My Vocabulary Did This For Me

is blob love something that never goes away?

For Jangle-Eye (a hymn outworn, tryst be shed)

I have fixed up one of the worst poems in the English language through the magic of anagrams:


I palm a damn clue, sink  trenched red spirit members;

Cede a honed lock, kill a quirk.  Slim progenies

Yelled into darkness, “teach not, hog swill,” that ballet pled of her ear:

And she, a fed lancet behind the thorough light,

Ran, in awe, polyp-within-heptad:

Her mess rants ambling, watch bird-lengths throng

A sheathed wren’s thigh;

Devil spears, their whiskers unsigned, tos’t

a gold and very melted sun under the beach-rose anthills.

Oh, when she was fleetest, acedia crushed Dawn’s phosphor hunts

Unto a farfetched horn livened

as wrens grace their knight’s cap, a

gentler thirst carries water.

Thereupon May’s arrows o’er

Like an adamant wing spin away. Oh, fire’s king,

The sweet foisted sons cannot console me,

Nor a goldsmith tilt the hewn town shut.

If only I could feed, sir, upon thy gloomy

Edge, as my limiting, my predatory mink.

Via the magpie rose the sparky sword of my love: 

I, with a throne, tints rightism,

Neither harlot nor fever.

Mothman to Mothman, Eight Hands Around

John Keel was the kind of guy

to write poems about what he didn’t know

I don’t know if he really wrote poems

John Keel steered the car with one

great hand

he steered his car

a cool drink in one hand he stared

at the bridge collapse

and phoned his friend Mary the 

journalist she said “John?”

he said “Mary I’m

not getting through to you”


The big payoff for wrong life

is good bods.

O Kundry

O Amfortas

I’m fat and decaying

OK my wife

says I’m not fat

but I am decaying

how is it that Gottfried

Benn says “culture crisis”

and how is it he says

“pop music”—? “Eine Schlager

von Rang”? Huh, how weird.

But there are other options

for interfacing with the times

as an all-consuming deformity

on a surface that has not been level.

Hence 150 years of giddy UFOlogists

citing the same revolving set of

bioluminescent sacks, lights

pouring from a fissure,

black blood seeping from

an animal’s ear-drums.

I’m clear on where I stand

vis a vis heaven

or politically loaded

representations thereof. 


The mothman, a fat thing without

a mouth to speak of,

could not communicate except

by hovering over blasting grounds,

chasing the sheriff into

the bunkers with the Point

Pleasant teenagers of note.

His speech that is manifests

as tactical. The mothman defers,

but John Keel is ever practical.

He hides out there with rifles,

which pains me in its earnestness.

All the primary figures spoke

by way of effacing speech.

When John Keel answers the phone,

what he hears is the sound of himself

breaking into the utility closet

to tamper with his own private wires.

Red and yellow wires

with illegal clips across their necks.

A sinister agent is reported eating Jell-O

incorrectly, and later, an alligator

for no coherent reason walks

across the field of vision.


There’s a reason Charles Fort damned

facts even as he hugged them

to his breast as dried insects hugged closely

to a wall.

There’s a reason they marched for him

like tiny little baby armies.


Mothman learned language when

the bridge collapsed

and the cars drew away

into murkiness and silence.

Since then, flown away.

What’s that thing Jack Spicer

forgot to say: oh yeah.

“All political speech is

me, in a chamber, hitting myself,

in the head, with a hammer.”

That’s why my vocab isn’t as, uh,

gossamer as it could be, perhaps.


It stings in that aporia between

bitterness and articulation,

in other words, that feel

when Benn says better

than you would everything wrong

with Rilke but he says it

as only a full-fledged nazi could,

but you hate the luxury anyway,

the good snacks, the duchesses

and the dukes, et cetera,

sitting there reading that,

you could be knocked over

with a feather. My diary,

will you call it for me,

Incidents in a Series of

Traumatic Concussions.

Enjoy my eyeballs

while the vessels in them

swim about.

No, I’m not taking care,

not really, but

I’m rereading Robert Lowell,

more carefully this time,

shirking and receding

into conceptual heaps

of real garbage.

Yes, I heard you the first time,

clearly, “my mind’s not oh,


Four Different Spirits From Four Different Exemplums on the Practice of 19th Century Mourning


Annis Stockton endlessly revised

her song about death until she too died

the people said “hey, we’ve already read this poem”

as in the one about her mortal thatch of loam

tilled and tilled perversely in a stalled dialectic.

Today we like our hermeticists slightly more eclectic.


The loam was some dirt.

The dirt was confusing.

I was reminded of the pot-latch.

Annis Stockton destroyed her books

to bury papers from Princeton

in a thatch of loam

I couldn’t tell you why

I couldn’t particularly care

British soldiers stuck their bayonets in

looked around, left

her husband died of cancer of the mouth

everything after was loam and bile

everything was worded beautifully

and tending infinitely towards an aufheben of grief

but Annis Stockton died

and what am I supposed to do about it?

Bring her back to life?



Nobody is surprised Benjamin Franklin came back to the earth

almost immediately after his death, appearing angrily

in a poem by Philip Freneau

in the interest of destroying the edifice of poetry

the name of his horrible machine was

“To Repel the National Index of Mourning”

he was indeed he who turn’d the lightnin’g darts aside

as in an earlier poem by Freneau in which

the world is not really abolished by dry heat

but in my mind is.


When he came back again

it was in an even more horrible machine

his tongue was two white flashes

he appeared over the black tablecloth

Robert Hare was confirmed in his purpose

the whole thing was stupid and sordid

the machine went clicking along

rails in farther spheres

god it’s pointless

he wanted to have both history and

universality at once

Benjamin Franklin make up

your hideous mind

propped upright dead

like a haunted rock

in a false forest

invented by the news



Nobody in America has ever grasped

Klingsor and nobody ever will.

