PageBoy Issue II10 is in its proof stages. There will be proof soon (of errors and oars and the airy outdoors)! In the meantime, here is a word for you:
     Langrage - n. A type of shot consisting of scrap iron loaded into a case and formerly used in naval warfare to damage sails and rigging.
     You have to admit, there is an attraction to misread that. To invent a langrage language that might shoot a load of scrap into the sails and rigging of, say, language itself, or maybe into a more general cultural fabric. Not to destroy, but certainly to alter dramatically. DADA, Gertrude Stein, Joyce come to mind. It's an old aspiration, whose perfection lies in its very impossibility of achievement. That is the odd thing about poets. It's not that they don't achieve, but that they can't, yet continue on nonetheless.
     This is why, in the early 20th century, when Picabia is asked, "Why would you choose painting, when everyone accepts the fact that photography has brought about the death of painting?" he responds: The death of painting is precisely why I've chosen to paint.


All Sores

     "The only inspiration worth having is an inspiration that clarifies the form of what's being written, and that's more likely to come from something that already has a literary form."
          -Northrop Frye (The Educated Imagination)

     One day, while traveling in Taiwan, I visited the home of an old Taiwanese poet. He spoke very little English, and I practically no Chinese. We sipped tea and read each other poems from our notebooks. Neither of us understood the other, though we both nodded enthusiastically on hearing the music of a foreign language used poetically. After each poem, we would discuss in English the nature of that poem's meaning. There was a big window in the living room overlooking what seemed like endless rice fields.
     After I read him several poems, Li Pa asked me quite matter-of-factly, "what do you write about?"
     "Many things," I replied, in the simplest English I could manage. "These poems are all written about words I found in the dictionary."
     He thought about this for a few seconds, then seemed to understand: "You cannot write good poems about words in the dictionary. Good poems are about life." He gestured toward the rice fields outside. "Good poems are out there."
     This conversation has haunted me ever since. Indeed, it haunted me before I even had it. I decided Li Pa was right, and I decided he was wrong. That there is no source for good poetry, it's all source.


PageBoy II 10 Out Soon! / Elevator Music XII

     PageBoy issue II 10 will be out shortly! with poems by Amalio Madueno, Paul Nelson, Emily Beyer, and Collin Tracy, artwork by Natalie Phillips, and an essay on the nature of (non)fiction by Erik Anderson. Until then, here's more elevator music:

Spring Walk

part of a living body may decay
and may aster or wounded pride
rectangular in an irrigable field
where moss and grass and vetch and stone
or the old beheaded cherub statuary
lay in semi-ruinous perfection
it's always something else that's perfect
and the appetites of self-denial
walking there, touching this, touching that
like a child who touches, who sees
first with its skin, birthed into
this inferno of light and gravity
screaming its head off all the while