The Journal Petra 0

Current / Past / About  /  Twitter

Andrea Rexilius

What do poems want?

Part One:

My goal is not to idealize the poem but to locate its historical and iconological significance, and bring
it forward. Freud points out that while “poems still exist among us...poemism, on the contrary, is
something alien to our contemporary feelings.” A poem can be reborn in a painting or a photograph,
and a sculpted poem can be rendered in cinema or virtual reality. This is why one poem can seem
“nested” inside another poem. The notion of “addressing poems” (all of them, as a general field) is a
thoroughly paradoxical concept. Asking for the address of a poem is like asking for the address of the
postal system. Poems contain all addresses within themselves, which is what makes poems possible. It
seems to me that all poems are competent at the very least. I want to suggest a way into these poems
that does not reduce them either to tendentious social criticism or to nostalgic relics. I'm not saying
a poem is just a poem or vice versa, but that there are also inescapable zones of transaction between
them. For example, the living poem has two logical opposites or contraries: the dead poem (the corpse,
mummy, or fossil), which was once alive, and the inanimate poem (inert, inorganic), which was never
alive. Poems are ghostly semblances that materialize before our eyes or in our imaginations. Desire of
the poem; poem theory; and poem metaphor are increasingly necessary, as we continue to learn “the
poet’s intentions do not determine the meaning of the poem.”

Part Two:

During the morning I place the poem inside my mouth.
In the evening, ink appears upon my palms.

Part Three:

                                    What does it mean to be Romantic?

                                    To wake up each night in a terror sweat

                                    dreaming about Napoleon. Napoleon un-

                                    dressing Napoleon. I dream I am

                                    Mont Blanc and contain a powerful chasm.

                                    I capture Napoleon and roll him up like

                                    a hog in a blanket. I roll him up like a little

                                    roast. Here in the poetry of passing thoughts

                                    we subside. I don't give a shit about daffodils.

                                    I don't give a shit about clouds.

Part Four:

         Question: What is the relationship of poem to empire?

         Answer: Lozenge.

Part Five:

The poem is a spiritual instrument.
The page a book a page fluorescent.

Our patent of animal and plant breed multinational.
Red in tooth and claw.

The mouth has traces of corporeal embryos becoming extinct creatures.
Fetishism inseparable from the atrium of genitals.

Survival of the poem is the fittest devastation.
In other words, appropriation a form of capitalism.

This is the skin and fur, our poem under a special light.
But the monster has declined to examine the problem.

What light documents, that is the point.

The poem documents the conceptual.

Finds neologism.
Synthetic inaccessibility.
Representation of gadgets.
Black boxes.

The real subject:
                           an image of waste products recycled as food.

The real subject:
                           noun. death. sexuality. body.

The real subject:
                           dystopia. bile. poetic. derailment.

This poem documents animated beings, courtesy of the artist.

This poem could imagine the post-human is not more mysterious than the human.
That is what the sky is for.

If I were here to represent the poem (which I am), I might be in danger of being spirited away.
If I were here to represent a concept (which I am), I might be in danger of being.

Andrea Rexilius is the author of three full-length books of poetry, New Organism (Letter Machine, forthcoming 2014), Half of What They Carried Flew Away (Letter Machine, 2012), and To Be Human Is To Be A Conversation (Rescue Press, 2011). She is an Assistant Professor of Writing & Poetics at Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, where she is also the Summer Writing Program Coordinator, co-coordinator of the What/Where Reading Series, and the co-founder and coordinator (with Michelle Naka Pierce) of the biennial conference [Dis]Embodied.