Just what exactly is a radical poetry or a radical poetics?

"...it is crucial to maintain open the radical ambiguity of how cyberspace
will affect our lives: this does not depend on technology as such but on the
mode of its social inscription. Immersion into cyberspace can intensify our
bodily experience (new sensuality, new body with more organs, new sexes...),
but it also opens up the possibility for the one who manipulates the
machinery which runs the cyberspace literally to steal our own (virtual)
body, depriving us of the control over it, so that one no longer relates to
one's body as to "one's own". What one encounters here is the constitutive
ambiguity of the notion of mediatization: originally this notion designated
the gesture by means of which a a subject was stripped of its direct,
immediate right to make decisions; the great master of political
mediatization was Napoleon who left to the conquered monarchs the appearance
of power, while they were effectively no longer in a position to exercise
it. At a more general level, one could say that such a "mediatization" of
the monarch defines the constitutional monarchy: in it, the monarch is
reduced to the point of a purely formal symbolic gesture of "dotting the
i's", of signing and thus conferring the performative force on the edicts
whose content is determined by the elected governing body. And does not,
mutatis mutandis, the same not hold also for today's progressiver
computerization of our everyday lives in the course of which the subject is
also more and more "mediatised", imperceptibly stripped of his power, under
the false guise of its increase? When our body is mediatized (caught in the
network of electronic media), it is simultaneously exposed to the threat of
a radical "proletarization": the subject is potentially reduced to the pure
void, since even my own personal experience can be stolen, manipulated,
regulated by the machinical Other. One can see how the prospect of radical
virtualization bestows on the computer the position which is strictly
homologous to that of Cartesian evil God /genie malin/: since the computer
coordinates the relationship between my mind and (what I experience as) the
movement of my limbs (in the virtual reality), one can easily imagine a
computer which runs amok and starts to act liker an evil God, disturbing the
coordination between my mind and my bodily self-experience - when the signal
of my mind to raise my hand is suspended or even counteracted in (the
virtual) reality, the most fundamental experience of the body as "mine" is
undermined... The commonplace is that, in cyberspace, the ability to
download consciousness into a computer finally frees people from their
bodies - but it also frees the machines from "their" people..."


"The personalized poem, of which there are many examples on the Internet, is
a poem where the user, via mouse clicks or keyboard tappings, enters some
information into a web application, and, PRESTO! The user gets hir very own
poem, a bona fide original.

"Such a preprogrammed personalized poem is the mirror image of Internet
control and domination. The personalized poem application, in whatever form
it is in, is entirely predictable in its output, and those outputs are
completely determined by the actions of one individual: the programmer. The
person behind the black box. Sometimes, frankly, we're too busy looking at
this black box to see the person who runs it or the implications of it. The
programmer is in control of such poetry. The poet/programmer is obscured by
distance and complexity, a modern-day Wizard of Oz of sorts, and the poetry
is deterministic despite the randomness of human input. That programmer has
a remote and invisible authority and control over the creative output, and
that authority and control is completely automated.

"Many believe such a poem as the one I describe is radical because it seems
to reflect the 20th century avant-garde tradition of process as a
fundamental property of art. But again, process, algorithms, and the like
were rather exotic intellectual ideas many years ago. Today algorithms and
processes are as essential to control and surveillance as barbed wire and
cameras, or perhaps even more so. In hindsight this comes as no surprise. We
can completely predict the behavior of any algorithm and because they are so
predictable they can be efficiently utilized for highly complex methods of

"The empty signifier and radical disjunction, in a sense, are fundamental
properties of the Internet. The Internet born from DARPA (Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency), the central research and development arm of the
US Department of Defense. DARPA is perhaps the very core of world military
industrial domination. The very nature of the Internet is rooted in
wide-area distribution effective for constant surveillance and rapid
deployment of divide-and conquer strategies through distributed
communications. The Internet's origins have lead to more commonly understood
features of the Internet landscape: behavior monitoring leading to marketing
strategies such as personalization, wide distribution of content for
constant presence and the possibility of "ensnaring" the audience's
attention (which generates more data for behavior control). All of this
happens on an individual level to divide people into individuals with their
custom web environments and conquer their wallets and their minds one at a
time. The most crucial datum about modeling one individual's behavior is HOW
THEY LINK. That is, how does one choice lead to another for each individual?
How people make connections is perhaps the easiest aspect of a person's
behavior that can be recorded using the Internet....

"Poetry that articulates through gesture, ambiguity, emotive strength (no
logic to an emotion), ambiguous authorship, without nebulous hypertext
structure or use of algorithms, may be radical today. Poetry though can
never become radical if it continues to maintain some sort of faith in any
one answer to the question of self. It is when we answer and insist on our
answers to ideas of the self that we continue to pursue either, in the case
of Language poetry, a rather hasty rejection of self in writing (but perhaps
not in authorship, and that's the difference between the action of writing
and the thing we call a text,) or in the case of more "mainstream" (for lack
of a better word) poetry, the insistence upon selves. The Internet helps
gather power for a controlling minority by exploiting the self-centered
possibilities of humans, and the rejection of that leaves us with answers
that seem to be equally false. Perhaps the only answer to "do selves exist?"
is, "I do not know." As long as we maintain such a position on authorship,
meaning itself is not owned, and the possibilities for poetry are wide open
and fully resistant to centralized mass dominance and control."

from Patrick Herron

Hail to the Thief!

