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THE UNBEARABLE CONCEPT

1.

It is possible to say a word & seal a word, carmine

To linger & spill, on fire, that description, sweetness

I just thought some identity & wrote down, paper

Our historical blooms in throats, incarnadine, & yes,

            new wick,

create

You are going to have to—now, here’s ideas

An identity could be idea & then tips over word vice

[ Word vice equal to appropriate, censure, plagiarize ]

In glass cases, our eyes & then compose

 

2.

Here is White, a paint, tint, that attitude

 [ Don’t say lilies but of valleys, queen’s lace ]

& blood’s color from this distance so stop talking       

& have lost & have stuttered so stop talking

Or speak some difference from a place, deference

Unlovely & not listening, just new orders & self’s

            voice, drive it under

a bridge

[ But water rising ]

Your name on another’s name is writing over

 

 

Posted 03/25/15
As did many I know, I found Kenneth Goldsmith's recent performance extremely distasteful--I'm being polite--and his response to his critics often somewhat disingenuous. For my own reasons, I've also been interested for a long time in what others sometimes disparagingly refer to as "identity poetics," a subject which Cathy Park Hong masterfully addresses in her recent essay on Whiteness and the Avant-Garde. Thirdly, I've recently cobbled together a crash course for myself on just what Conceptual Poetry actually is and understand (perhaps in limited fashion) that the Idea is key. Since when is the expression of real, lived, felt identity not also an Idea? I try to say this as clearly in the poem itself, but I have been upon occasion accused of being obtuse. Here, now, I want to be understood.
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