John Bloomberg-Rissman: From 'With the Noose Around My Neck,' a poem & multivocal collage in progress


the cuckoo is a pretty bird,
she warbles as she flies
The cuckoo is a
- BANG -

                                               — Sean Bonney, The Commons


The earth is currently operating in a no-analog state. In the center of the grid is a glass water pitcher. The pink lightning was branched — I think I mean forked. Instead of these, I was given an insect, a peculiar prehistoric creature, part lobster, part spider, part bell-ringer, part son of a fallen star, something like an armored dog. But of course a


name means nothing to a place


place-names are necessary relations


a name recovered returns the claims of human affection for a place


place-names identify a field of biotic relationships


place-names are allied to habitat restoration


listen to a place-name, hear the dead speak


some place-names follow speech but run counter to meaning


names change when the guard of speech alters


some place-names are all that remain of lost languages


our place-names un-name older names


most people live in places, a few dwell in names


the meaning of a name may go into oblivion long before the name itself


perhaps in the way Dipesh Chakrabarty once said the colonized are placed in a perpetual “waiting room of history.” To wait for what? — For it to get worse? It already is worse. For it to get better? The cuckoo is a pretty bird. I wear a flowery dress to prison and let them shave my head off … I press my hands to the window and hang my head. I know that somewhere in the darkened city there is a silent place where a tiny, frightened animal is scratching at the dust and earth, and it won’t stop until it uncovers some kind of burning rock that will illuminate the entire structure. ‘Fuck. / / Am I smiling [anyway], I think / so?’ Because parts, after all, are always unequal to the whale. I am easily distracted and I like to put clothes on dogs. And nothing moved nothing was moving. Nothing moved. Nothing was moving it was moving but at first it wasn’t going anywhere. That’s right. That room is locked. Is it the same room or a completely different one? We had an


old mattress wed had it for years and the salesman

 wed bought it from had assured us it would last us a lifetime    and it

was getting older and lumpy or lumpy in some places and hollowed out

  in others and    i just assumed it was part of a normal process of aging

 it was getting older we were getting older and wed get used to it     but

  eleanor has a bad back and she was getting desperate to get rid of

this mattress     that had lived with us for such a long time and so

 totally      that i thought i knew all its high points and low points     its

eminences and pitfalls    and i was sure    that at night my body

 worked its way carefully around the lumps    dodging the precipices

and moving to solider ground whenever it could

                                              but maybe eleanor

sleeps more heavily than i do    i have a feeling that i spent much of

 my life at night avoiding the pitfalls of this mattress that i was used

to     and it was a skill id acquired over the ten or fifteen years of this

 mattress’ life     so I felt there was no reason to get rid of this mattress

that had been promised to us by a salesman who said it would last the

 rest of our lives     i figured we were going to live long lives i didnt 

think we were anywhere    close to dying     so neither was the mattress

  but eleanor kept waking up with backaches

          still i figured it was a good mattress and that elly just didnt have

 enough skill at avoiding the lumps      it never occurred to me that the

mattress was at fault     so i didnt  do anything     and elly didnt do

  anything because shes not into consumer products and hates to go

 shopping    but by the end of a year elly convinced me     because she

  has a sensitive back and i dont     that she had a more accurate

  understanding of this business than i did      so I said sure eleanor 

         lets get a new mattress      were rebuilding the house


Every bird perched on an electric line is a reason to keep on going one more day. And every bird that swoops off, flies around in a mad circle, and swoops back down to land, is a reason to love. At a particular moment in time, it seems that the birds are everything. Through all of loss and being lost, there are the birds. The pigeon looks at the ground, its heart at your feet. This is a panel on interspecies communication. Goodbye. Hello. “A wrong life cannot be lived rightly.” And here we are in the dark in general, like snow in von Trier. Do not chew or crush the tablets. In emergency use bus lane. Amazing journeys start here. Restart your heart. Restart your heart. Powered by RoadPilot. LIFE JACKET UNDER SEAT. Tell us ten things, please. These blocks appear to have been arranged to imply relations between the texts, and to distinguish the ‘voices’ of the various contributors. This transcription seeks to preserve these features of the text by maintaining proportionately the left margins as they appear in the assemblage. To avoid ambiguities not present in the original xeroxed text, where it is a straightforward matter to distinguish one contributor’s writings from all the others by the appearance of their distinctive typography or orthography, we have indicated which blocks appear to have been the work of the same contributor by use of alphanumerical identifiers in the form: [A 1, 2 … ], [B 1, 2 … ], etc. Under a blue fog —


PROGRAM MrsGorman (Input, Output);
   Indifferent = 60
   Thursday, Indisposed, Called: BOOLEAN;
   Bed, Chair, Hearth, Fire, Window, open: BOOLEAN;
   Rand, Temperature: INTEGER;
BEGIN {Main Program}
IF Thursday THEN
   IF NOT (Indisposed)
      THEN Called:= True
   ELSE {If Indisposed}
   IF NOT Called THEN Random;
         IF Rand = 0 THEN (Bed)
      ELSE {if Rand = 1then}
      BEGIN {Else}
         IF Temperature < Indifferent
            THEN (Chair and Hearth AND Fire)
         ELSE IF Temperature > Indifferent
            THEN (Chair AND Window AND Open)
         ELSE IF Temperature = Indifferent THEN
            BEGIN {Else if}
               IF Rand = 0
                  THEN (Chair and Window AND NOT Open)
               ELSE {if Rand = 1then}
                  (Chair AND Hearth AND NOT Fire)
      END {Else if}
   END {Else}
END {Main Program} 


