Ron Silliman



Sailing, we went, is loomy air.
                                                             Choices from the
genuine language.
                                     Kill the random, posited the
               Loss of this, loss of meaning.
                                                                          A window I
suddenly enters to open.
                                                   Now I see the themes in
my life.
               Fishing off the small.
                                                          Sea kelp of morning
sprinkled in the east popcorn.
                                                             The bus is not the
way of the sleepers which it work.
                                                                      These are only
random and have no chosen page.
                                                                       Distance in which
meaning bark.
                             This anything, made do, poured
                  The less the definition, the more the exists.

Cruel of grains and saw without circus.
                                                                               Sun trapped
               If the garbage becomes bags, glad distance
becomes rags.
                              Eat to recognition of porridge with
the more reluctance.
                                           All the things which are known

to be true.
                      The crowd is full of stone.
                                                                           The soil of my
little rock.
                      Really as personal, as loss of universe.
Play turtle to snow.
                                        As thing grew older, his idea
hedged into conditions.
                                                 Wax defines struggle in
                  Breath swollen from a long smell of own.


Great wall of morning advances in the east sky.
Each alias pulls his name on, one said at a time.
Walk what you falls.
                                         Floating was more real than the
                  Sealed in a Korea of doors.
                                                                         We advanced
not by mereness, mortality by degrees.
                                                                                 I catalogue
the descriptive of my undefined terms.
                                                                                 The Arbus
loves a Diane that you dissolves.
                                                                   This or the art of
page from the flight of ages.
                                                        The rise of light.
                                                                                          A new
case of attention had deserves in our past.
                                                                                       This fate
brings in the summer death of the destruction.
think fill with what first.

People run to front.
                                         Poem arrived at the small
remorseful village just as the sun worked its way
over the progressions.
                                               There are worked longer
within a thought.
                                   This is the action between
inevitable and guilt.
                                         This is a shirt.
                                                                      The time we put
into the synonymous, the less time we are it exists.
People I rolling is exiting for their sleeves.
strewn order of a books form.
                                                             Asks small boy atop
             This went well through the wall words.
temperature in back of the body.
                                                                    Bicycleriders on
the park on their way to regatta.
                                                                  Ocean calm at


Make words world.
                                       Roller skates as sidewalk sound.
As windowpane of all begins to lapse, sense of
same begins to grow.
                                            The oranges pour onto a
highway the ten.
                                   The billiards edge dark in that
glare of the shadows.
                                           Here sickling cells us.
temperature in the body.
                                                    Words, it is loud a nervous
           You can cause your collective neglect.
and time are not synonymous.
                                                               Any table or bed is
lay on so by its truss.
                                           Learning to play the fear of the
cure, it sleep.
                            I sense a language data.


A kill ghoul kill up out of the brain.
                                                                       This morning,
great east, advances wall.
                                                    Photograph should not
speak suddenly.
                                 The day of today is razor decide.
Criterion of the meaning.
                                                   Said his name was Alias.
Objects are patterns on physical.
                                                                   Not by the weight,
but by the vision.
                                     He lower to sun his rainbow.
Other value words.
                                       The name is not a sentence
                       All the world which are headlines to be
              Bark in the sentences of dogs.


A small existence experience me what I'm
                        Instant and present are merely moving.
As if a truck, the oranges poured over the turned.
Clock exiting the not, not down their act.
                                                                                    Is this a
bird or tree of conversion.
                                                      A black us and a white
         Things based on all is inevitable for those who
known with what they know to be the true.
                                                                                        This rim,
dimly in its spring.
                                      Gray blues and/or day.
mushroom, rose, are a sink of cloud.
                                                                            A new city of
roaches had formed in our stove.
                                                                    The alphabet is
never perfectly proliferation.
                                                             Poems who should to
have the not tend to sit at goals.


This is a smell.
                              A morning without sense, without
shake, without sleeping.
                                                 Room are a brain voice.
Diamond pine.
                               An incoming people is waving
sidewalks to insurgents.
                                                 There was life in see the
themes now.
                           Q-tips morning.
                                                           Experience of
                     Land spaces for an mass of barren there
is in the awesome.
                                      Window open, the world enters
the room.
                     Talking with the room about news.
presence of how season recognize we.
                                                                              How long
does it, did it, take to forget this leper, this then that,


Visits in the dark bars shadows, but thru its doors
the glare of the oceans omitted.
                                                                Field of sky.
is strategy, which is condition.
                                                                The spring is casual
of the language.
                                Pour ten thousand enemy onto a
                    Grandfather would objectify his
expression on the table by the bed.
                                                                        Swamp, its all the
        This is a peach-headed man.
                                                                  Here the trees are
           How do the stasis believe the rest.
                                                                                 Days sign
can haze you to glow your first light.
                                                                           Filling the
loud hum of nervous room in sky and you get blow-
       Concentric pastel circles.


Across a picture with a milky language.
                                                                                 Low fog at
high tide forms rain.
                                          A first habitat, not glow, of
light is the rhesus sign.
                                               What if I canvas coleus is
perfect maze.
                            How do you follow colors.
                                                                                   Steams I'd
        Pen filling the angle of the page.
                                                                         A chance
friend, hushed, meet for the visit.
                                                                     South seal.
Example with a negation made of constituent bites a incorrect man.
                               A Satie as connect and casual as the
                   Miscreants is a context, not a use.
                                                                                         Loss is
the specific freedom.


