Wednesday, June 08, 2005

reading ken rumble for the first time in years

Memoirs of Ken Rumble

"je est un autre" -- Rimbaud

Let me run a Ken poem without line breaks -- (weird, like de-boning a rubber chicken):

the only motion is circular not cycles but circles turning like checkbooks taken like school boys frightened like anatomy There is land before the poem a vista that pulls away from touch like a blue lettered showgirl

(Rumble, “1 2 .v i i i .2 0 0 1” -- with line breaks and stanza breaks taken out). (Sorry, Ken, you caught me
On a “weird” kick, it is Gudding’s fault, Gudding got me to thinking
Well ok,
Who is gonna
Go ahead and write a poem
About being inside the Blockbuster,
Or visiting the men’s room, or killing a
Bothersome wasp trapped up under the
Long slanted back window of the car
On a typically hot Carolina day. You
Remember that Ken, last week? It first
Started getting hot, flashing June to July --

Now, I am reading Ken’s poems for the very first time, right here, livetime, on this text entry. I never have read him in years, I think, ever since I met with him in a small southern where we both worked for the Man. Office geeks in hardcore info-economy games but not as cool as The Matrix
Which hadn’t even come out yet

Now we will try to reconstruct the rhythmic bones
Of this beast:

the only motion
is circular
not cycles

but circles
turning like
checkbooks taken like school boys

frightened like anatomy
There is land before the poem
a vista that pulls away
from touch

like a blue lettered


(Rumble, “1 2 .v i i i .2 0 0 1” -- with line breaks and stanza breaks prophesized if poem was transposed from Rumbleverse to Intersperse - whoa dude--ghalib ).

the only motion is circular not cycles but circles turning like checkbooks taken like school boys frightened like anatomy There is land before the poem a vista that pulls away from touch like a blue lettered showgirl

the only motion is circular
not cycles but circles turning
like checkbooks taken like

school boys frightened like
anatomy There is land before
the poem a vista that pulls away

from touch like a

(Rumble, “1 2 .v i i i .2 0 0 1” -- with line breaks and stanza breaks altered, plus word cut).

the only motion is circular -- I agree but for the fractal.
not cycles but circles turning -- the cycles are toothsome sometimes.
like checkbooks taken like -- whose face is on it

school boys frightened like -- yes very
anatomy There is land before = I agree
the poem a vista that pulls away = agree

from touch like a = do eyes touch
Showgirl = girl shows

(Rumble, “1 2 .v i i i .2 0 0 1” -- with line breaks and stanza breaks altered, plus word cut and critical gloss).

In one of Rumble’s poems, he writes that “the only motion is circular.” I want to respond: this is beautiful, I agree, but for the fractal. However, fractal may be round. Here is what scares me about circles: Circle is minimum line needed to contain space. I want my line to contain all space. So I guess one might say that the “I” keeps exploding, not in repetitious incidents, no -- more like: in all-new things, events to the edge of breath the versed verge the raw verse parable. Incoherence this side of the verge. What’s on that side? The other responds:
(I can see his glasses, curly hair, sweaty smile):

“not cycles but circles turning.” He pluraled “circle.” What does this indicate? Does this mean he has gone from one to many circles? How can this be perfected as a circle if multiplied? Could it be that Rumble’s poem is also saying that the cycles are toothsome sometimes, like checkbooks taken, like things lost, names gone, dissolved, death eradicates some of our compatriots, Ken, as I fastforward
From there to here
1997(?) to 2005 --
I see you there
At the verge
You dove in
You surface
Like pennies
-- whose face is on it

(Rumble, “1 2 .v i i i .2 0 0 1” -- intertext stage.).

compatriots, Ken,
That’s what we were
And what we still are,
We still both love poetry.
as I fastforward
From that last time we talked
To the email that she forwarded to me
Just now,
It amazes me
To glimpse
If not feel

From there to here
1997(?) to 2005 --

I see you there
At the verge

dove in

You surface

-- whose

(Rumblanders, “1” -- with love, Jack. Give me a buzz tomorrow.
Let’s get together. Can you come out for
Lunch on a weekend?
Me and Jenni have a dog that could use a good lecture).

I met Ken in a medium sized southern town not too
Far from some other towns. There were some
Mountains near it, and a piedmont. Bible thumpers
And authentic religious believers lived in the
Nearby spaces of Asheville. There was a motel
Right near downtown Asheville
Where I loved to stay.
I would walk down to the
Bookstore, Malaprops, in the
Early morning of the free day I had
Because my job task in that place was finished
And I could sort of
Fall back into, relax
In a slightly realer place
For a slightly realer time . . .

