Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Notes for Resisting


She wondered where playing went – I wanted to say I will play with you – but I just looked at her thinking about the word playing - thinking about playing with her - wondering had I ever learned how to enjoy playing with others - I am the first to stop playing so that I can walk away – look back at where I was and think about this over there – which is why playing with a ball allows for such freedom and distance – reaction time

Lost in the country – playing with words – I withdraw and descend to where the poem ends – then climb a difficult joy – I asked her - what was the book about and she answered – and I heard her – now we know how to use it properly - perhaps we are always face to face with what a text says and what we want it to say

The books I like crack the world open – kill everything in sight – rescue the small ones and escape with or without you – The word dwell takes up a great deal of space – it is hidden in a forest somewhere – we know such places from here to there – a sort of non-location – that is known

Outside I am told we are all alive – and worth knowing – when the letter H finishes it makes a sound and folds down into an X

3 lines for H

It is morning and we may move freely

2 lines for X

At night we remove the crossbar that holds the lines open

4 lines for E

When we dream we encounter the other line – waiting for us


I cast spells on my life all the time – live my hex down to the bone – constantly in love with something I saw

Don`t be afraid – of laughing – of walking home – of wolves and suffering – of a big meal

Everything is a word – I often cut into pieces and use it to make a fire

I am making a home

I am burning down my house

I am writing a text

I am without a country

I have absorbed all the courage I have ever witnessed

When will the images fight back

I am disrupting space – crossing borders and looking back – longing always and drinking too fast

My question remains

What can I do at a border that can only be done at a border – only this interest me

Memory for forgetfulness – Consider another question – the first idea has its own story – madness as a form of compassion – We are always tired in the morning – silence has a way of making us talk – outside the law - Homagespeak  homagespeak  my homage  - and layers above the paint are not permanent




Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Checklist



The Checklist came to me in an unexpected way back in 1998 (1997?).  The artist Daniel Kacyvenski (aka Daniel Joseph) gave me a painting.  I asked him to sign it.  He turned it over and started writing.  3 or 4 minutes later he handed it back to me.  Along with his name he had written a checklist.  It was not a list of things to do, or things to remember, but random, disjointed thoughts


Dan was a new friend.  I hadn’t been in New York long.  A painter myself, I began to frequent his apartment cum studio on Van Brunt St. in Red Hook.  I was introduced to his friends:  Brian Moran, Pete VonGauss, Jason Hooper, all artists themselves and the core of the would-be “Manipulationists” movement.  The Checklist was the brainchild of Brian.  One debauched evening he asked me if I knew about the Checklist, like it was some kind of password or essential text to a secret society.  I had seen scraps of paper with Checklists around Dan’s Van Brunt St. apartment; I’d seen them scribbled on napkins at Sunny’s Bar where we would drink, or in the different notebooks of this group of artists.  These odd, free-form poems seemed to be everywhere, and everyone seemed to be composing them, but I never inquired about them.  Brian invited me to participate.  He outlined the "rules" for me, which were just two: 1) the checklist must be 33 in length; 2) the last item in the list must be the word “degrees”.  Brian had been reading about the Freemasons.  33 is a significant number for this secretive international order, being the highest “degree” or level one can rise to.  I was never quite sure if Brian was taking the piss or if he too believed in the power of this particular number.  In the 1950s, at the behest of Allen Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac wrote a list: “30 Rules for Spontaneous Prose”.  This may or may not have been the original inspiration for the Checklist.


Dan more than anyone adopted the Checklist as an essential element of his art.  They appeared often in his paintings, drawings and writing.  Brian put a moratorium on the Checklist when he left New York in 2004, though I don't think Dan or anyone else ever stopped writing them.  I, for my part, must have written several dozen Checklists over the years and have introduced the form to people all over the world.


For me the Checklist is ephemera, little scraps of life that float into and out of ones mind.  The items in a Checklist can come from anywhere.  They may be thoughts that flash through ones head suddenly; they may be phrases from something one is reading; they may be dialogue or conversation one overhears.  They can literally spring from any source.  Wherever there are words there is material for a Checklist.  One word.  A sentence.  A paragraph. 


A Checklist need not make sense or have a logical chronology.  It need not have a rhythm or flow.  It need not be thematic.  Think of the incalculable amount of thoughts, words and phrases that one is bombarded with in any given instant of ones day.  It is impossible to process it all, to listen to everything.  These itemized mental, written, verbal and aural scraps are what strike us, what make us stop.  “What did you say?”  Pause.  Underline that.  They are mental or written notes, before we continue on with our thoughts, with our activities. 


