supposedly was held within the structure of, rather than resistance to, American exclusion. It’s not coincidence that this convenient repression of American exclusion is usually accompanied by an assertion of American exception which either takes the form of an invocation of “our” best intentions or, more pragmatically, as the assertion of a right to do just about anything in the name of national defense, whose complete detachment from imperial aggression is sanctioned by the serial invocation of crisis.

When people respond to the suppression of the alternative—and Hall and his fellows brilliantly illuminate how state interpretation of the alternative as crisis is a fundamental element of that suppression—the word riot is deployed in order to augment that suppression; but when suppression of the alternative is more (im)properly understood as a response to the alternative it also becomes possible to understand that with regard to the insistent previousness of the alternative it is more accurate to say, over Sly Stone’s growl or Joe Strummer’s sneer, that there is, and already has been, a riot going on. This is about the anoriginary force of tumultuous derangement, a generative sociopoesis given in and as everyday sensuality. To rise to the defense of this sacred, ordinary, generative violence—to protect it from the ongoing murder—is often to risk a kind of appropriation of the very propriative force one seeks to combat with an otherwise animating fugitivity. Such uprising can take the form of burnin’ and lootin’ but, even more easily, such appropriation can take the form of a critical account of the justificatory causes of burnin’ and lootin’. Meanwhile, what always remains or, more precisely, what must be understood as the irreducible remainder that animates such physical acts as well as such critical accounts, are everyday and everynight things. It’s not about the looting of loot or the assault of persons who take shape as shops and wares, or about the insurgents’ loss of or exclusion from citizenship or belonging that supposedly makes the former inevitable; it is, rather, all about insurgence as the performative declaration of what we are and what we have and what we give. Put another way, the seemingly infinite production of crisis finds its limit in the infinite rehearsal of generative capacity, in the open field of a generative grammar, in the fecundity of a range of generative principles, all of which reveal the sclerotic constraints that are fostered by an empiricist attitude whose structuring force in the determination of Anglo-American intellectual identity can be traced back to a certain valorization of the grasp, and the philosophical nomination of the possessive individual to the office of manager of the enclosure, by way of the bloody fingerprints of a transcendental subject who is unable or unwilling to see things but who can neither let things go nor pass things on.

The riot that’s goin’ on is a party for self-defense. The question concerning its causes, its sources, shouldn’t be left to liberal or neoliberal pundits and prime ministers, even when their more or less racist and ageist elitism leads them to say, with a kind of ignorant and imprecise accuracy, that the causes are cultural. What they don’t mean is that culture is the imprecise word we give to regenerative resources of insurgent social life. There’s another way of living that exhausts imposed arrangements. It’s where and how people fight. When seemingly random and unorganized acts of self-defense erupt against the violence of the state and capital, the only important question is how to maintain their connection to the social field they are meant to defend. This is a question concerning the corrosive, reconstructive force of certain practices that Michael Herzfeld thinks of in terms of “cultural intimacy—the recognition of those aspects of a cultural identity that are considered a source of external embarrassment but that nevertheless provide insiders with their assurance of common sociality, the familiarity with the bases of power that may at one moment assure the disenfranchised a degree of creative irreverence and at the next moment reinforce the effectiveness of intimidation.” But what if we begin to consider, against the grain and over the edge of whatever combination of the critique of authenticity and the appeal to upright, paralytic sovereign recitations of the citizen consumer, that the social poetics Herzfeld is after is an undercommon intellectual project that begins to emerge precisely when the distinction between insiders and outsiders breaks down, when a certain kind of communal claim is made in a certain kind of walking down certain city streets, and when that claim is given in and as an active disruption of the nation-state, in and as a kind of masque in which the very habits of the damned are taken on and, thereby, altered in their free, constant and already given alteration. Meanwhile, we confront the emergence of new black acts—of the kind E. P. Thompson describes in Whigs and Hunters—now outlawing autonomous cybersocial organization for self-defense emerge under the self-regulating cover of the ones who internalize the embarrassment they refuse, the generativity non-citizens claim.

The notion that crisis lies in the ever more brutal interdiction of our capacity to represent or be represented by the normal is as seductive, in its way, as the notion that such interdiction is the necessary response to our incapacity for such representation. Their joint power is held in the fact that whether abnormality is a function of external imposition or of internal malady it can only be understood as pathological. Such power is put in its accidental place, however, by the ones who see, who imaginatively misunderstand, the crisis as our constant disruption of the normal, whose honor is given in and protected by its representations, with the ante-representational generativity that it spurns and craves. This is the crisis that is always with us; this is the crisis that must be policed not just by the lethal physical brutality of the state and capital but also by the equally deadly production of a discourse that serially asserts that the crisis that has befallen us must overwhelm the crisis that we are; that crisis follows rather than prompts our incorporative exclusion.

There’s a connection between poetry and violence that Amiri Baraka, among others, began to explore by way of these terms and which now needs to be re-explored in the full awareness that Baraka’s movement extended, rather than disavowed, that antinomian opening of the field that can be traced back through Charles Olson and Sun Ra, Emily Dickinson and Harriet Jacobs, Anne Hutchinson and Tituba, and beyond. The poetics of the open field, especially when performed in the narrow cell, was always tied to the sociopoetics of riot, of generative differentiation as a kind of self-care, of expropriative disruption as a kind of self-defense, of seeing things as a performed social theory of mind. Baraka took it out, and sometimes tried to take it home, which drove it through him and even further out, in the name of an enformant poetics, spreading the news and the new in the giving and taking of form, as lemons, and people, piled on steps, disarrayed inappropriately against every propriative and counter-propriative intention that claims to have put them there. We still enact, because we desire and cannot live without, the immense poetry of war, by which Wallace Stevens meant and didn’t mean a poetics of social pregnancy, the international, anti-national embarrassment of seeing things and making things. The poetics of the alternative is funereal and venereal, surviving in denotative self-defense and the righteous distortions it enacts in rough advent. There’s a This is England poetics, a Luv ‘n Haight poetics, miving without moving in and against the brutal smallness of imposed needs and nationalized histories with the kind of out lyricism that only comes from being constrained to be somewhere else, that will have already come from the other side to keep on going, that had already come with those of us who are the other things we see.

8.19.11