Hail to the Thief, scabarous growth upon our nation,
Hail to the Thief! We abhor him, one and all.
Hail to the Thief, as we resist co-operation
With coarse defilement of a great and noble call.

Yours is the aim to make this grand country poorer,
This you will do, that's our strong and firm belief.
Hail to the one, the usurper as commander,
Hail to the Governor! Hail to the Thief!

Matrix Reloaded opens nationwide today.

So let's do some philosophy, OK, kids?

"it certainly seems that we cannot be certain that we are not in a matrix"
David Chalmers

1. Assume it is true that we are in a matrix

Then I know nothing that is ultimately true.

2. Assume it is true that we are NOT in a matrix
Since I cannot be certain we are not in a matrix,
my belief that we are not in a matrix is not knowledge,
namely, since my matrix-ness is beyond certitude.

If we are in a matrix, we know nothing. Including knowing nothing about the matrix.
Even if I beleive I am in a matrix and imagine the matrix in such a way that
it corresponds exactly with the matrix, I still know
about the matrix. I've merely guessed well.

If we are not in a matrix, we still at least know nothing about our
"matrix-ness": about whether or not we are ultimately in a matrix..

We don't know if we are in a matrix. We can't even know if we know
anything about being in a matrix. What we do know, however, is this:

no amount of reflection on the subject reveals anything about the ultimate truth.

We can't even know whether or not we are wasting our time on the subject.
It seems the subject is one big black hole. Its center is hidden yet
that which approaches it

We might imagine, however, that with the time spent on the impossible question
we might have instead taken the time to realize
the value of imagination, of the immediacy of being,
that we live in the neighborhood
of imagining things into immediate being.
Our minds create.

We might also realize that what may be within this manifold of matrix/non-matrix
may be knowable but we may also realize that the very sense of "within"
bears no fruit. the twin concepts of ultimate truth and perspectivalism seem only to serve to
absorb thought. Thought that might be best purposed to ensure that
when I am dehydrated I drink, that
when I am hungry I eat, that
when I am tired I sleep.

It seems quite unsurprising, then, that the business of religion seems keen
on capitalizing upon the confusions and concentration generated by
paying attention to the seemingly fruitless divide between
The tax-exempt business of religion is focused primarily on that which is unverifiable.
Try charging a church
with fraud.
Your justification? They cannot prove or produce evidence of a deity beyond
reasonable doubt.
To see what I mean,
try selling someone
an imaginary house.
It won't take long
before you're in
But sell people God and no amount of time will reveal truth or falsehood,
for the categories of religious indulgence are beyond verification.

Our true matrix is truly beyond us. Step right up.

From: Ryan Whyte
Subject: the new aesthetic (pathetic attempt at an essay)

the new aesthetic is the totality of totalities, the absolute confluence
of authorial guilt with the crystalline transparency of the object of
writing. it is not the work as obdurate thing but the words as the total
and everlasting incrimination of the author and the author's family.

it is the poisoning of all forums of discourse and distribution by
sectarianism, the eternal register of good and evil, by wiretapping,
packet sniffing, key capture, the brilliant cultivation of paranoia, the
managing of the civilian population and the everlasting presumption of
guilt and the capacity for terror.

it is the knowledge that everything salutary in democracy, technology and
globalization has been wounded to the core by the hunger for war and
retribution, by the hatred for the demotic, by the slouching beast of
opportunistic, savage and byzantine foreign policy. it is the harrowing of
hope, the cultivation of every last form of misanthropy.

the new aesthetic thrives on the eroticism of terror. it is the crushing
of unreason by the rationality of war. it is the silencing of art's
unreasonable struggle against alienation. it is the channeling of the
disruptive energies of unreason into the managed distribution of the
eroticized hatred of one's neighbor.

let us abandon aesthetics. let us unreasonably care for men and women and


Sorry I've been away so long, folks. I got stuck in someone's suitcase for almost two months. Fortunately I don't have to eat or breathe. One of the benefits of being a dummy. It wasn't a life-or-death situation--never is with a doll like me--but it was a write-or-be-silent situation.

Somewhat like this:

Before I get rolling again, here's a little something from Mark Twain to lift your spirits in these times of Victorious Joy in America. Nothing like rolling around in the blood of the vanquished to lift my spirit.

Jesus Loves Me.

And I Love You, Only You.


The War Prayer
by Mark Twain

It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener. It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

Sunday morning came -- next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their young faces alight with martial dreams -- visions of the stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! Then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag, or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation

*God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest! Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!*

Then came the "long" prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was, that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in the day of battle and the hour of peril, bear them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory --

An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side and stood there waiting. With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued with his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal, "Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!"

The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside -- which the startled minister did -- and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes, in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said:

"I come from the Throne -- bearing a message from Almighty God!" The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. "He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd, and will grant it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import -- that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of -- except he pause and think.

"God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two -- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him Who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this -- keep it in mind. If you would beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.

"You have heard your servant's prayer -- the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it -- that part which the pastor -- and also you in your hearts -- fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. the *whole* of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory--*must* follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

(*After a pause.*) "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits!"

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.