Upsidedown Poem (After Robert Grenier)

Upsidedown Poem (After Robert Grenier)


I discovered Robert Grenier’s Penn Scans (71 drawing poem images presented at the Penn’s Kelly Writer’s House in October 2009) online a few weeks ago at work on my lunch hour and was delightfully mystified. I tried several “drawing poem images” immediately that I liked at the time, but then in retrospect, looked completely horrible (one sort of mined the same ground as Neter’s “Witches Head”, but with words). They’re lost somewhere in a pile of papers. Maybe someday I’ll find them and like them and post them.

But a few weekends ago I was trying to explain Grenier’s Penn Scans to Carol and quickly tried to sketch an example for her of what I was talking about.

I looked at what resulted and the first thing I did was to flip it upside down. I actually found the poem more aesthetically pleasing upsidedown. This is the poem above.

Click here to see Robert Grenier’s Penn Scans online at Whalecloth Press

Click here to see Robert Grenier’s notes on the pieces.

The pa{s}t in(st)[ru(c)ts)] {;} the {pre}sent

The pa{s}t in(st)[ru(c)ts)] {;} the {pre}sent
gum{my} blot{ch|| an ease|me(a)nt |
\\ in {y}ears pa:s:t [in the pa{s}t]
{in} the \ea\stern {h}ill +fo+rests
/**** i Hop/p/ed an(d) !hono!red [{s}ta{m}ps]
press{ed} boar|d b|ox
as :t::he: {m}:or{:ning} {:h:}ours
in{t}rod{uc}e{d}
the ide|a ****/
\t\hat it s{h}o{u}ld be pos{sibl}e to [com||b]in||e
Rub{b}e|r| {Moun}ted {V}an {W}in||dow||
Bon[d{e]d} V{an} W{in}dow//
and !A! {t}ra{di}tional s|ardin|ian {b}limp
a|s a {res}cue plan|e
to be {d}rop{p}ed
in
a {har}den{ed} c{ont}a{i}n{er} be|hi{n}d|| {ene}my line|s
{dis}::|g::||U{|i|}::SED as an A{m}B{u}[L{anc}E]

Ten Ten Word Summaries of Ten Word Summaries

Ten word summaries are as described – limited to ten words.

Ten word summaries generally offer brief descriptions or short overviews.

Ten word summaries boil things down to their very essence.

Ten word summaries give only the highlights and eschew details.

Ten word summaries focus on the big, Big, BIG picture.

Ten word summaries can be used to simplify complex ideas.

Ten word summaries sometimes not full or complete sentences.

Ten word summaries – useful when limited space to convey information.

Ten word summaries – ideal for readers whose time is precious.

Ten word summaries will disappoint readers looking for exhaustive detail.

The Hardy Boys – The Mysterious Caravan – Chapter 1 (no. 1)

they advertised no storms
in the beach house

they gave a fluttering light
for several seconds
before expiring

Now in total darkness,
trying to be heard above the screaming,

“Feel this swaying, it’s dancing the calypso.”

“All we need now is a plagued thing
a flashlight
a front window
a few seconds in a deep trough
a pounding
the whistling gale, the lights
a victim we might be able to rescue
a year in The Tower

The velvet sky backdrop for branches
giant spiders seeking refuge from rain
each gurgling wave, the possible
the strung out sea
a dance ahead

palm trees bent
an object lying to timber
a crack, the nothingness
the branch, the rise,
the rocking to and fro

the others skinned
a change of things.”

No answer.

“Listen. I remember.”

“here”

“Where”

“Who knows”

a shiver of fear
sucked in

the raging sea
surely drowned

We’ll have to put damp clothes on again.


poem composed by blacking out text in Chapter 1 of “The Hardy Boys – The Mysterious Caravan” then putting the remaining text into lines and stanzas.

I’d like to get a copy of the real book and do the same thing, but keeping the text in situ.

I’m also thinking of attempting to do the entire book in a fashion similar to Ronald Johnson’s “Radi Os”, in which he used the technique on Milton’s “Paradise Lost.”

Actually, redacting the redacted poem, I sort of like:

no storms in the beach house
dancing the calypso

“All we need now is a plagued thing
a victim we might be able to rescue.”

as an alternate

Update: Chapter 2 is posted here.

The Riddle of Tom Busillo

Tom Busillo is the prevailing mystery in the work. Tom is an enigma. We have almost no clue of his origins or his fate, his purpose or even what kind of being he is.

This piece makes no attempt to provide a definite answer to the “Tom Busillo Problem” – it’s very unlikely that a definite answer is possible. What we will attempt, though, is to round up the more common suggestions and discuss some of the arguments for and against each.

There are two real approaches to the problem of Tom’s identity: we can try to fit him into the cosmology of the universe or can view him more broadly as the “mischievious outsider.”

1. Busillo Within a Cosmology
Our universe is inhabited by a multitude of races and beings: our problem is that what we know of Tom does not fit easily with any of these. He seems almost to have been “transplanted” from elsewhere.

In fact, this is almost certainly what happened.