Unlike, say a sonnet, the structure of a Checklist is quite simple and requires little or no craft to create.  There is no laboring over iambic pentameter and such.  A Checklist comes to you in the same way thoughts or other bits of text do: fragmented, broken, incomplete, disjointed, unrelated.  A Checklist can be assembled in minutes, like the way Dan introduced it to me so long ago, a spontaneous list of thoughts transcribed as quickly as physically possible.  Or they can evolve, as mine usually do, over weeks and months.  When one re-reads a Checklist built over time it becomes a sort of catalogue or record of ones fragmented life.  For me, these are the most successful/interesting, because they are so completely random and less prone to manipulation by daily emotion or fleeting mood.  They are the most free and ultimately poetic.


In the end a Checklist is perhaps nothing more than a vain and futile attempt to capture in writing the tiny details of ones life as they speed by too quickly and in too great a volume to ever grasp.



Robert Wallace
May, 2012 (Brooklyn

Checklist - by Fork


1 Mocking
2 What enemy means by definition
3 Nutritionally useless delicious thing
4 African priority
5 Poets as reliable sources
6 How Europe Restructures itself
7 Colonialism requires possession
8 Being a writer is dangerous
9 Said goodbye to my possession
10 Music slangs with you
11 Film walks the earth
12 Let life train you for vital understanding
13 Good Bacteria
14 Unfinished Ulysses
15 African feminism has a soundtrack
16 Overwhelmed by truth
17 Freedom is not to be turned into a thing
18 Kassie`s house
19 Freud`s original sofa
20 understanding simultaneous
21 Cut-ups are an adhesive gathering
22 My mother slept in her clothes
23 That`s how you kill the dead
24 Hold the ArtWorld accountable
25 artist as distraction
26 tiny kisses up the arm
27 Equality lacks understanding of what it is rooted in - it is a measurement
28 Scientist discover
29 I am the new study
30 holistic Russian profits
31 International police state
32 I wouldn`t worry about it
33 Degrees

1 the theoretical incarnation of panic
2 ass fingers
3 You know when you see it longing
4 infinite cycle
5 Bird Separation
6 The morning knows
7 We don`t use that word anymore or the word king
8 I remember what we thought was possible
9 To get more funds to build more cathedrals
10 purgatory money box
11 They all show up with something
12 covered in word fragment
13 The words need a body remember
14 I can read your walk
15 Children`s crusade
16 When it stays open it is empty
17 A Indian restaurant in Panama
18 Mourning Celebration Mourning Celebration
19 Concept of the object
20 Adel Termos
21 Without having a vision you only react to what the enemy does
22 KA and BA
23 grief shaming
24 election bullets
25 How the world was made safe for tourism
26 hybrid recollection
27 It`s what references we return to and their limits
28 The ministry of discomfort has arrived
29 9 times Men 9 times Superior Ladies & Original 9 times Ladies
30 free white and 21
31 Tell it
32 If my sister is not free I am not free
33 Degrees

1 Subversive word spacing
2 We start with the story we are making
3 Don`t spill out easy
4 Hidden production is always bloody
5 People Animals Crops
6 Tobacco Chocolate Sugar
7 Sometimes a drag queen is better than the real thing
8 She smells like off cake
9 I am not afraid
10 Wordsand
11 I could see that I could count on him
12 GraceSoups
13 It either belongs to the arrival or to the departure
14 Language Resist Itself
15 Translated whispers
16 That’s one for checklist
17 Since leaving Parsons
18 Business fish
19 Hannah Weiner
20 I may not be Funny and I may not be a Singer or a damn Seamstress but I am a Fierce Queen
21 The whole form is a response to grief
22 No excuses ever
23 Too much makeup where
24 All artist are in exile
25 A real big bed
26 no language need
27 a lifetime of trying to make the unacceptable acceptable
28 Winning isn`t everything but wanting to is
29 Always destroy what is in you
30 Return to the library 
31 forgotten forever moments
32 It`s in there somewhere

33 degree  s

1 I am always looking at infinity
2 What wine protects
3 losing the body through the body
4 Europe and the Literature of loss
5 Pre Antibiotic Novel
6 because Burroughs faces the horror of life and legacy
7 They came to make the cuts
8 As long as they don`t land
9 Where do the disassociations go
10 It bears repeating
11 Sissy that walk
12 just talking to hear yourself talk
13 Somewhere between hair and makeup something happens something switches over
14 Get your letters straight
15 cultural weekend
16 body portal
17 selling white fish door to door
18 The breathless prose of the Woman`s magazine
19 Your challenge is empathy
20 Monotheistic penis
21 kidnapping and armed resistance story
22 trace historical thriving
23 This is war
24 The way history is taught prevents a reading of the continue now
25 Chapters
26 fire clears out the spectators
27 Not today Satan
28 I just decided to write
29 A legal pad
30 That`s a holy thing to be
31 Silent teaching
32 what can you do with those
33 degrees