A house that advanced block, by the house block.
Specific visit of home called former.
steams up off the dream.
                                                  We dream song with fog-
             This is not an incorrect envelope of sealed
              The upstairs is a syntax of coleus, canvas,
real and world.
                               The write need.
                                                               A divining in which
to use the art augury.
                                            This is not urine but a foam of
    As sense of time begins to lapse, sense of space
begins to grow.
                                By one I pull a leg in the pants and
we time.
                 City is our roaches as to what might have
                Angle of the geeks to delight.


The sex hang-up is immense, the barren handguns
                    Difficulty in the prior to shake loose
locating concept.
                                     Ontology is the inventory.
end warm events.
                                    How do we recognize this
presence of a new noise.
                                                  The woman of pigeons.
Language is sensitivity on information.
                                                                                Angle of the
pen to page.
                         Now I read the this in my page.
stood on the sidewalks waving to the incoming,
black-clad fill.
                             A song of warrior.
                                                                  One color, talking
with several parts of the blind, or brain.
                                                                                 Fog forms
to rain.


What do loss form.
                                      The forearm swollen amid
volleyball brings only a long day.
                                                                     Distance becomes
objective by object, obsolete by obsolete.
                                                                                      Made his
wax was matches.
                                     The morning truth falls, the
power merely speak into the city.
                                                                     I coming my
recognition in the self.
                                              In world there are many
                               Grains bowl names nuts.
                                                                                 Small and
block have been the carving of thought.
                                                                                  The body of
the older grew shapelessness.
                                                             The sound of gas is
not in jets.
                      Blow-fly filling the sky of the room.
The pastel of undefined concentric circles.

* * *

Do you value the examination of the political in poetry? If so, what experience(s) taught you its importance?

The simplest answer to this would be one word: Vietnam. But a truer, fuller answer would have to do with my having grown up in one of -- if not the -- poorest families in my community and my having worked for many years with prisoners and as a housing activist with very poor residents in San Francisco's Tenderloin. 

If you write about politics frequently, what issues, difficulties, advantages and disadvantages do you negotiate? Which poets do you draw on when conducting such negotiations?

The Objectivists, Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, my peers among the language poets, esp. Barrett Watten, Charles Bernstein, Lyn Hejinian, Ted Pearson, Erica Hunt, Rae Armantrout, Tom Mandel, Carla Harryman, Kit Robinson, Alan Bernheimer, Bruce Andrews, Harryette Mullen, Jackson Mac Low .... that's a "just for starters" list.

What 'responsibility' does an artist have to artistically engage his or her own politic?

It is like one's sexuality, one's race, one's heart, an aspect of all we do. Either be true to who you are or why bother at all?

In 2008, Horace Engdahl, the secretary of the Nobel prize jury, wagged his finger at American writing saying that "[American writers] don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature. […] That ignorance is restraining." What do you think? How have recent American poets engaged with or neglected the so-called 'big dialogue' of literature? Is this 'big dialogue' a political one?

In part, but so many writers in the US carry the blinders of the hegemon wherever they go. I was very heartened by Engdahl's words, which I felt were quite accurate with regards to the novel.

Is there room for romantic or rugged individualism in political poetry (as opposed to a capacious perspective of Whitman or other past poets)? If so, where is its place?

Rugged individualism is the poetics of Ron Paul—either one recognizes it (and embraces it if one is so inclined) or one denies it (and in so doing ends up being incoherent, a bad state for a poet).

Where do you draw the line between poetry and propaganda? What is the purpose of such a line? Should today's poet be concerned with editorial censorship?

Propaganda is a political poetry of agreement, and tends to have little value over time. 

Censorship is always an issue. This includes self-censorship. 

What are your thoughts on shifts in the state of the political voice in contemporary poetry, from the early modernist to the beat poets and black arts movement, to today? Where are we now? Where are we going?

The poetry of early modernism was for the most part a poetics of elitism and had much to do with the uneven distribution of literacy. That was either gone or anachronistic by 1940, which was over 70 years ago. Those poets who continue in this mode are sad indeed, both as people and to read. But I feel that much of American poetic life has been only minimally better politically since then. One must begin with where one is, wherever that may be. Capitalism fails every 70 or so years (think Kondratiev waves), at which point alternatives flood in from the left (socialism) and the right (fascism), which is exactly where we are today. FDR saved capitalism for two generations by adding a dollop -- not much more -- of socialism. Since then, capital (which is the most powerful social force on the planet) has been eroding its constraints -- having done so successfully, it has plummeted right back into crisis. What worries me most right now is the failure to understand where we are historically and that if we do not stop the ongoing onslaught from various modes of neo-fascist tendencies (of which the GOP has at least three alternative proponents running for president), the American empire -- which has been in steady decline now for 50 years -- will cause this country to look a lot more like the Europe of the past century, complete with division & death camps, than the Grant Wood hologram we were force-fed as children.

* * *

Poem reprinted from 2197, which in turn is a part of The of Huts. Reprinted with the permission of the author. All Rights Reserved. 




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