THE WHALE BROUGHT TO SCALE

Poems written while living in South Korea. Or shortly after. Or much later. But inspired or recollected in tranquility, or not, a few years later. In either case, these are my nomadic surrealist poems from South Korea. They are called Mu (dream) so (window). Available from Poor Claudia (from Portland, OR). Clark Coolidge and Philip Whalen were my spirit guides.

https://soundcloud.com/marcus-slease/mu-dream-so-window

 

The book is available from Poor Claudia over here:

http://www.poorclaudia.org/chaps/mu-dream-so-window-marcus-slease/

A Philip Whalen Mala

A Philip Whalen Mala by the terrific Peter Jaeger. A Canadian poet in the heart of London! It is based on this poem, by Zen poet Joanne Kyger.

  And in his hands
a long wooden string of Buddhist Rosary beads, which he keeps
moving. I ask him which mantra he is doing—but he tells me
in Zen, you don’t have to bother with any of that.
You can just play with the beads

(Joanne Kyger “Phillip Whalen’s Hat”)

 

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.

from Smashing Time! (MIPOesias Chapbook Series)

My chapbook Smashing Time is now available for free (digital version). Thank you MIPOesias.

This book was written shortly after returning to live in London. From 2010 to 2011. Influenced by NY School poets (Kenneth Koch, Bernadette Mayer, and Ted Berrigan mostly). Also the buddhism and writing of Philip Whalen. Also my poet friends Tim Atkins and Jeff Hilson.

Ah we are never alone my friends.

Smashing Time is part of my ongoing nomadic surrealist project.

FREE DIGITAL DOWNLOAD HERE

Cover art by Grzegorz Wroblewski 

Reading a lot of Philip Whalen and Kenneth Koch

Friday night. A week drawing to a close. Indian stomach rumbles again from the buffet. Settling in with some ginger tea and reading some plays of Kenneth Koch collected in The Gold Standard. Leaning over bed in this small North London room to type on laptop which rests on a foldable chair.

Will return to Koch’s play George Washington Crossing the Delaware very soon. NY School Poetry is taking my writing in new directions.

As we all know it is information overload. So much on the internet. Jacket 2. MFA programme grads. it is nice to hunker down with something like Kenneth Koch’s collected and his plays. Focus attention.

Just ordered Philip Whalen’s collected with parent’s gift certificate for 37th birthday. Be here in a month or less. Whalen’s and Koch and Padgett and Mayer are opening me up.

I am weighed by memories. So many lifetimes, identities, experiences, countries. I am finding writing as a way to let them go. See them as me and not me. That flickering between existing and not existing. In short, I am finding my way back to writing as life and life as a practice and that practice ultimately as spiritually but not spiritual in the sense of separate from the body. An expansive spirituality. All encompassing. More a perspective. A mindfulness.

And so it goes . . .

back to George Washington.

He just chopped down the cherry tree . . .

some interesting essays over at Big Bridge (perhaps actually much more enjoyable than Jacket in many ways):

Philip Whalen essays at Big Bridge