Though there are many candidates to choose from, we can at least dismiss most of these immediately. Tom is definitely not a Hobbit of a Dwarf, and we can also take it for granted, for obvious reasons, that he is not an Orc, a Troll, a Dragon or an Eagle! But this still leaves plenty of possibilities:

Is Tom an Elf?
Tom’s capering, his wisdom, his great age and his love of song undoubtedly give him a certainly “Elvish” quality. This possibility though, is easily disproved.

Is Tom a Vala?
A common argument against this is that we know the names of all the Valar, and Tom isn’t among them. This doesn’t hold water, though, because we’re specifically told that the Valar had many different names.

It isn’t inconceivable, then, that Tom is one of the fourteen known Valar, dwelling incognito – though we can’t be certain.

There are many other arguments to be made both for and against Tom’s status as a Vala. For a more detailed discussion of this topic, and some more concrete conclusions, Eugene Grovehar’s fascinating essay “Who is Tom Busillo?” is strongly recommended.

Is Tom a Maia?
This a very common suggestion, to the extent that it is sometimes treated almost as “fact”. There is, though, no direct evidence for this – it seems to be based on the idea that since Tom can’t be a Vala, and there is no other possibility, he must be a Maia.

Is Tom Iluvatar Himself?
Tom’s powers are apparently limitless, at least within his own domain, and this has led a lot of people of suggest that he might be none other than Eru Iluvatar himself.

In fact, though, this is one of the very few theories about Tom that we can bring to a definite conclusion. Tom and Eru should not be confused.

There is no embodiment of the One, of God, who indeed remains remote, outside the World, and only directly accessible to the Valar or Rulers. If there is no embodiment of the One (that is, Eru), then Tom cannot of course be such an embodiment.

Is Tom a “Spirit”?
The idea that Tom might be a “spirit” (as opposed to a Maia or Vala) is certainly possible. It is a short step from this to the idea of “spirits of nature”, but a much longer one to “spirits of nature” that wear yellow boots and live in houses.

Whether Tom is a creature like a brownie, fay, pixie or leprawn, though, is open to doubt.

2. Busillo as the “Mischievous Outsider”
It seems clear that, within the cosmos to which he belongs, Tom cannot be classified with any certainty. Outside that cosmos, though, we can at least reach some firmer conclusions (and offer some freer speculations).

The particular aspect we address here is the role of the “mischievous outsider”. This refers to a god or other being who in some sense does not “belong” with the others. Such characters may be meddlesome and irritating, but more usually they are simply jolly, frolicsome creatures. Examples are Bes, the Egyptian baboon-god and the eastern monkey-god variously called Hanuman or Sun Hou-tzu.

Is Tom Busillo a “mischievous outsider”? He is certainly “mischievous” (or, more precisely, joyfully unconcerned with the world at large), and he is emphatically an “outsider”, in that he doesn’t fit easily with the rest of the universe.

Conclusion
There is only one answer to the riddle of Tom Busillo: that there is no answer. Though we’ve presented some of the evidence here, this piece does no more than dip beneath the surface. It seems, though, that Tom’s nature is ultimately undiscoverable, and this is surely a good thing.

If nothing else, Tom Busillo stands proudly as a symbol of the mysterious, and we should be glad that he does.


This piece is an altered entry from “The Encylopedia of Arda” (an INCREDIBLE site on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien written and maintained by Mark Fisher) for “Tom Bombadil: The Master” in which I inserted my name in place of Tom Bombadil’s, deleted various sections, and made minor text modifications.

What you may or may not see in the excerpted text above, is that the original essay itself is a REALLY amazing piece of Tolkien scholarship and is a fascinating, fascinating read – even if you’re someone like me who read “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy what seems like many lifetimes ago. I encourage Tolkien fans and even non-fans to read it here.

In using the text, I mean no disrespect to the author, Mark Fisher, and I’m not attempting to poke fun at Tolkien or Tolkien scholarship.

I’m trying to say something about identity and self-identity and how we choose to think about each on a number of different levels.

Catullus VIII (no. 2)

M. Katt
You’ll do a desk in time
You’ll do an inept and lonely tire

You ate our videos
Pursued our pears
Did ’em their due

Cast it out full sear
one damn candid tidbit
ten souls come to vent in it –
a base known pure and empty by Aladdin

– An adduced bat aimed at a knob is quantum
So you say.

I’m a bit of your null set
I’ll be still inside that multitude

I’ll be ill inside a lime tutu
a tumid lute
or a dying tumult

come I owe you cozy fire
bands, banter
ways to ease the volleys past
vestal ploys and valley tops
valley spots and tally hops
slaves plied to salves plied to
Vail’s vale sly stop

all the vests are lo-ply
all vets fly loops on the sly

(nice pull
molebat
full, sure,
very candid)

It can be tied only by two souls.
Never one.
Never none.

See I am ill. A non volt.
Two croaks left – both unimportant.
An alignment, an ailment
A Valentine’s limo on blocks.

On the wooden deck of the quay
fudge insects, those necklace survivors,
stayed obstinately
for hours after the final “amen”

We ourselves, prefer to endure.
Vale, pale, pull.