1 Forget is what you look with
2 A collage of rituals
3 because ping pong represented the defeat of capitalist heteronomy social democratic lethargy and Russian hegemonic self importance
4 That is why I don`t use a map
5 We don`t knock on the door
6 emotional states that exist outside the symbolic order
7 Ain`t nobody got time for all that
8 Between the Sign and the Gaze
9 even a small never meaning man
10 Remain in the funk
11 When you been loved by New Orleans
12 You pulled me out far enough to understand what I am calling in
13 The forever flatness
14 Thin as a rail
15 Recording body
16 what they think about me is none of my business
17 come close fiction
18 theatre comes out of dance
19 Drawing into being
20 It was the sword
21 The blood of these whores is killing me
22 What does strong will look like
23 It`s not you  - It`s your cage
24 dream slang
25 the glove will fit what I say
26 We are the language here
27 I am practically here
28 I knew it not – I meant it then
29 Workers did not unite
30 Have you stolen horses with him
31 Circle Line
32 I thought about these things this morning
33 degrees

1 Archived girls
2 Reading all night
3 What Brother Bob left out
4 “Some Revolution”
5 bits of flesh and fur spray and float down from the streetlight -  a bird eats
6 If the laugh enters
7 Just another worker dying on a cross
8 The gentleman from California has 10 minutes
9 Brother from another Mother
10 What is great about Basel…
11 I cry when he feeds everyone a spoonful
12 The berry that follows the blossom
13 It is not enough to have a plan
14 Privileged terrain
15 Checkbook
16 experimental psychosis
17 I burst into questions
18 SP68
19 clutching papers
20 silences and ignites me
21 You can`t taste it anymore
22 How history felt after a meal
23 Milk memory
24 The zone takes care of its own
25 I know how curiosity killed the cat
26 Cities of the Red Night
27 Bone House
28 the removal of sadness
29 hired utilized executed
30 pre march café swell
31 expected and acceptable violence
32 Inaki kitchen

33 Degress


1 Farmers are the new artist

2 Farmers are the new political prisoners – 2014

3 Farmers are the new enemy

4 Listing them

5 Did you just spoil the surprise
6 Because you think if you say the wrong thing it will all go away
7 Streets of Chance
8 A Little Girl Dreams of taking the veil
9 Divine Connection Man
10 Can`t feel it
11 A greatness within a body
12 again and again
13 to work without permission
14 in our hands any technology expands
15 We leave the pathetic limits behind
16 Where our story went
17 If you can imagine it  it was lost
18 then you can see the story
19 that never left – The still rewrites
20 understand
21 This time don`t let them in
22 unmatched greatness
23 We meet at the arrival
24 the perceptions are a kind of violence
25 War to extinction
26 orgone remember
27 Amrita
28 mere storytellers
29 Feig
30 Screaming bloody murder
31 Fiction mirror
32 unfold with divinity
33 degrees

1 Do What You Do Best
2 The present is 90% the past
3 The first day Jesus met a European was the day he was going to die
4 When technology came to a halt
5 Understand the mess
6 Moving away from fixed ways of thinking and feeling
7 Spring something
8 Go in circles without me
9 I love our youth
10 They made up a story because they had no story
11 Mom you are embarrassing me
12 Why are my faces so big
13 terror begging
14 Academic holiday
15 Pre Order
16 Hire a death squad
17 Holy Evil
18 Sans Papiers
19 Fruits of skipped trees
20 You missed the pink but made it for the yellow
21 RE-AL
22 Little gypsy boys and the smell of cheap man parfum
23 Who is your head
24 All poems are love poems remember
25 The huge responsibility of living as a human
26 Chri`s photographs
27 There is so much space inside the cornfield
28 Creation of white identity as war strategy
29 Ancient Fuckin
30 painting what is -  between
31 page 135 I`m going to live in Paris
32 letters traced on the body

33 Degrees

1 Cuz I`m gonna resist no matter what
2 A recluse who can`t stay put
3 Catholic butter
4 I don`t want to cuddle
5 Hip Hop gives me the blues
6 A morning man
7 Our music is based on prayer
8 mean
9 The painter and the poet lens
10 Facts have to have a quality of vision
11 Truth is it comes from the south
12 When manuscripts represented centuries of learning
13 Echo
14 What did you come here to do
15 The last time
16 Stencil and Smoke
17 dumb swimsuit
18 Missing bedroom notice
19 That’s what the stage is for
20 The dog walked across the street
21 I fear something wants my whole life
22 page numbers
23 tradition of freedom
24 odd public dialogue
25 Korzybski untitled
26 move like Ulysses
27 there is a silence in the uproar
28 Svet Lana`s kitchen
29 Headlines do not mark the spark
30 Then what
31 3 ideas of god will be the death of us all
32 Only one side is prepared
33 Degrees