I wonder if Ken ever visited that bookstore?
Surely he has visited Asheville. His ghost,
Before he was born, visited Black Mountain.
The host, Celan, asked him, did he want to have
A somewhat desperate, or wholly desperate, poet’s
Life. He said “somewhat” and the angel showed
Him a huge, tortoise-like man, who was
Working on some “Maximus” Poems --
And another guy, Creeley, who his
Buds called “minimus” -- get it? “Maximux/minimus” oh
How he hated this kind of blank gossip. Creeley lived
In Buffalo, NY. There were long
Winters there. Why would
Creeley want to teach there?
Why not in some warm subtropical
Zone, you know, full of sunlight and
Endless booze, Jimmy Buffet concerts
Each night down at the Tahitian gazebo
Where with a split lip she wanders up
As if wandering sideways

He had a girlfriend.
They lived in a small apartment.
This was in a medium-sized southern city;
Sort of more like a large town than a city.
Once me and my then-wife walked
Up to the food store and it was right after
A suicide -- a guy had blown his brains out sitting
Upright in a pickup truck right outside
The steely, chilly glass. Now me and my wife are
Divorced; I wonder how Ken is with his girlfriend?
How wonderful and scary this art, this is, remembering.
Ken liked to write poems.
He showed me some of his poems.
I showed him one of my poems.
I struggled the night before deciding
Which typeface poem he’d think was the
Coolest, what with me already being in my 30s
And totally unknown, and assuming my writing sucked --
It is indeed a sort of wonder that anything makes it through the fire.

There was a hilly
Region, on the west
Side of town. Yes, that’s
Right, they called it the West
End. The trees were sparser and higher
There and Godfrey Cheshire illumined
Each weekend, in the Spectator, which
We each went to Chapel Hill to get,
Or he turned secretly and went
Where his own dreams are: dreams he has now
Bavely and seemingly incredulously
Carried another egg through time -- e.g.:

Now he’s over 30 where once I was
Or, could say more idiomatically, where
I used to be -- want to make it be
More realistic, sound more like the
Living . . . Ken had curly hair and
Glasses. He wore shorts -- shorts that
Hung down low nearly past the knees,
With white curly whifts of torn-blue-jean-whiff
And his girlfriend was magnificent
In some vaguely earthly way
It was strange here
Being back
Hey, why
Not tolerate for a while
Being back here
Hey why not
Pretty soon
It’ll say you’re the ghost,
That it is here and. An apartment:

Yellow light

In the squ are windows

(more stupidly) square/windows
More elegantly, highly: “We met once or twice

In that small-sized southern city.
We each had our day jobs,
We each, from time to time, ate
In the enormous phallic belly of the
Bank HQ building (regional headquarters).
Each ate stale clam chowder and mused on
Clinton in USA Today, Murdoch’s latest
Brainwave takeover rag, fingertip-smelt
Oil ink smudge chemical bitterness, spilt gf
Left all wife all over the of the road side

Boxglove and why the word
It’s hill of stress, rhyme, embrace
of alphabet’s beginning, initial cross, and,
in cursive, tell-tale trail – munch
of cereal – boasts and talks of stairmaster,
chain link fences and the occasional stint
as an undertaker. It’s not clear yet –
the middle, yes, but the same is
x’s, y’s, o’s, letters of tree hearts –
line them up with the axe, strike,
wood split into love triangles.

(Rumble, “An Interesting Honeymoon”). Boxglove centralizes the clicked-on appeared
You-figure, the you-cipher there, listening
Us -- trying to grab onto “us,” and escape away from “self.” Boxglove, then, is a sensory hint of the scenery of where the poem has placed us into, very slightly displacing
The otherwise real with its ostensible ideal, just for a second -- never really fully understood, but evocative, nonetheless.

“Cereal” and “stairmaster” are regular morning data among the middle demographic. “Undertaker” fixes a symbol of death like a silver-tipped jagstar crucifix sphinx-tailing (Gudding would say “sphincter-talking, as in,
Swipe, Gloucester -- dragged out
And burning the first places of dessication.
Still, a

Prehistoric bird flew over . . .”). I met
Gudding last week. I met Rumble
This week. Truly my life is
Reft. Blessed by the little sparrows
Not one little pinhead divinity with a blinking
Sense of my name . . .

You know what’s the weird
Thing about it: this is literally the
First time I have read one of his poems.
Right here: as I just cut pasted this
First found google snippet of a poem
Printed in pink Helvetica type at a
One of the numerous littlemags ezines:

Let me read it with you (humor me):

line them up with the axe, strike,
wood split into love triangles.