I am Catullus.
My obdurate neck
requires Velcro
to close it right.

Invited in the AM at two
the rolling bus comes
to Rogue bearing null
tests of fate, benches made
of teak, then away, away, away

Be a man?
(Nasal veto)
Be the keys to the nuns tea?
(add a bit of curve,
deeper resolve)

– Chemical nuns are a biscuit excuse
– Excuse us?

He sees the dice rise
Sees chemically-based alibis
Seize you in labels lame, more mordant

Attitude cat, you’ll throw destiny at us
in an oblong door.


A homophonic translation of a poem by Catullus, with additional words and fugues added. Actually based on the same poem as yesterday.

Sonya (as the Sum of Her Selects)

Adult Single Parent with Child(ren)
Working Woman
Number of Generations in HH: 3
Senior Adult Present
Homeowner/Renter: Renter
Date of Birth (MMYYYY): 091976
Education: High School Diploma or Equivalent
Ethnic RollUp Code: H
Country of Origin: Honduras
Religion Code: RC
Apparel – Children’s
Apparel – Women’s – Petite
Beauty and Cosmetics
Children’s Learning & Activity Toys
Cooking – General
DVDs/Videos
Education Online
Games – Video Game Console
Gaming – Lottery
House Plants
Music – Avid Listener
Pets – Cats Owner
Reading – Audio Books
Reading – Religious/Inspirational
Self Improvement
TV Reception – Cable
Intend to Purchase – HDTV/Satellite Dish
Presence of Bank Card
New Bank Card
Credit Card User
Mail Order Buyer
Mail Responder
Retail Activity – Date of Last Activity – 20110114
ValuePriced General Merchandise
Health – Disabled Individual in the Household
Health – Senior Needs
HighTech – PC Owner
HighTech – Operating System – Windows XP
Teletrend – International Long Distance User
Intend to Purchase – Vehicle


“Description” of hypothetical individual(s) using data select categories for “consumer data selects” sold by marketing list/data broker USADATA.

Performance Predictability Personality Index

1. Circle all the words that describe how you believe people expect you to act.

obedient
foolish
slothful
paranoid
indignant
biblical
artful
agreeable
doe-eyed
utilitarian
winged
mastigophoran
fuzzy
diligent
pure
quinonoid
congenial
conjoined
iodous
remodeled
florid
endless
unguinous
able
demoralized
gamosepalous
disastrous
improper
handy
engraved
empty
dodecahedral
epigrammatic
haggling
isostatic
booze-soaked
incalescent
dogged
iconic
fidgety
ill-equipped
collapsed
truthful
furious
myriad
delighted
groundbreaking
callow
venose
bumbling
intelligent
drugged
puzzled
elegant
experimental
underachieving
gentle
cytologic
unusual
creamy
chosen
ideational
pyrogenous
scornful
decomposed
sickly
cursed
nice
cartilaginous
pushy
moody
exalted
servile
unkempt
oaken
hardbound
stipendiary
sissified
reboant
rebellious

2. Circle all the words that describe how you act.

puzzled
fidgety
congenial
delighted
florid
unkempt
engraved
utilitarian
empty
venose
cursed
groundbreaking
obedient
isostatic
slothful
paranoid
unusual
booze-soaked
gamosepalous
creamy
diligent
iodous
collapsed
agreeable
endless
unguinous
able
demoralized
improper
handy
scornful
foolish
artful
quinonoid
stipendiary
sissified
haggling
elegant
reboant
fuzzy
incalescent
ill-equipped
truthful
myriad
iconic
callow
bumbling
pure
winged
disastrous
epigrammatic
indignant
rebellious
doe-eyed
hardbound
intelligent
mastigophoran
drugged
sickly
experimental
conjoined
underachieving
gentle
cytologic
remodeled
chosen
ideational
pyrogenous
furious
decomposed
dodecahedral
dogged
biblical
nice
cartilaginous
pushy
moody
furious
myriad
delighted
callow
bumbling
servile
oaken

Questionnaire (no. 2)

1. I am ____________________ .
    a. more Sam Spade than Maltese Falcon
    b. more Maltese Falcon than Sam Spade

2. Could ghosts destroy a family the way that evil spirits did George and Kathy Lutz?
    YES / ABSOLUTELY

3. Are you one of the gems which link to the computers?
    YES / NO

4. It is possible that the protocols are corrupted?
    a. all of the above
    b. red

Questionnaire (no. 1)

1. You will probably notice an enormous, copper-colored torch.
    YES / NO

2. I would rather arrive ___________ .
    a) from the North chased by sharks and giant squid
    b) from the South with a bad case of “The Glowies”

3. I am more fearful of __________ .
    a) a beetle which can bite through sheets of lead, silver, copper, or zinc.
    b) Scientific Telephone Samples

4. If there were a spectator sport in which a human body bundled in furs was being bounced off a wall like a handball what would the people in the stands handing out the complimentary copper disks the size of saucers be wearing?
(describe in the space below using no fewer than 500 words)