For the word is not beneath the earth so that a man says Dig, nor is it in the heavens that a man may tell you Leap. Meanwhile, tourists will stand far outside any clouds of teargas that may appear. It is part of what defines them. They might want a trace of the smell on their clothes, but still it is the avoidance of pain that is the central fact of their collective dream. Nothing will cause them to disperse. They hold maps. Here is the factory. Here is the museum. Here is the hell of stars. And yet … and yet … your flesh is cared for dimly, lots of it cost more per cherub to save up in vats — but that is the logic of risk management in general. Prepare to grow that shit. This is a reminder. From the larynx to the boulder, under groundhog’s grease, from the coagulation to the yellow root in the closet by the fleece. For isn’t the foot one of the most important places in the body? A planet of sand. Sand mountains, sand plains, sand valleys. Sand weather. What if John Calvin had used CBD? “It’s a strange day,” Alysia says, “A green bug in my room & now this mushroom growing in your car.” The analysis, the most comprehensive to date, indicates that animal populations plummeted by 58% between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67% by 2020. This mercy will replace to them near first exactly, as taken from clear at new payment tacit doesn’t reduce the few. Natural as due not meaning to; a cloud, after all is not nothing. The stench here is style. “We know this warmth acts like the life shared by all earth’s plants because when it increases in the spring, plants of all kinds sprout from the soil. They dress themselves in their leafy finery and then in their blossoms and eventually in fruit.” Nevertheless, not all ancient commentators assumed that coughing is necessarily the opposite of soul or meaningfulness. A ninth-century Arabic translation by Thābit ibn Qurra of the Aristotelian compendium known as Problemata physica reflects on the fact that the cough is not universal in the animal world, and indeed might almost be thought to be in some respects characteristic of humans rather than animals: Why is it that some animals cough, while others do not, for example a man coughs, but an ox does not? I wanted to write a poem as good as that one, do you know it? Two graces condescended from the Milky Way and landed in a Stockholm recording studio. They had to put their fingers in it. They had to puncture glass to get at it. And if that glass is the window of a Whole Foods, selah. If you don’t put your nose in it and make it part of you it will only be the meh life not the good life, the Bat Opera, the body mounds. So what you see in these rectangles are OH right OH right I forgot THERE’s the HEADLESS HORESEMEN on a TEEVEE show that will decide if you’re a “GOOD” or “BAD” artist or not … but I DIGRESS, because honestly it would be better to set up some offshore banking account in the Cayman Islands — which incidentally would also surely be a FANTASTIC location for the STARS OF CINEMAROC piece I’d actually really like to do if anyone reading this could FUND that particular project of mine because I know a LOT OF WEALTHY ASS PEOPLE walk though this space. But I digress again because


                        the birds

                           are real



                           bring out






the washers

bring her over

to the table, i’ll

take her head

and you hold her

body, keep your

hands around

her wings, try to

keep her keel

up from the

table with your

fingers — many

of these guys

are very thin.








                                    ok hold

                        on to her lower

                        back there so she

can’t kick herself

off the table, good

job here’s her leg,

let’s keep going, can

you please part the

wings a little with

your thumbs,



I crashed there, you know. In the field where an elf on a sleigh is painted


[Author’s note. With the Noose Around My Neck, the next section of the multi-part work Zeitgeist Spam, is both a continuation of In the House of the Hangman and a (more or less) mirror, “algorithmically” speaking, of the previous section, Flux, Clot & Froth. So I’m going to “unpack/sample” my library, and will at the same time also sample whatever comes into my RSS feed, as well as any downloads, emails, overheard conversations, the news, TV … and whatever else presents itself as appropriate. And mash it all up. As with all of ZSNoose will be composed in sections, which are designed to disappear into one seamless work. It will last as long as Trump and the aftermath.] 