The second line is a conversion of a particular into an abstraction. This is similar to an effect which is also achieved by bodies walking right in front of a concrete or stucco wall at the precise moment the up61 mbv (medium blast vector)these words
Dangled against babies’ cheeks, as they say,
Les trios network commentators, Hodder tells
Me today, “your work’s not as good
Lately -- why?” Startled, I forget to send
An email apologizing to Qbert.
Miffed off by it, two days later,
Qbert complains about this in
A chatroom with Minzie.
“She’s such a bitch Minzie.
She pees all over the place” -- meanwhile Paul
Sits in the attic upstairs, wondering, when will
I see god, while Vasquez
Reads Whitman or Ginsberg, their
Mostly sort of airheaded, long-breath,
Never-ending Yoko Ono breathing-experiment scenarios
Which are also poured out, decorated upon the void as:

Advance – move past the corners
to tines and tensile strength, a broad
plate like a saucer, like that ET thing,
you know? Like when people do things –
I’m not stupid – I can see you.
Four apples on the ledge, a blind curve
and motorcycles – a fan of wedges
under the rim job you bought and thought
were tires. Peanut butter amoebas –
pale bumps beneath the skin: taken out,
hung on the line, reeled into the sun,
forgotten for days, sat on by birds,
explored by bugs, taut by wind
till it snapped like shot, and worn
Or pomegranate, that repeating
constellation of sugar and nut. And here
the lawyers language at the perception.

(Rumble, “Ha Ha Ha”). I believe certain emotional vectors of this writing have proximity existentially to sayings such as,

Excerpt from John Ashbery interview of his friend, Harry Mathews:

Yes--boiled beef, cold potatoes . . .
HM: I didn't mean the "food"! What was the name of the man who took care of us--Archie?
JA: I think it was, yes . . .
HM: Archie was very kind--
JA: . . . the Mrs. Danvers of the Signet.

(from here).

Looking back
At his own past,
I wonder
If Ken
Sees it
Any of the
Same ways
That I do --
As full of
A fire that can
Neither be
Nor named.

Or is there
Less burning
In his diet?
Has he learned
To eat sunlight
Any better
Than me?

What has he been doing all these years?
What stratagems did he employ to avoid great
Illness, death?

He learned to fly a plane? He dreamed of monkeys?
He lived in an attic? He got thrown out of college?
He lost all his glasses? He started to wear hair?
He never again hung out at the pub down
At the bottom of the West End, the
One with the free-roving dog, I think it was a golden,
And the club, with the faceted glass, across and down
The street from where I sat and ate ice cream once with
A married lady and closely wondered
About her, but was not sure, so
We never did it -- besides it
Would have been awful -- what a terrible
Thing to do to her schoolteacher husband --
He of the square jaw and dopey thoughts
About Cubs baseball, steaks, god knows what;
I lived in a stucco ceiling apartment

At the top of some stone
Stairs cool in the moonlight

And I liked to sit with a Coors
On the porch at night, and write my poems

In a notebook, and then, sometimes on Friday
Nights I’d go on walking up
To the hippie coffeeshop, with
Big plate glass windows, cushions,
Wooden chairs, habitable, the thoughtful
Gay guy who also did paintings, and
Had family money, and took me back to his
Big huge painting loft warehouse
Place and we kissed or something
Or did we? Or was it you? Yes surely
It must have been you, Ken, you who
Sat up later with Yoda, you who
Spent more hours learning the facility of
Sunlight, you who by fleeing closer
To god watched how gravity grew the sun and
Shut it down again if you grinned, etc.

cut grass

I was not the only one
Spread like rain across the last three years

to spend a lot of time listening to
the Magnetic Fields,

since the new year.
And of course you all know

me from the professional rodeo circuit.
SO: Ken Rumble and me *did* know
Each other in that small, medium-sized
Southern city. We asked Brent what his
Take was on the situation. “I can report
To you Tom, that while Anders was doing
Squat these last ten years, Rumble has
Brought enlightenment to
Several thousand needful beings,
Secretly helped NASA save a caught
Extraterrestrial (group decision that
The world could not handle the revelation
Of the aliens -- a secret computer file
The aliens gave to the humans).”

Thanks Tom.



The world could have begun again.
Instead, sleet waited inside of ice.

The citrus didn’t

Fruition was not found.
Summer splendor grew insensate.

The seasons sat, frozen.
The ice cracked and you walk out.



A yellow light
Under the shadow of trees

Across the parking lot
Of a small apartment complex,

In early evening, in a safe
Neighborhood, where a gentle golden

Light falls out of the windows,

In the evening, sausages
Ripen, hung, in the Italian


The reflection of the
Carnival-glass colored
Thin tints of the

Stained glass
With lemonade glass stains
Wet on the wood
Of the newlywed’s house,
Lemon scent from the opened fridge,

A peaceful glimpse of winter.
Homemade candles hung on twine

In Old Salem, with the brick
Smelling of oilstain and dust:

There and only
There: love in confusion


He remembered
Opening the lower
Pane of the kitchen window,

Listening to the neighbor
Dog running around barking at cars
The parking lot now emptier . . .

