Trooper (for Jeremy Eric Tenenbaum)


In La Tazza, a coffee shop in Manayunk,
a stairway led you stiffly into a high-ceiling'd,
Spartan, red-painted basement, where I
wound up with Chris one autumn night
in '97. How Jeremy's group picked us up
I don't know, but we all wound up in an
apartment on Main Street. Everyone was
wearing army jackets; Jeremy was uncharacteristically
quiet. He had already lost control of his
cabal, & blew in the wind. The poems lay,
then, wrapped in a dossier-like presentation,
at Villanova, among other secret files; as they
lay, also, in Jeremy's brain, as tokens that
he once cared to be a real army trooper.

Wolf's Hour: Carnal Apparition Poems


An interesting placement for the Wolf's Hour portion of Apparition Poems. 

The Waiting Room (Heller-Burnham)


Also on Docshare

Saturn and the Issue of Prestige


The pdf Saturn, here on Docshare, includes my first run of books, up to and including Cheltenham. It is sturdily put together, and was uploaded by the folks at Docshare, not me. Moreover, it looks as sturdy as any other e-book, and as likely to last. So...can I include it in my bio? Can I say Saturn (Docshare, 2017)? What is Docshare? This whole congeries of circumstances brings up a salient point about publishing and the Internet in 2017. Until relatively recently, high-level, high-stakes publishing was considered a pretty totalized prestige world. As in, those who were able to publish on high levels were granted the appearance of prestige in the (literary, artistic, academic, humanities) world. Now that the Net has broadened the horizons of publishing, and a publication like Saturn on Docshare can rival prestige online publishers in solidity and the impression of seriousness, what counts in the publishing world, what grants the appearance of prestige, may have to change. Prestige may become more of an eye-of-the-beholder phenomenon than it has been in the past; and I may go with Saturn (Docshare, 2017) in a bio somewhere just to test the whole she-bang.

I posit no boundary between us...


The line in the title poem of Posit (I posit/no boundary/between us) is one I'd like to parse, in reference to what Neo-Romanticism is meant to be in the humanities world in 2017. If looked at objectively, an argument could be made that Modern art, post-modern art, and Deconstructionist literary theory are all largely constituted by a succession of boundaries, and a succession of boundaries effect. In other words, the works of art, and the texts, are a game and a gambit against both intimacy, and the possibility of intimacy, between reader/viewer and creator. Deconstructionism configures intimacy as naive, as both an intention and a possibility, largely through the perceived obtrusion of the arbitrary into language and linguistic significations. Modernity and post-modernity lean heavily on alienation tactics and irony motifs. To get a little Wilde, the importance of being earnest is lost. Yet Deconstructionism must withstand its own contradictions; as Roland Barthes enumerates how we might be seduced by texts, it must be understood that what is seductive in textuality is, in itself, the possibility of writer/reader intimacy; and that intimacy can only be a viable possibility if what is arbitrary in language and balanced and offset by what in language and linguistic symbolization is purposeful (as Wordsworth would have it), and penetrant into the psyche of those who read and experience the text. In other words, scruples aside, language works.

Art works, too. Neo-Romanticism is, in fact, predicated on a belief in the efficacy of aesthetic symbolization, and (specifically), the positing of no boundary between creator and viewer/reader. Neo-Romanticism, on a primordial level (sprung, perhaps, from a ricochet to Philadelphia's buildings), believes in itself, and believes in its audience. Why the Dusie chap Posit, which ten years ago was ricocheting across the country for the first time, was more a statement of intention than I at first perhaps perceived, is because I failed to grasp the underpinnings of the work itself in regards to the primordial compact I unconsciously projected onto it, as I created it; a self-regulated, self-sustaining world of good faith, good intentions, and genial good will towards whoever might choose to read the text. The Neo-Romanticism which was born out of Aughts Philadelphia does, in fact, attempt to take the first person singular and make it genial again. There cannot be a "you," a second person singular, without an "I"; and the significance of poetry's primordial perspective, an "I" addressing a "you," is that it becomes a Heideggerian sheltering device against what might corrupt it from without. The succession of boundaries effect embedded in Modern and post-modern art, the creation of more and more vast distances between reader/viewer and creator, is not an effect Neo-Romanticism finds interesting. Formality is another issue, and off the table here; but, suffice it to say, formality creates the inherent genial good will of a rich relationship to history and histories, continuity of consciousness over long stretches of time. Formality adds levels of richness, rather than impoverishment.

Empty Space: Abby Heller-Burnham