Present company included.

If I had a magic spear I’d keep it locked down

and if I had to use it, you’d know it.


Harpoon-wielders of America,

wield your weapons closely.

Bind them with your sea-ropes.

If you meet me on the road,

jab me thrice in the throat,

a dozen hawks descending,

a red sign from antiquity

described in the penny press.

The harpoons are domestic and corporate

where the spear is sacred.

Whoever heard of a free spear?

There’s no such thing I bet.


If I had a magic spear I’d suspend it

in an unseen hand, but a hand in any case.


Kingfishers of America, if you see the spear come flying

grab it with the gestus your mothers gave you.

Spear up high—

Spear down low—


too slow.



The machine he built to teach ghosts to spell

which nobody has understood.

Paul Scheerbart, too— I mean,

these drawings on paper with no

clear logic.

The ghost or some faith presses down

on a counterweight and a lad with

a cow-lick makes his zero expression

this is the rude physick this drawing

has conveyed to me.

There is a moving part

involving immersion of the hand in water.

In Scheerbart the mountains crawl

to make way for glass sky-scrapers

gliding over the ocean on

perfect frictionless engines

and in the caves, colors.

Robert Hare taught the ghosts to spell,

and to drink better beer.

They told him he was a good boy.

The machines fell apart.

Along the further spears, he met the fathers

of his earliest days

pulling levels and gathering

the diverse municipal sluices.

It all tasted exquisite,

I promise,

he says,

I can’t wait to show it.

Translations of David W. Pritchard’s Manuscript Poems

1. Denmark, Ohio

I do 

intuit I,

errant, dark

inside the

fox Armada


vulgar lead wife?

why do easy things?

 & why get armistice sis

ate for comfort

weedle eight productive

wrens to envelop a vent

and cull fleurets


Enough, u !


I was going

(finally!) to Star-

Water Francais,

we’d go way hard

eight stars are best.

4. Elliott Smith

and you’ll love

the gamy hand with a tip,

a mere wand.


I’m not canopic ‘til I’m green

I’m Wet-Chip Sarabende,

What an inferno it was,

mating owls in American theatre

I’ll worship Texas in my

garland of lime. All handwriting

as the suave Overwriting:

I’ll cathect onto the maxi-cetera’s

insect vowels— yeah I’ll

raid Proust’s pantry, no I

didn’t need it within its original

virginal eurrhythmia, you slim

helcopter tenant &

moral failure. Dolphin soup

or a salad & NILSSON is Gone

West. Ed Said is “criminally owlish,”

"Memes," "highly sly Stephen."

Up goes the ice box. Hard to

stem this wound, my inquiry agent.

rumirumirumirumi said: I’m surprisingly pleased with how it’s turned out after all this time. I like your bits more now, tbh, but it’s still good. I kind of want to write more poems with you if you’re into it/have the time

Like a stew or a chili, it’s better after having been in the back of the fridge for awhile. I do want to write more poems with you but I’m going to be way busy til the wedding. Let’s talk about it in October. 


And I hate to be pedantic about 25 year old video games but even though the whole project is Sensible Soccer oriented, I think there’s a lot of one of Sensible Software’s other big games, 1993’s Cannon Fodder, in there too, thematically and tonally. 

Also: unfortunately all the bar reviews were lost when I deleted my other account, sorry. 

PS. Another ambiguity about talking about Sensible Soccer is that, rereading it, I’m not 100% sure about who wrote what. I mean I have a pretty good idea usually but I don’t want to step on Jon’s toes. 


I’ll be honest I felt weird about the War Poems in Sensible Soccer because I feel weird about war poems and anti-war-poem poems, and yet for hte most part it was a rousing success AND totally dumped on War Poems so like, sign me up, when’s the sequel, whens Sensible Soccer II: Reviews Of Bars To Watch Baseball In coming out 

If it’s any consolation here are two things to remember:

1.) The section “Great Wars” is largely only obliquely about war per se. In addition to the constraint, to begin with, that we were writing around those four particularly odd team names/rosters within the game Sensible Soccer, a lot of Jon’s material came out of his engagement with drones and object oriented ontology (IIRC?) and a lot of mine came out of the part in Proust where he becomes fascinated with tactical aesthetics. 

Appropriate for a poem based on a videogame which dreams of a monism of soccer, “Great Wars” is more about spiel than krieg, and in any case is almost always (as I read it at least) about metaphorizing and restaging rhetorics of war (ad bellum purificandum or w/e) than it is about anything else. Although to be fair, like you and Jon, I did feel leery of the section at times, and honestly the long, long delay on putting the whole thing together probably unconsciously hinged upon my ambivalence about the section. We were both also reading and picking from that very long book about war games around that time, I forget what it was called, but it was huge and long. So it’s really dealing with mediating simulation, without, hopefully, being merely glibly about simulacrums. 

Although for all that I never went into it with the intention of “dumping on” war poems or whatever. I’m not a big fan of them and I don’t really think they’re ever successful but just between you and me there’s very, very little polemical intent, at least in any of the parts I wrote, in any of the poem. 

2.) For the sake of arguing, let’s pretend that all the parts you liked, I wrote, and all the parts you didn’t like, Jon wrote. So at the end of the day, geez, I’m just really good. This applies to every text you’ll ever encounter in your life. 

(Source: biothermeneutic)

It feels good to have Sensible Soccer out there and to think about all the onion rings we ate while writing it.