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John Bloomberg-Rissman

In the House of the Hangman 1523

Their loving similes interrupted the development of cartoon technology
and made it the more likely
abuse of prescription medicines would ensue / In our night rides
as youngest assassins we epitomised an idea
of folkdance as moral philosophy
in which Dream is contemplating itself
learning to dance
under the street
in the gaps between light & clarity tiny birds built their nests
all writing had become a parallel for writing, as gymnastics is to candle wax

Here you can follow the clicks and whirrs
as the wind lullabies them to the shakes
an amnesia for the purpose
of proving a spirit world exists
or the ghosts of horses in old photographs immediately
turning the handle induces the shakes

Who could imagine
an owl driving a Cadillac
or a windfall apple falling
in slow motion
that was in the 1900s
dark mud
brilliantly lit
by blind panic
]. We have a[n] [un]certain

Homicides are on the rise in Milwaukee
tuesday she became ghosts
or a paper lantern
it was later than then
yes they’ll ask questions
to each you’ll answer “becoming brunette”
five kilometres from an ice-hockey stadium
isolatable under experimental conditions
before / it was an excess
of emotion made all the orchestras bleed
every minute or so
a body falling past the window on its way to futurity

A paragraph between the trees

Did you imagine nothing would be like it is

(You stood for hours in the rain
& not one person could get you to speak)
the first witness describes
a quiet day in the countryside
just fooling around
with death & prophesy
it’s not sufficient to place political philosophy
under the microscope of melancholy
melancholy must also
be set to cheerful music
for one season I slept in the hospital
beside my bed wondering
if I’d survive / there’s

& the tiny cuts made to the surface of an eye

Whoever inscribes has inscribed
everyone dreams about language
everyone knows what happens to language
in dreams about language no one
knows anyone’s dreams about language
other than other’s dreams about language. my favourite popular songs are ideal
woundings / official documents
there are no dreams about language
everyone dreams about language
signifies there is no one to dream about anything
other than dreaming about dreams about language
dreams that do not exist / official wounds

Maybe knowing a few things about me
as though fire can’t hurt
them & anyway the moon is gliding by
that is day / break rattling their beads
loomed over by highrises. Every hour she removes a shoe & solemnly inspects
a neat brick & velvet enclosure
appearing from nowhere
spiders in a milk bottle
then i decided i’d put on my most brilliant makeup
my fingernails painted with snail snot
my eyelids heavy with saliva of roses

I’ve packed you in a suitcase
we can go anywhere you want
a rich robe of purple cloud
because you are moving heavy furniture
to the day I was sunburnt all over
the whisper of fortresses
is silkier than forests by
far. slow tears tumble from their TV screens

I’ve cut my left big thumb 3/5ths of the way up
“the river stick
“combat fatigues
“numerological numinousness
“the lonely skylark on its raft
“o mad
last night i found i don’t exist
morning gleams like a murmuring
puma on hallucinogens /
i think i liked the dress with red circles best
that’s why i fear popular music
krazy kat
tristan tzara
la scala milan
policing the internet 
straight up. i always tell the truth
if only i wasn’t locked in your garden shed

In line 1 I spelt canoes incorrectly

“The conquerors’ dogs ripped the victims to shreds”
hey ho
the rabbit hops, the bourgeoisie exhibit fascist tendencies
no one’s here
words over words
burning ghostly
scarring to his legs & torso

Just after halfway cut to a small town in the middle of nowhere in the USA. Two men in suits & a woman in jeans & a T-shirt get into a car. One of the men is eating a hamburger. Tomato sauce on his chin. They argue about who is to drive, at the last moment the woman runs away, the car explodes. Return to Europe

Difficult to imagine how happy the dead would be if only they weren't

In despair they butchered the packhorses. In despair, they butchered the packhorses. The packhorses butchered they

Styrofoam coffee cup so large the entire family climbs inside & their voices echo from some burnt out TV screen gawping at a pigeon as it clumsily, heavily, levitates into a blast of angel machine gun fire, full sory for hys maledye and hys myssease

A terrible land
of moving statues
& unmoving laments

Describe your experiences of semi-invisible architecture
observing the creature it was observed
this early everything is wrapped in oyster

The hastily sketched impression of an outline of a body, smeared into its environment, runs until its lungs are fit to burst
another until
we were no longer there

The image is of Kiki de Montparnasse –
all night valium
code breaker
chopin 24 preludes
1851 erard
crow strut / waddles across the grass
all day valium
the \ ramshackle \ dwelling units
strength / oldest infant on any planet

“I just got up to get her a cup of tea, & she was dead,” replied Daniella. “Who?” asked the pig.” “Ulrike Meinhoff,” Daniella replied. The universe began to snow. In Paradise Haydn began to write a new string quartet

I fucking love this song you said

I said I fucking love it too
a coin tossed heads or tails yet neither

Sometimes I dream I’m a body
with no body attached
down by the river
young men in cardboard hats fish for tempests &
young women in pale yellow dresses solemnly handstand
songbirds sing their songs inside insomniacs’
slumbers. We live nearby the coast

Perhaps you’re just lonely
or wish you could speak French with a Westphalian accent?
where has my lucky word gone?
what will it do
alone? fear echoes pre-echo
beware: never mistake paper hats
for paper boats
ingested it causes
pre-abolition of the past
& pastness of the future

You crawl, naked, into the street, imitating the sound of a hurdy-gurdy’s pre-echo circa 1920. If no one pays you any attention that’s because they’re not there
a consignment of dolls’ eyes
reached the destroyed kitchen
long after each stray
cat had tried its luck elsewhere
the young woman
with cropped pink hair
danced to Wagner’s Liebestod
to be alone. It took what seemed
hours & days to cross the abandoned ground
to read the sign which said

Every time someone uses the word Enlightenment
a seagull bursts into flames

We are walking in the ceiling now, aren’t we, Simon?
the strangest things were happening
now we’d written “i love circumstance”
(golden fish
swam through her eyes)
substitute the word hornet
for a day’s sightseeing in Budapest
a “nice lady” found me, brought me back
for 7 years I lived on the moon & it never stopped snowing, not for a single instant
low cloud over suburban rooftops
it’s sort of OK except
all the rooftops have disappeared

One by one the moons come back out again 

& so it grew dark over the railway yard

& so it grew dark over the railway yard 
... but slowly, so slowly people would think it a shadow of their own thoughts
a rustling of rags, a foot
for ever in motionless motion
kicking a window in
nothing a
sleeps / a nowhere
in particular
the purpose of the machine
is to demonstrate
its non-existence


[Note: i.m. Simon Howard, 1960-2013. Sources: except for one line, a cento made of lines (or in two cases half a line) from each poem or poem-like text posted at Simon’s http://walkingingintheceiling.blogspot.co.uk Walking on the Ceiling, 7 Dec 012 (as close as I could come to one year before his death) – 9 Nov 013 (the final post). Original lineation, punctuation (except at the end of lines), capitalization, etc, is preserved. A new stanza occurs whenever a line begins with a capital letter]

9 December 2013




Copyright © John Bloomberg-Rissman, 2014.