Thursday, March 30, 2006


                    out of          the sanitarium
                    we walked          in backward
                    steps          toward extinction
                                      toward anthropophagia
                                      toward metropolis

because          of the skin
because          of the face
          you are victim          of my           g  a  z  e
                              for me to make
                                    s  o  a  p           and lampshades
                    out of you

               and          t  r  e  e  s          out of umbrellas

books burn          but words remain
like doubloons          in a ship caught
                    in a genoan          f  i  r  e

and into the mouth of a cave i painted by my own hand
i will step

in hunger i came watching the tin witch
crash into a wall of streaming photons
and into the metropolis of glassseapylon

                    can our deformed          b  o  d  i  e  s
                              exist in autonomous margins

naïve primitivism is          an affect
          of the tyranny of our human form
a fact          written in          
                   disappearing          i  n  k

                    as          s  k  i  n          succumbs
to the          fixation of          liquid          l  i  g  h  t
          and          d  i  s  s  o  l  v  e  s          into
                    aggregates of          silver salts

          and          a paper          e  y  e


Terry Lucas said...

I am commenting on this poem out of principle--I believe that the effort of writing and posting poems on this site should be met with the effort of commenting upon them. This text presents me with the challenge of how to read it. I understand art forms that carry that burden with them. It is not an enjoyable for me to have to deal with that burden--however, enjoyment is not a necessary requisite for art. It is interesting and engaging and worthy of posting on this site.

I would be interested, however, in the author's interpretation of how to read the spaced words--are they to be louder? Longer? Spelled out? Also, the white spaces--do they signify silence?

I would enjoy hearing this read aloud, before i commented more.

Thanks for posting this text.

Michael Parker said...
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Michael Parker said...

I too would love to hear Francois read this but I don't agree that it has to be read in order to be understood.

I've read this numerous times since it has been posted. And as Terry noted, it takes effort to read and ponder. But I don't consider that a negative trait. It's rather creative and clever--we have to get inside the narrator's mind, or "get into the character" as my high school drama coach used to say. I think the structure of "metropolis" is well crafted.

I do think that the spaces and indents indicate an unnatural pause or drawl in the sporadic speech or broken synapse of the narrator in "metropolis."

I can read this poem a couple of ways:
1) The narrator in the poem is psychologically troubled, hinted at in the first line: "out of the sanitarium."

Also, consider that the bizarre images/thoughts that rarely linger but quickly morph into other fantastical or disturbing thoughts and images-- "make soap and lampshades out of you;" "trees out of umbrellas;" "mouth of a cave i painted by my own hand;" and on and on until dissolving on the "paper eye."

2) "metropolis" could be social commentary on the craziness of living in the large city and the longing to get back to a "primitivism" that the narrator has painted in his mind with his own hand. Maybe this is a subtle treaty to march back into Plato's Cave.

It's been fascinating considering Francois' intentions.

P.S. I deleted my first comment because I concentrated more on the psychological reading of it and wanted to elaborate more on my #2 theory.

François said...

Where to begin. Well, first of all, thank you for your comments. My latest poems have concerned with the page as a field of composition, something I've been thinking about when reading Charles Olson's essay "Projective Verse," but also Robert Duncan's and George Oppen's work. I'm interested to what happens to the word when it is displayed in a non-conventional manner on the page.

Also, I tend to write in very long sentences and, this is something I've noticed recently, the paratactical and hypotactical constructions, combined with the lack of punctuation and capitalization allow the components of the sentences to be reconfigured. Of course, sometimes I wish a poem could begin with any of the sentences contained.

burning moon said...

Hi Francois, excellent poem.
I really enjoyed your creative use of words and white space, and I love the interplay of themes, which to me read as comments on humankind's apparent drive to devour itself or disappear into madness in the huge cities we insist in living in.
Your poem made me think about a lot of things to do with history, culture and society and where we are headed, whether apparent progress is in fact forward, or merely a side effect of disintegration.
It's been a while since I read something with as much packed into it as this.
cheers for the read.