1 The difficulty of real speech
2 I know why she stands in the window
3 heirloom pork
4 Know who you are when you open your mouth
5 Sleeping in the caslte
6 There was a moment leading
7 It`s the nervous system
8 Facts nothing but the facts
9 The walk belongs to the role
10 Good service
11 It`s not a question of more racist than
12 The beauty is broken up
13 I started to write the script
14 We`re gonna have to take this to dreamtime
15 Water bottles
16 The smoke machine has been adjusted
17 checklist quilt
18 African world history
19 busing
20 Water ballet
21 Medicated or celebrated
22 Does not require paper
23 Fits perfectly in your hand
24 the junky the outlaw the lover
25 sweet sharp and sticky
26 At the end of his life he painted flowers
27 Hotel bell – Ding!
28 Water memory
29 War is a matter of opinion
30 Everything hurts
31 The whole book springs from loss of object
32 dance over it
33 degrees

1 Mental health is the wild west of medicine
2 pretend to be a fiction writer
3 Great Gangster Tribes
4 I like stolen flowers
5 pickup my rope
6 Thatch plus yellow paint equals blond hair
7 The Scientific community
8 New York misses you
9 pneumatic circus
10 There is money to be made from history
11 Christianity Before Christ – 1938
12 It is as if one has never lived on earth
13 rationalization for the
14 Violence of Eurocentric education
15 This horrible case NOVA
16 If the seeds are from Seminis
17 You got now laters
18 inner landscape
19 flower sandwhich
20 Sometimes there is an extra month
21 Things that only go so far
22 imagethought
23 CockButter
24 We called it services remember
25 perhaps I squeeze my legs together in the hope that it is over – that it can end
26 What is difficult is to turn depth into flatness
27 I`m already dressed
28 soft box from India arrived
30 A good listener on your knees
31 Flowers vs Plastic Water Bottles
32 I made an effort
33 Degrees

1 You were made on Halloween
2 What do I have to do to be nice
3 All of it
4 precolonized jazz musicians
5 A natural freezer
6 I was tickled
7 It took 32 Jimi Hendrix stamps
8 Ziegler Lewis
9 He was so good looking – like a model – a baseball player or a Kennedy
19 Caribbean reality resembles the wildest imagination
20 amp type
10 photographing disappearing acts
11 I would rather make a memory than a problem
12 No nicer back of the bus than BiLLi
13 Lemming cows
14 Street  cleaning sticks
15 Legend all of me
16 Consider the source
17 Filipino facelift
18 What indigenous really means
21 I really want to thank him
22 Alcoholic recording devices
23 kinder squat
24 230 and us
25 communities and networks
26 One for the money – two for the Show
27 Sometimes paths last longer than roads
28 30 or 32
29 Fuckin protect it
30 You missed
31 Like Spain I am bound to the past
33 Degrees

1 Some   death camp  work camp  all camp
2 Guest Room
3 Stairs of Oberland
4 I love them
5 witches your humanity
6 Who made it necessary for artist to resist
7 Organic wind
8 Says Who
9 There are no safe plastics
10 fishsticks
11 sippy cups
12 privilege prison
13 Keep it to yourself
14 Family peace and quiet
15 fully vaccinated
16 A painter`s position
17 People are locked into their own extermination
18 Reruns – light years ago
19 Tim
20 List the silences
21 we must be shoulders and wings
22 Food sample
23 spiritual categories
24 Worse dressed youth
25 Convenience leads to violence
26 unknown is not unknowable but gone
27 Machine grease
28 Beni`s phone
29 shape shifting ongoing war
30 That can`t be good
31 Take My Words
32 The importance of saying Fuck Off
33 Degrees


1 I`m traveling for my health

2 Convenience Zombie Need

3 Death is expensive

4 In pencil

5 Why are you here

6 Why are you Here

7 I`m traveling for my health

8 Research

9 Enormous amounts of energy

10 What I wish for you

11 What it might take

12 What you need to remember

13 How is it you don`t know you know

14 Toni said it was a little white dog

15 The children asked her Do you want to have brown skin

16 She asked her for the flesh colored crayon The real one

17 You are complete fiction to me

18 Fashion Icon

19 “I believe the purpose of death is the release of love” 

20 Future was future even when it was labeled the past

21 Freakish amounts of energy

22 I find it increasingly difficult

23 Wrong wrong wrong I swallow

24 Like tracking employee movement through nuclear power plants

25 Burridge & Marshman

26 As it stands

27 A letter for Franziska

28 Stages of grief and loss of power

29 translate me

30 I said Cut

31 Binary Martini

32 Letters from Kyoto

33 Degrees