A great
Silence becoming

Itself in the
Soft living rooms . . .
Coming back into itself, peace, also

Reflected off edges of clean crockery
Only now becoming chosen for the first time
So much later than when they had ever
Expected to have been known and seen,
Long after all around them became death;
Ruins, oddly homey and warm in memory.

Nostalgia for me is New Orleans, Charleston.


As with before, below into behind.
We kicked the walls from the houses
like fury — you remember? — like this,
like so — like so many other times —
you like to watch — watch — every window,
every pane a rock — gravel — a pile
from where they pushed it into foundations —
watch — before trails and bikes and dirt — watch —
we made it — nails, hammers in the gutters —
split beams and piss — drywall punched through —
dirt in the insulation — watch — houses — watched
building — watch — watch — now
the bolt needs tightening —
every coin on a string —
no beast lives
in the beautiful garden



Beasts live
In the beautiful garden

Is what I have been sent to tell you
Says the evil robot at the beginning of the movie

Then the good robot (Kurt Russell) comes up
From behind him and just, like, (it) yanks him
Apart (it) yanks him apart --

The two teenagers recollect various interesting
Aspects of the movie: how the hobbits
Were rendered, the intensity of the volcano
Where the most fearful, secretly most
Powerful area lived, who could actually
And in fact now, it most certainly
Appear he, it, with the volcano
Wetness press in

If or


Despite before above by inside.
Above like from among?
About despite -- before among, above, over,
despite like past, like still. During
down past near around.
Despite through with still, despite
around. Behind during past
except with over. Past over with
despite. Despite down like before
with against. Against from between?
Like from around between. Still
despite like in, out, on, across. Past
still during off? Over out except
inside. Past before around for near
by below. Below about to against despite.


Ken, I’ve got gossip to tell you like you wouldn’t
Believe. It’s been so many years since I’ve
Talked with you. “We lost touch,” as they
Say, those who would deny a deeper
Proximity, one not afraid to take long voyages
Away from ourselves, so we can be each other.
CGI-rendered, the demicop-cyborgs style down
A runway in this awful promo for next season’s
Vaccinated bubblefest. Uncorrected.

Some of the cultures
That have developed
Since we last spoke
Ten years ago
Are weird. Cultures
Where only sex is possible not love,

It’s great owning very expensive cars,
Ones with golden hoods and crystal spinners,

Ones with green circles around brown crop circles . . .
Ones in which Jerry Garcia reincarnates

Robert Kennedy unwipes his
Nose and walks front-to-back in
Grayish parti-colored particles of
Suddenly stopped and reversed time,
The secret of it finally, awfully exposed.
Out of the bones walks backwards Saddam Hussein’s
Son, the evil and drought falling away from him,
Knowledge and realization coming into his mind,
Change draping over him, like a huge, silver-starred
Coat, a mountain, bricks in the hood, crows in the sky.
Which culture was your culture?

Responsibility to tea, to the bag,
the leaf, the noose and its kite,
the tea totaller, the tea time, the tea cup,
the reflection, the because, the where,
the question of location, the bat,

“Slip and imma kill” the fake 50 Cent says,
Who picked the name up off the dead 50 Cent
Like picking a golden coin out of Jesus’ chest,
finger nailing a bloody wall with scales of fortunes,
Indecipherable, coherenced at last, celaush-

Ken it blew my mind tonight to read your stuff.


Pris said...

Hey Jack
I'm gonna have to print this out to read, so have just gone down it to see what's there. Thanks for always bringing such involvement.

By the way, do you and Jenn live anywhere near Black Mountain? It's east of Ashville. I used to visit Montreat, right outside of there, during my teen years. My cousins had a summer home there. That area is wondrous to be in.

anders said...

Yes, I once drove up through Montreat when I was very lonely and depressed, a few years ago. I was looking for any sign of where the Black Mountain School had been, ot the legendary pub where Creeley went every night to get drunk. I found a couple pristine little colleges, but don't know if either one was previously the Black Mountain school. I love the Asheville area. I love the bookstores, the hippies, the beads and ornaments, incense, little christmas lights. I have had some beautiful and also some lonely times in that city.



Ken Rumble said...

Jack! (I still think of you as "John")

I kept eating sunlight because you told me it wouldn't hurt me, my friend -- you were right too even if it does, at times, sting a little....

I'm so happy to be a particle back in your wave.

with much affection,