from Valencia to Katowice


In old stomping grounds of Katowice, Poland after 10 days in Spain. Valencia, Barcelona, Alicante. I will never visit Alicante again. It was a wasteland of thousands upon thousands of tourists, bright lights, consuming frenzy, over priced bottles of water. Everyone looking for a quick Euro. Lots of ripping off. Ripping off might be ok if I had extra dough to rip off and the other folks needed it more. Whatever. The game is rigged from the beginning. What is the game? Capitalism? I am not sure I know what that word means exactly. But yeah. Competition. Keeping power in the hands of the few while the rest of us lose a lot of our humantity in slaving away in cubicles and then fighting each other for the scraps from the master’s table etc etc.

Alas, I am in Katowice. Things are nice and slow here. Simplier. At least when visiting and staying in the home of a nice family. It was different living here with sometimes no friends or internet or anyone to talk to and feeling like everything was sinister after getting beat up by a Russian mafia man at the entrance to a place called Spies.

I will never visit Spies again.

Tonight I am going to Kato. Kato is a place to hang. A pub. Meeting two old friends from 4 (maybe 5) years ago.

Still processing Spain. Always wondered about Spain. I need to see more of the other parts of Spain. Maybe Granada.

Valencia rocked my socks. A lot. The hostel in Valencia is called Low Cost Valencia and it rocked my socks. Best hostel I ever stayed in. Met lots of fellow travelers there. Went to uni area with some of the fellow travelers one night. Sat down at 1 AM until 6AM in a big circle while fellas came by and sold us two beers for one euro. It was a nice circle. It was nice bud too. There were anarchists and communists and dog lovers and old time punks. Serious punks. Some good street art.

Ever word I type on this Polish keyboard is highlighted in red because I am typing in English. It is hard to see if I am mispelling. Mis spelling. HA! Drinking Turkish coffee in a place called Manhattan Estate in Katowice. It is not Manhattan. It is maybe Queens. It is not Brooklyn. It is a tight estate. It best to hang with the locals when you come to the estate. I like this estate. It feels sort of like a second home.

Time for a smoke on the balcony of the estate. The temperature dropped yesterday from almost 40 degrees celcius in Spain to 20 degrees celicius in Katowice Poland. That’s a drop from about 102 degrees F to 60 degrees F.  And some cold rain in Poland.

The sun is rumored to return by the end of the week. 

christmas day 2011


Spicy frozen pizza for Christmas dinner. A 4AM taxi pickup to Heathrow on Boxing Day. London-Paris-Salt Lake City. Drinking Melissa Tea. It was my favourite tea when I lived in Poland. I have finished The Fertility Show (formally Nerve Movie). Sent it off to a publisher or two. Will have to wait a few months.

The Fertility Show takes it cue from Phillip Whalen’s idea of a nerve movie and Bernadette Mayer (esp Midwinters Day). Written during my daily 3 hour commute on the London underground. It is a poetics of everything. Inside and outside. Biographical, narrative, expansive poetics, compact lyrics, NY School send offs, homophonic translations of Polish and German from overheard conversations on the Piccadilly Line etc. etc.

A poetics that attempts to narrow the gap between art and life. I don’t see any other point.

Another Godzenie (with many many more strategies, modes, attempts to reconcile). A practice in mindfulness.

The poems are written on the tube in London but “take place” in Poland, Turkey, London, Milton Keynes, Las Vegas, North Carolina, Bellingham/Seattle.

A continuous nerve movie.

The other manuscript Smashing Time is also finished.

Now I will continue part two of a manuscript I started last time I was in America. It is called Spanish Fork.

My poetics is a travel poetics. But not in any narrow sense of the genre of travel writing. Orally based But not bardic.

It is also a kind of surrealism.

Let’s call my life project a nomadic surrealism. If it has to be called something that is maybe the closest. There are of course various other elements.

It lives much more off the page than on (methinks). The rhythm of everyday speech is very central.

hm . . . . and the slippery mind . . . quicksilver . . .

I dabbled heavily in flarf in 2004. I dabbled heavily in conceptual poetics as well. Surrealism and political poetry were the entry points into writing poetry.

Now it is many many things. But mindfulness is especially central. And an expansive (rather than constricted) sense of the self and the world.

review of Godzenie


Nice review of Godzenie in Goodreads. Kept meaning to post it. Thanks Fish.

Fish’s review Oct 13, 09
bookshelves: transculture

Finally got a copy of this in Japan. Read it almost immediately! Here’s part of what I wrote in my journal immediately afterwards:

Still processing but:

A. It is full of truth moment coins, singular phrasal objects– the units, it would seem, of his poems. At times these beauties are rough and bring the larger object out of focus– its jarring at times, but that, at least in [Block 7A:], the fact that there is such consistent play (and to whatever degree this “play” is controlled) may be a clue to help understand Marcus’ project at least in a rudimentary, structural way… I lost myself just then thinking about mortgage brokers in the early 2000s drinking expensive liquor with b-list celebrities.

B. Lets see– other than the presence of these truth coins that Marcus Block 7A is full of, there is def. some prankishness– a quality, a sense of humor that attracted me to Marcus’ writing initially when I met him in Spring & Summer 2004 or 2005 I guess it was. It’s not just a clever-ness, but its still very boyish at times– playful– there’s that word, ‘play’ again. Some of his truth beauty coin moments are mixed/ spring from a sort of teenage giggle-snort kind of entertainment value– “clubbing a fish in the bathtub” or “cum” or splattering bird poo. It’s distinctly silly at times and charming.

C. I want to say something about the connection to place. The section title page locates the poems in a town in Poland. And each iteration of Block 7A seems to further flesh out some otherwise stale, numerical place that could just as easily be a prison cell block as anywhere. That each successive Block 7A is labeled as such gives the sense of a recycling motion, an elastic piston-turn back and back and back to BLOCK 7A. If these are successive visits are they attempts towards some goal? Are they a full realization of BLOCK 7A, or are we supposed to read an elipsis at the end fo the section? As the next section moves to a new location (or at least a new name– the Hotel Diament– perhaps alluded to in BLOCK 7A as the “Diamond Hotel” or something– it seems unlikely that what felt like continuous returns to BLOCK 7A would be resolved or actually continued in any clear or meaningful way.

D. Joe Donahue in a blurb says that (and I’m paraphrasing here) uses Poland to access a poetics. I believe that Joe knows what he’s talking about. But I’m not sure this poetics is fully activated until the final section of GODZENIE. I want to read through section one again with an eye out for some certain clues dropped in section three regarding the connection between WHERE these poems are and HOW these poems are. HOW does Marcus extract a poetics from a study of some place? How? And how can I– how will I? A compelling read and re-read!