Monday, August 15, 2011

Two Poems by Dereck Clemons


Brooklyn starts to unravel as soon as the
cameras roll. The wheels roll. The bus

Gorgeous in a tight black bodysuit, a
regular shimmers across the stage. A
man in the front row launches himself
into a kinetic leveling of evidence to the
contrary: he waves his feet, his arms.

There are more, actually, says Mrs.
Rubin, thumbing through a dozen
laminated sheets. Mrs. Rubin begins
dancing gleefully within minutes.

What makes her to stick both hands into
applause, which she calls a gas fire
glowing in the fireplace.


Lag in battle. Do the heavy lifting. The
American military effort in the not-too-
distant future wrestles into scenes of
contest, observed over eight days by two
New York Times journalists.

Not long after, the two were seen being
microwaved during a standoff on Feb.
12. Their unpublished novel spreads
throughout the world, causing pregnant
women to miscarry.

A simple warning that she could, she
felt, her patterns, or fabrics clumped
together into Karen Carpenter, who
balances a cup in the hallway, in the
night, on its saucer, heading back to the

The effect forces the childish millions to
remain out of work, out of savings, & to
face the end of the comforts of middle-
class life—who are now in their lives,
potentially for years to come, selling
beauty salon equipment.

Dereck Clemons is in San Francisco with Wendy Trevino & he writes poems using material from the newspaper in this 1 page:1 poem limit thing. That bulk of data (in each of these prose blocks of phantom collage sentences) becomes a board across which the continued work of expansion, abridgement, switching, & transferring occurs, or where performance occurs. To be sure, the poems telescope in & out or up/down a continuum of lyric & narrative & transparent subjects, more trope-related stuff, or equally w/r/t to scheme stuff, or word arrangement as such, so some end up going through cycles of repeated phrases, let's say, very opaque, while others enact more continuous-seeming narrative threads. They're all, though, employing very similar patterns, regardless. Similar behaviors. It seems like what I'm describing is an observation of rhetoric, of how those four operations I mentioned might do fantastic things w/ narrative & DO fantastic things to us, right now, all the time. Otherwise, the poems are concerned w/ audience & our entire lives as in-audience to countless stages or platforms that, while contrived by not-us, are still where we find ourselves dealing w/ ourselves & w/ each other. The Spectacle, which is truly entertaining, is able to subsume into Performance an audience ever more thoroughly at these key points, where reason is being pivoted around on itself--the aggressive, finite actions of the Spectacle--so the poems try to concentrate on that. So the first 10 pages of Guy Debord's Society of the Spectacle, basically.