[Sources: The cuckoo … BANG –: Sean Bonney, The Commons; The earth … no-analog state: Amsterdam Declaration on Global Change, 13 July 2001, quoted in Ian Angus, Facing the Anthropocene: Fossil Capitalism and the Crisis of the Earth System; in the center … pitcher: CA Conrad, “Spider Symbiosis: Time With Freya,” at So(ma)tic Poetry Rituals, 23 Oct 016; The pink … forked: Bhanu Kapil, “Notes for a novel not yet written: BAN”; Instead … dog: Brigit Pegeen Kelly (RIP), “ISKANDARIYA,” quoted in John Keene, “Poem: Brigit Pegeen Kelly,” at J’s Theater, 3 Apr 08; But of course: JBR; a name means nothing … before the name itself: Alec Finlay, “A Poem of Namings, from Gaelic and Norn,” quoted in Jerome Rothenberg, “Alec Finlay: A Poem of Namings, from Gaelic and Norn,” at Poems and Poetics, 24 Oct 016; perhaps in the way Dipesh … shave my head off … : JBR, as remixed by Lynn Behrendt, “I Haul I Haul I Touch Myself,” in A Picture of Everyone I Love Passes Through Me; I press … I think / so?’: Sean Bonney, “Letter in Turmoil 14 / Note on the Hallucinations,” at Abandoned Buildings, 13 Oct 016; Because parts … whale: Rod Smith, blurb for Brandon Brown, The Good Life, at Big Lucks; I am easily … clothes on dogs: Jenny Lawson, “Dorothy Barker is more graceful than any of us, really,” at The Bloggess, 23 Oct 016; And nothing moved … different one?: Ken Edwards, a book with no name; We had an old mattress … rebuilding the house: David Antin (RIP), “the theory and practice of postmodernism—a manifesto,” at; Every bird … interspecies communication: Janice Lee, “Interspecies Communication,” at Entropy, 25 Oct 016; Goodbye … lived rightly”: David Grundy, The Problem, The Questions, The Poem, and Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia (tr. EFN Jephcott), quoted in Lisa Jeschke, “Lisa Jeschke on David Grundy’s Poetry,” in Sundial [Compleat] 2016 (ed. Richard Owens); And here we are … von Trier; Ian Heames and Jonty Tiplady, “from Sonnets,” in Sundial [Compleat] 2016 (ed. Richard Owens); Do not chew … ten things: nick-e melville, “Lyrical Commands”; please: JBR; These blocks … [A 1, 2 … ], [B 1, 2 … ], etc: “Editorial Notes,” in Certain Prose of the English Intelligencer (eds. Neil Pattison, Reitha Pattison, Luke Roberts), Second revised edition, 2014; under a blue fog: Samantha Walton, Amaranth, Unstitched, in Sundial [Compleat] 2016 (ed. Richard Owens); PROGRAM MrsGorman … END {Main Program}: Samuel Beckett, Watt (tr. Hugh Kenner), quoted in Reynard Seifert, “HyperNormalisation,” at HTMLGIANT, 26 Oct 016; For the word … tell you Leap: David Brazil, “The Method,” in Sundial [Compleat] 2016 (ed. Richard Owens); Meanwhile, tourists … hell of stars: Sean Bonney, “Letter in Turmoil 16 / Further Notes on Teargas,” at Abandoned Buildings, 26 Oct 016; And yet … and yet … : Issa; your flesh is cared .… management in general: Joe Luna, “Save Lots,” in Sundial [Compleat] 2016 (ed. Richard Owens); Prepare to grow ... by the fleece: Justin Katko, “With Only the Handle Visible,” in Sundial [Compleat] 2016 (ed. Richard Owens); For isn’t the foot ... in the body?: Linda Mary Montano, “The Performance Of Montano’s Shoe Store: Linda Mary Montano 2000/2016,” at Linda Mary Montano, 26 Oct 016; A planet ... sand weather: Don DeLillo, The Names, quoted in dmf, “I can’t get the Empty Quarter out of my mind,” at -synthetic zero, 26 Oct 016; What if John ... CBD?: JBR; “It’s a strange ... car”: Steve Abbott, “It’s A Strange Day Alysia Says A Green,” at README; The analysis ... 67% by 2020: Damian Carrington, “World on track to lose two-thirds of wild animals by 2020, major report warns,” at The Guardian, 26 Oct 016 (I don’t mean to mitigate this in any way, but somehow the headline writer and the author have conflated animals and vertebrates); This mercy ... meaning to: JH Prynne, “Infusion,” quoted in John Armstrong, “Clarifying Difficult Poetry: Infusing with JH Prynne. Again”, at Arduity; a cloud ... not nothing: Simon Jarvis, “Why Rhyme Pleases, quoted in John Armstrong, “Simon Jarvis’ Jerusalem Deleted and Long Difficulties,” at Arduity; The stench here is style: nick-e-melville, Alert State is Heightened: an imperative imprimatura; “We know this warmth ... eventually in fruit”: Emanuel Swedenborg, Divine Love and Wisdom (tr. George F. Dole); Nevertheless: JBR; not all ancient ... ox does not: Steven Connor, Beyond Words: Sobs, Hums, Stutters and other Vocalizations; I wanted to ... good life: Brandon Brown, “The Last Words of Gerard Manley Hopkins,” “The Good Life,” in The Good Life; the Bat Opera: JBR, reference to a series of paintings by Marvin Gaye Chetwynd; body mounds ... digress again because: AL Steiner, “Total agential realism, rad aleatory abstractions: Art + Porn/On Robt. Heinecken,” and “Welcome to My Rectangle,” at Hello my name is A.L. Steiner, and “Portfolio by A.L. Steiner,” at BOMB, 28 Oct 016; the birds ... thumbs, yes: Laura Corsiglia, How to Handle a Bird; I crashed ... sleigh is painted: Tomaž Šalamun, “On the Tracks of Wild Game” (tr. Sonja Kravanja), in Currently & Emotion: Translations (ed. Sophie Collins)]